The British car show “Top Gear,” one of the BBC’s most profitable and popular shows, will stop running after a presenter, Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, was seriously injured in a crash during filming last year, the BBC said on Tuesday.
“Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the U.K. show for the foreseeable future,” the broadcaster said in a statement, adding that it was excited about new projects that it was developing with the presenters of “Top Gear.” “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.”
After the car crash, which happened in December at the show’s test track in Surrey, England, the BBC halted production of the series, its 34th season. An independent company then conducted a safety and health review of the show, but the findings were not published, according to the BBC.
“Top Gear” has faced criticism of its safety protocol before. In 2006, Richard Hammond, then a “Top Gear” presenter, was in a coma for two weeks after crashing a vehicle going more than 288 miles per hour on a Yorkshire airfield during a “Top Gear” stunt.
Mr. Flintoff, a former England cricket captain, reportedly reached a settlement with the BBC that was worth 9 million pounds ($11.3 million), according to The Sun and other news 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 TV show, which debuted in 1977 as a regional show about cars and road safety and relaunched in 2002, is a cultural phenomenon. It is one of the BBC’s most widely watched shows worldwide. The BBC did not say whether the show would 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 about £20 million ($25 million) in profit each year as of 2015. Mr. Flintoff became the presenter of the show in 2019, co-starring with the actor and comedian Paddy McGuinness and the automotive journalist Chris Harris.
“Top Gear” was also in the headlines in 2015, when the BBC suspended Jeremy Clarkson, the popular host at the time, after he attacked a producer after a night of drinking.