The BBC’s long-running motoring show ‘Top Gear‘ has reached the end of the road, at least for now, in its current form the UK broadcaster has announced.
The Beeb has released a statement saying:
Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future. The BBC remains committed to Freddie, Chris and Paddy 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.
Those “exceptional circumstances” do, of course, refer to the car crash involving Freddie Flintoff at the Top Gear Test Track in December 2022. The 34th Season was subsequently halted, with Flintoff recently reaching a settlement with the BBC, reportedly worth £9m for the “life-altering significant” injuries he sustained. Whilst we don’t know the full extent of his injuries, Freddie was pictured most recently in September 2023, and still has very visible scarring on his face even then.
Whilst the UK version has been shelved for now, the brand will continue with local versions still being produced in various countries worldwide and online, and the magazine will still be available. They have also been careful to stress that ‘Top Gear’ has been “rested” not “cancelled”, so it’s possible it will be back on UK screens in some form in the future.
As to what a revamped ‘Top Gear’ would look like is anyone’s guess. It’s possible they could alter the format in some way. It would not be the first time ‘Top Gear’ has changed format. Launching in 1977, the original series was much more of a straight BBC magazine show. It wasn’t until Jeremy Clarkson and Andy Wilman revived the brand in 2002, that they introduced the studio audience, wilder car tests, expeditions, and The Stig, which turned it into the smash hit we know today.
Whatever they decide to do in future, this iteration of ‘Top Gear’, and certainly, the current lineup of presenters of Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris, will not be returning.