British motoring show “Top Gear”, one of the BBC’s most profitable and popular shows, will go off the air after a presenter, Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, was seriously injured in a accident during filming last year, the BBC announced on Tuesday.
“Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to discontinue the British show for the near future,” the channel said in a statement, adding that it was excited about the new projects it was developing with the presenters of “Top Gear.” “We will have more to say in the near future on this matter. We know ending the series will be disappointing news for fans, but it’s the right thing to do.
After the December car crash at the show’s test track in Surrey, England, the BBC halted production of the series, its 34th season. An independent company later conducted a safety and health review of the show, but the findings were not published, according to the BBC.
“Top Gear” has previously faced criticism over its security protocol. In 2006, then-“Top Gear” presenter Richard Hammond was in a coma for two weeks after crashing a vehicle traveling at more than 288 miles per hour at a Yorkshire airfield during a “Top Gear” stunt .
Mr Flintoff, a former England cricket captain, is understood to have agreed a deal with the BBC worth 9 million pounds ($11.3 million), according to The Sun and other media outlets. The Sun published photos of Mr Flintoff taken in September showing facial injuries. The tabloid, citing Mr. Flintoff’s legal team, reported that he was still recovering from “life-altering” injuries. Mr. Flintoff did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The television show, launched in 1977 as a regional show about cars and road safety and revived in 2002, is a cultural phenomenon. It is one of the most watched BBC shows worldwide. The BBC has not said whether the show will be revived at some point in the future.
The show’s most recent season attracted 4.5 million viewers, according to the BBC, and the show generated around £20 million ($25 million) in profit each year as of 2015. M Flintoff became the show’s presenter in 2019, starring alongside actor and comedian Paddy McGuinness and motoring journalist Chris Harris.
“Top Gear” also made headlines in 2015, when the BBC suspended then-popular host Jeremy Clarkson after he attacked a producer following a night of drinking.