Ex Top Gear host says Freddie Flintoff decided ‘life was more important than TV show’ after crash
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Top Gear star Freddie Flintoff decided 'his life is more important than a television programme' following his crash last year, presenter Angela Rippon has said.
Flintoff - who had to be airlifted to hospital - suffered broken ribs and facial injuries as a result of the smash, with his son, Corey, saying he was 'lucky to be alive'.
A BBC statement issued in March confirmed the series would not go ahead as the broadcaster felt 'it would be inappropriate'.
“We have sincerely apologised to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery," the statement continued.
“We understand this [halting the show] will be disappointing for fans, but it is the right thing to do, and we’ll make a judgement about how best to continue later this year.”
Flintoff and Rippon - who presented the show in 1997 for two years - were filming together for the series at the time, with Rippon now shedding more light on the aftermath of the crash.
"I made a film with Freddie for the cancelled series," she told The Sun.
"After his accident I sent him a text saying, ‘Next time you want to go around the course a bit slower, just give me a call'."
She added: “I was just so sorry as they [Freddie and co-presenters] are not professional drivers and are asked to do things that even professional drivers very often would find difficult.
“I think Freddie and his family decided this was an ask and a task too far and his life is more important than a television programme.”
This isn't the first time the father of four has wound up in a nasty car crash since joining the Top Gear team four years ago.
Back in 2019, when Flintoff was just getting to grips with his new presenting job, he lost control of a motorised trike while driving at 124mph.
Luckily, he managed to walk away relatively unscathed, saying afterwards: "I go to great lengths to make sure I do well in Top Gear drag races, but on this occasion I went a few lengths too far! It will look more ridiculous than dangerous when you see it on TV.”
Following Flintoff's most recent crash, the BBC has said it will be conducting a health and safety review of the show.