Top Gear: Freddie Flintoff makes rare public appearance after crash as show's return is left in doubt

The hit series' future remains uncertain following dramas on screen and off

Former England captain Freddie Flintoff in the stands during the first one day international match at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. Picture date: Friday September 8, 2023. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
Freddie Flintoff made a rare public appearance on Friday, 8 September since his Top Gear crash (PA Images via Getty Images)

Andrew Flintoff has made a rare public appearance nine months after he was badly injured in a crash while filming an episode of Top Gear in December 2022.

The former professional cricket player was seen watching England face New Zealand at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens on Friday, 8 September. He had visible scarring on his face from the accident, particularly around his nose and mouth

Read more: The BBC hits brakes on Top Gear (The Telegraph, 9-min read)

After the crash, Flintoff was airlifted to hospital with injuries that were said to be not life-threatening, and he has kept a low profile since.

Following the incident, production of the series has been shut down indefinitely and the cricketer turned broadcaster has yet to comment publicly on the incident.

England's former player Andrew
Freddie Flintoff has visible scarring, particularly around his nose and mouth, nine months after the incident (AFP via Getty Images)

The future of the hit BBC car show Top Gear once again finds itself idling in uncertainty after a range of dramas that have played out both on-screen and off.

While many details regarding the incident have still not been made public, read on to find out everything about Andrew Flintoff and his crash.

How was Andrew Flintoff injured?

Filming at the Top Gear test track in Surrey, Flintoff and another crew member were in a three-wheeled Morgan Super 3 which does not contain airbags.

While filming a scene for the show, the car flipped at high speed, injuring Flintoff and the crew member. Both men were wearing helmets but the crash reportedly left Flintoff with broken ribs and facial injuries with him needing to be airlifted to hospital. The full nature of Flintoff's injuries is still not known.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: A 2022 Morgan Super 3 is displayed during the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace on September 02, 2022 in London, England. The Concours of Elegance brings together a selection of the rarest cars from around the world, many of which, have never been seen before in the UK. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
A 2022 Morgan Super 3 on display at Hampton Court Palace, 2022. (John Keeble/Getty Images)

Flintoff was previously involved in a minor incident when he crashed into a market stall in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in February 2019.

In September of the same year he crashed again while driving a three-wheel vehicle at a reported speed of 124mph during filming for Top Gear at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, but walked away from the incident unharmed.

Former Top Gear host Richard Hammond was also critically injured on the same track while filming a high speed stunt for the show in 2006. He was placed in a medically-induced coma after crashing a jet-powered car at over 300mph.

How is Andrew Flintoff doing?

Andrew Flintoff hosting Top Gear in 2022
Andrew Flintoff hosting Top Gear in 2022. (BBC)

In April 2023, the Ashes-winning cricketer was seen in public for the first time in months when he was spotted in his car with his face partially covered.

Flintoff's 16-year-old son also told MailOnline: "I'm not too sure what happened but he is lucky to be alive. It was a pretty nasty crash. It is shocking. We are all shocked but just hope he's going to be OK."

The Times also reported that Flintoff was "seriously emotionally and physically affected" by the crash and was not yet ready to return.

It is expected for Flintoff to remain off-air for the remainder of 2023.

What is the future of Top Gear?

Top Gear hosts Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris
Top Gear hosts Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris. (BBC)

Since Flintoff's crash, the BBC has been conducting an internal review of the incident with the findings expected to be made public soon.

In March, the BBC apologised to Flintoff over the crash in a statement: "(BBC Studios) have sincerely apologised to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery."

The corporation also confirmed that production on season 34 of the motoring show had ceased: "Under the circumstances, we feel it would be inappropriate to resume making series 34 of Top Gear at this time.

The same statement said that there would be a health and safety review of the show.

The filming of Top Gear has still not resumed and is not expected to in the near future. Meanwhile, the exact extent of Flintoff's involvement in the show's future has yet to be confirmed, with many outlets claiming that the cricket star has quit the series.

Top Gear hosts Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris
The future of the hit car show has been thrown into doubt. (BBC)

Elsewhere, the departure of the show's long-time Editorial Director, Clare Pizey, in August 2023 has cast more uncertainty on the series' future. Pizey had been with the show for seven years steering it through day-to-day responsibilities and later transitioning from Executive Producer to Editorial Director.

"With co-executive producer Alex Renton, Clare reinvented and re-energised the motoring entertainment show with the introduction of Paddy [McGuinness], Freddie and Chris [Harris] – and she oversaw Top Gear’s hugely successful move to BBC One in 2020," read a statement from the BBC.

“We wish her the very best of luck with her next adventure.”

The departure comes just months following Flintoff's crash.

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