Top gear has reportedly been axed by the BBC after 46 years after bosses determined there was no way back following Freddie Flintoff’s horror car crash.
Former England cricket captain was ‘lucky to be alive’ after his three-wheel open-top Morgan Super 3 car, which had no airbags, overturned on December 13 last year, leaving him with serious facial injuries and broken ribs.
The axes hero had to wait an ‘agonizing’ 45 minutes for an air ambulance – with the BBC later apologized to him.
Insiders have said so The sun that almost ten months later, production staff are now being told to find other work, which likely means the end of the car show.
At least one member of the Top Gear production crew is considering legal action against the BBC over loss of income.
Responding to reports that the show had already been axed, a BBC spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘A decision on the timing of future Top Gear shows will be made jointly with BBC Content in due course.’
As the curtain looks to close on the long-running TV show, MailOnline looks back at some of the biggest moments on Top Gear.
Angela Rippon Launches Top Gear (1977)
Debut: Journalist and current Strictly Come Dancing contestant Angela Rippon was the first presenter of Top Gear in 1977
Journalist and current Strictly Come Dancing contestant Angela Rippon was the first presenter of Top Gear in 1977.
The show was designed as a regional program at the time so was only available to BBC Midlands viewers.
The following year, the BBC took greater interest in the show and made it available to viewers across the country.
Angela first presented the show with Ben Coyne and then Barrie Gill before leaving the show in 1979.
Jeremy Clarkson Joins the Show (1988)
Revamp: New life was breathed into Top Gear when Jeremy Clarkson joined the show in 1988
New life was breathed into Top Gear when Jeremy Clarkson joined the show in 1988.
His presentation style was well received by viewers and the show was regularly BBC2’s most watched program during this period.
Jeremy was brutally honest about his car assessments, once saying of the original Vauxhall Vectra: ‘I know that it is the replacement for the Cavalier. I know. But I tell you, it’s just a box on wheels.”
Top Gear relaunches and viewers are introduced to ‘The Stig’ (2002)
Revival: The 2002 revival also introduced the anonymous test driver ‘The Stig’, with the running gag being that no one knows who or what is in The Stig’s suit
After almost 25 years on air, the BBC made the decision to cancel Top Gear in December 2001.
Jeremy relaunched the show the following year, recruiting Richard Hammond and Jason Daw as co-hosts.
The 2002 revival also introduced the anonymous test driver ‘The Stig’, with the running gag that no one knows who or what is in The Stig’s suit.
Drivers such as Michael Schumacher and Ben Collins have been The Stig in the past, while the current wearer of the suit remains secret.
Richard Hammond’s near-death crash (2006)
Shocking: In 2006, Richard Hammond suffered a brain injury in a 280mph rocket car crash while filming for Top Gear
In 2006, the presenter suffered a brain injury in a 280mph rocket car crash while filming for Top Gear.
Richard was in a coma for two weeks in September 2006 after the jet-powered Vampire car he was traveling in at 280mph suffered a tire blowout during a land record attempt.
He suffered serious head injuries and was hospitalized for five weeks before returning home to his wife Mindy and their two daughters, Isabella and Willow.
Despite the horrific crash, the presenter emerged remarkably unscathed.
Celebrity guest stars
A-listers: Several big names have appeared on the show over the years, including Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise
Several big names have appeared on the show over the years.
In 2010, Hollywood A-listers Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz both guest-starred on the show. Tom completed his lap in 1.44 seconds, while Cameron completed hers in 1.45.
Rowan Atkinson appeared in the series the following year, while Ryan Reynolds, Michael Fassbender and Simon Pegg also made memorable appearances.
Jeremy Clarkson is dropped from Top Gear (2015)
Controversy: Jeremy was sensationally sacked from Top Gear in 2015 after punching producer Oisin Tymon in an argument over a hot dinner during filming
Jeremy was sensationally sacked from Top Gear in 2015 after punching producer Oisin Tymon over a hot dinner during filming.
The presenter punched Mr Tymon in the face when he was offered a plate of cold cuts instead of steak and chips after a long day of filming.
The BBC’s internal investigation into the incident found that Jeremy verbally abused the producer for 20 minutes at a luxury hotel in North Yorkshire, before launching a 30-second physical attack that led to another member of staff dragging him away.
North Yorkshire Police became involved in the row, but Mr Tymon did not press charges and Jeremy has since publicly apologized to him.
Presenter recast (2016)
Change: Chris Evans was recruited to work on the series, while former Friends star Matt LeBlanc was brought in as co-host after Jeremy, Richard Hammond and James May left
Following Jeremy’s departure, both Richard Hammond and James May also quit, leading to a reshuffle of the show’s presenters.
Chris Evans was recruited to work on the series, while former Friends star Matt LeBlanc was brought in as co-host.
Eddie Jordan, Chris Harris, Sabine Schmitz and Rory Reid also joined the show.
Chris Evans left the show after just one series, while LeBlanc, Harris and Reid became the main presenters of the next series.
Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness join (2019)
New names: Top Gear underwent another change in 2019 as Matt LeBlanc left the show and Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness joined Chris Harris as new presenters
Top Gear underwent another change in 2019 when Matt LeBlanc left the show and Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness joined Chris Harris as new presenters.
Freddie and Paddy proved to be exactly what the show needed as ratings increased after they joined.
Further proving the continued success of Top Gear, the BBC made the decision to move it from BBC Two to BBC One for its 29th series in 2020.
Freddie’s Horror Car Crash (2022)
Ordeal: Freddie was filming a segment for Top Gear in December when the three-wheeled open-top car he was driving overturned, leaving him with serious facial injuries and several broken ribs
Freddie was filming a segment for Top Gear in December when the three-wheeled open-top car he was driving overturned, leaving him with serious facial injuries and several broken ribs.
It was later revealed that the £43,000 British handmade Morgan Super 3 vehicle, described as a ‘motorized three-wheeler’, was not fitted with airbags.
Immediately after the crash, Flintoff was faced with an ‘agonizing’ 45-minute wait for the air ambulance to arrive and take him to hospital, with the BBC later apologizing to the presenter.
England’s 2005 Ashes hero left Top Gear after the crash, with filming of the remainder of the 34th series halted and the BBC saying it would conduct a health and safety investigation.
When he first spoke about the crash in October 2023, Freddie described the past few months as the “hardest of his life” as he recovers.