For the first time since Freddie Flintoff’s horrific tragedy, Paddy McGuinness has addressed the BBC’s decision to’rest’ Top Gear.
The 50-year-old Phoenix Nights actress co-hosted the BBC driving show with Freddie and automotive writer Chris Harris.
Sharing pictures of the trio behind the scenes on Instagram, he wrote: ‘We were always going to be b***ends but we were your b***ends.
‘Thanks for all the love over the years folks, it was very much appreciated. #TopGear.’
On Tuesday, the broadcaster said in a statement it had ‘decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future.’
Teasing future projects with the presenters, the corporation added: ‘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.’
Former Top Gear host James May, who co-hosted the show with Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond until 2015, has expressed his dismay at the news, stating it will be a’shame’ if the BBC does not give Top Gear a’rethink’.
The show’s production has been paused since former England cricket captain Freddie, 45, was wounded in an accident at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey in December 2022.
Following the disaster, the BBC declared that production on the show will be halted because it was deemed ‘inappropriate,’ and that a health and safety assessment would be conducted.
In addition, BBC Studios said a health and safety production review of Top Gear, which did not cover the accident but instead looked at previous seasons, found that ‘while BBC Studios had complied with the required BBC policies and industry best practice in making the show, there were important learnings which would need to be rigorously applied to future Top Gear UK productions.’
A statement added: ‘The report includes a number of recommendations to improve approaches to safety as Top Gear is a complex programme-making environment routinely navigating tight filming schedules and ambitious editorial expectations – challenges often experienced by long-running shows with an established on and off screen team.
‘Learnings included a detailed action plan involving changes in the ways of working, such as increased clarity on roles and responsibilities and better communication between teams for any future Top Gear production.’
A second inquiry of Freddie’s crash was completed in March of this year, and the results will not be publicised.
Last month, it was claimed that he had agreed to a £9 million settlement with the BBC, with a spokeswoman from BBC Studios saying, ‘BBC Studios has reached an arrangement with Freddie that we feel supports his further recovery, return to work, and future ambitions.’
In September, Freddie was photographed in public for the first time since the disaster, with noticeable face injuries, as he joined the England cricket squad for their one-day international series against New Zealand.
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Shortly afterwards, he spoke publicly for the first time, making a heartwarming speech in which he said: ‘Play with passion, play with pride, play with belief. And also part of a family of people. They’ll share the good times with you, share the successes.
‘But as I found over the past few months, they’ll be there for you in the hardest times of your life.’
The mishap was not the first one the athletic great has encountered since beginning production on the show.
The broadcaster was engaged in a small mishap in February 2019 when he slammed into a market stand in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
Freddie and Paddy took over as Top Gear hosts in June 2019, while Chris began two years earlier.
Top Gear is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.