BBC motoring show Top Gear is to be rested “for the foreseeable future” following the crash involving presenter Freddie Flintoff last year.
The future of the programme, which has been an international bestseller for BBC Studios as well as a regular for BBC One, was thrown into doubt in March after the UK broadcaster said all filming had been stopped on the current 34th season following the accident.
In a statement today, almost a year since the crash, the organisation confirmed that “given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future.”
It added: “The BBC remains committed to [presenters] Freddie, Chris [Harris] and Paddy [McGuinness] who have been at the heart of the show’s renaissance since 2019, and we’re excited about new projects being developed with each of them.
“We will have more to say in the near future on this. We know resting the show will be disappointing news for fans, but it is the right thing to do.
“All other Top Gear activity remains unaffected by this hiatus including international formats, digital, magazines and licensing.”
Former cricketer Flintoff was airlifted to hospital following the crash and subsequently quit the show, which is produced by BBC Studios Productions.
He was left with life altering injuries and although an initial Health & Safety Executive investigation reportedly found no serious failing, he received a £9m ($11.3m) payout from the BBC.
Top Gear‘s global reach
The show’s hiatus will dent revenues for BBCS, with the UK’s finished tape a global bestseller. Its popularity had also returned domestically on BBC One following the exit of Jeremy Clarkson almost a decade ago and a succession of hosts including former Friend‘s star Matt Le Blanc.
Top Gear debuted in 1977 and ran until 2001, when it was rebooted by Andy Wilman and Clarkson.
The brand’s global appeal was recently underlined when BBCS chose the show to front its FAST launch in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.