The acclaimed automotive program “Top Gear” is set to go on hiatus “for the foreseeable future,” as disclosed by the BBC on Tuesday.
This announcement follows an on-set mishap in December that led to an injury for presenter Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, prompting a halt in production for the show’s 34th season. Flintoff had been a fixture on the show since 2019, alongside co-presenters Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris.
In response to the unusual circumstances, the BBC has opted to suspend the U.K. edition of the show temporarily. The official statement asserts the BBC’s ongoing commitment to Freddie, Chris, and Paddy, key figures in the show’s revival since 2019, expressing anticipation for forthcoming projects involving each of them. While acknowledging the disappointment of fans, the decision to pause the show is deemed necessary. It’s emphasized that all other aspects of “Top Gear” activity, including international formats, digital content, magazines, and licensing, will proceed unaffected during this hiatus.
“Top Gear” boasts a rich history on the BBC, initially airing from 1977 to 2001. Following its cancellation, the show underwent a revival in 2002 led by Jeremy Clarkson and Andy Wilman, achieving cultural prominence with its automotive challenges and occasionally provocative humor.
The 2015 non-renewal of Clarkson’s contract by the BBC, citing an “unprovoked physical attack” on a producer, resulted in the departure of co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond, as well as Wilman. Subsequently, “Top Gear” faced challenges before attaining success with its present presenting lineup in 2019, marked by an upswing in ratings.