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BBC fear they could be forced to 'water down' Top Gear in the wake of Andrew Flintoff's accident
13 September 2023, 14:22 | Updated: 13 September 2023, 16:25
The BBC fear they could be forced to water down Top Gear in the wake of Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff's horror crash.
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Flintoff has only just returned to the public eye nine months after the accident with his facial injuries on display while he works with the England cricket team.
BBC bosses are worried about what an independent review into the accident will find, The Telegraph reports.
The review is due to reveal its findings in the coming weeks. One potential outcome is amateur presenters such as Flintoff, would be banned from risking their lives.
Professionals such as Chris Harris would be the ones allowed to carry out the dangerous stunts.
But BBC bosses fear that removing the sense of danger will cost it viewers.
A former Top Gear team member said: "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***.
"You take the stunts away from the presenters and get a load of stunt drivers to do them and what is the point?"
The BBC was criticised in 2006 when a 320mph crash put Richard Hammond in a coma.
Hammond returned to the show but Flintoff is not expected to come back.
PR expert Mark Borkowski told the Daily Mail: "Anyone sensible looking at this will see pictures of Freddie Flintoff looks a pale shadow of what he once looked like.
"He must have been pretty badly injured if he was out of commission for nine months still sporting those scars.
"It suggests his injuries might have been more serious than we thought.
"The question mark is can Top Gear come back from this? If they've managed the news cycle which they have over these injuries, the question is Top Gear viable in the future?