Top Gear producers worried about future of show following proposals to change how stunts work
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The way Top Gear's stunts are performed may be set for a huge change in the wake of Freddie Flintoff's catastrophic car crash last year.
While the premise of Top Gear is to review vehicles and try them out, it's become best known for it borderline idiotic stunts that sees its presenters driving an array of cars at daft speeds.
One such stunt saw 45-year-old Flintoff crash an open-topped three-wheel Morgan Super 3 at 130mph, which resulted in the retired cricketer being airlifted to hospital in December last year.
He was left with serious injuries to his face and several broken ribs.
BBC decided to halt filming after the incident and the show's future has been in question ever since.
And Flintoff isn't the only Top Gear presenter to have suffered a serious crash - back in 2006, former presenter Richard Hammond ended up in a coma and on life support following a 320mph car accident.
Top Gear fans can already expect changes to the show if and when it returns as its editorial director, Clare Pizey, recently stepped down after seven years working for the programme.
She penned on Instagram: "Somehow, I have spent 7 years on Top Gear - how did that happen - and that was after Children in Need and Sport Relief to name but a few highlights.
"It has been extraordinary in every way and I am so grateful to the incredibly talented production teams and presenters I have worked with along the way. It has been a privilege."
Baring in mind both Flintoff's crash and Pizey's exit, it's believed that the way stunts are performed on Top Gear are going to be shaken up and that only driving professionals will perform them.
An independent health and safety review into the show's current practices was conducted over the summer, The Telegraph reports, and recommendations could potentially see the hosts step back from performing stunts.
However, show bosses are concerned that their six million viewers won't like the change.
Expressing their own concerns, one unnamed ex Top Gear producer told the Mail Online: "The reason Top Gear is a hit is the crashes. That's the thing. It's not a show about buying new cars, it's about stunts and jeopardy and presenters doing daft s**t.
"You take the stunts away from the presenters and get a load of stunt drivers to do them and what is the point?"
When approached by LADbible, the BBC said they weren't commenting on speculation, but added: "A decision on the timing of future Top Gear shows will be made in conjunction with BBC Content in due course. The Health and Safety Review of the show has also not yet concluded."
Over the weekend, Flintoff broke cover for the first time since his accident and it's clear that the dad-of-four is still recovering from his injuries.
The 45-year-old was snapped watching the men's cricket team’s opening one-day international against New Zealand at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens and could be seen with scars on his face and what appeared to be a bandage across his nose.
After the pictures surfaced, Flintoff was described as 'a pale shadow of what he once looked like' by author and PR Mark Borkowski as many came to realise the severity of his injuries.
It's rumoured that Flintoff will not be returning to the programme in light of his accident.