Paddy McGuinness says Top Gear co-host Freddie Flintoff warned him about A Question of Sport role

Paddy McGuinness has opened up about the advice shared with him by his Top Gear co-host Freddie Flintoff before taking on his role presenting A Question of Sport.

In 2021, the comedian took over as the host of the BBC quiz show following the controversial departure of long-standing presenter Sue Barker.

Appearing on the Monday Mile podcast with snowboarder Amy Fuller, McGuinness spoke about the “pressure” of the job, which he said he “felt more” than with Top Gear.

“I remember Freddie, when I got the job, he rang me up and he said, ‘Oh God, be careful’... We were talking about how it can be talked about online and stuff,’” he recalled, during a hike with Fuller.

“He said he stood in on a sports breakfast show... for a month and he said the abuse he got. He said, ‘I’m an ex-sports person, Ashes and all that, and even I got abuse!’ So there’s something about sport. People get a bit militant.”

McGuinness said that he’d had similar fears when joining Top Gear, a show he “loved”.

“I had nothing to do with the show. I’d never been on it as a guest, nothing. I knew it caused a lot of friction on Twitter, but listen, what doesn’t?” he said.

McGuinness and Flintoff have both hosted Top Gear since 2019, alongside Chris Harris who joined the show in 2016.

Flintoff (front left) joined McGuinness (centre) on ‘A Question of Sport' (BBC)
Flintoff (front left) joined McGuinness (centre) on ‘A Question of Sport' (BBC)

Last week, it was announced that filming will not resume on the current series after Flintoff was involved in an accident during filming in December.

The former cricketer was airlifted to hospital last December after crashing while filming a car review at the Top Gear test track in Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey. You can read more about the accident here.

In a statement, the BBC said: “Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34.

“We have sincerely apologised to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery.”

While insiders said at the time that his injuries were non-life threatening, his 16-year-old son Corey said that the 45-year-old was “lucky to be alive”.

Following the BBC’s announcement that the series has wrapped early, reports emerged claiming that Flintoff will now leave Top Gear for good.