Fears Top Gear will be 'put to bed' as diggers start work at test track site amid plans to turn it into homes

16 May 2023, 08:36 | Updated: 16 May 2023, 13:59

A BBC insider suggests Top Gear could be "put to bed"
A BBC insider suggests Top Gear could be "put to bed". Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Will Taylor

Part of Top Gear's famous track is being dug up, sparking fears about the show's future.

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Diggers have been pictured getting to work at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome after filming was paused in the wake of Freddie Flintoff's horror crash.

They have paused production on the beloved car programme since the smash in December, which left the presenter and former England cricketer with serious injuries.

And bosses at the BBC are reportedly set to accept they will have to allow the track in Cranleigh to be turned into a housing estate.

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Plans for 2,600 homes, a school and community facilities have been in the works since 2005 and the corporation does not own the site.

"Dunsfold is synonymous with Top Gear, it's a huge part of the show," an insider told The Sun.

"But allowing the site to be sold off is a damning statement for the series' future.

Top Gear filming has been paused after Flintoff's accident
Top Gear filming has been paused after Flintoff's accident. Picture: Alamy

"There's been mounting pressure for some years for the aerodrome site to be regenerated, but attempts have been resisted.

"But after Freddie's crash there's a feeling that perhaps it's time to put the show to bed and avoid any more potentially devastating crashes. It's a real blow for fans."

The BBC has been told the track remains intact and should remain so for several years. The diggers were seen at the other end of the airfield from the Top Gear track.

Read more: Filming on latest Top Gear series will not resume following Flintoff horror crash

The track was used by the former Formula 1 team Lotus as a test site.

It has hosted Top Gear since its 2002 reboot, and since then scores of celebrities including Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz and Ed Sheeran have attempted the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car challenge, while the Stig used it to put vehicles through their paces.

Dunsfold has been the home of the Top Gear test track
Dunsfold has been the home of the Top Gear test track. Picture: Getty

Dunsfold was also used in the James Bond film Casino Royale, standing in for Miami Airport during an action-packed chase scene.

Flintoff - who was one of the replacements for Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May - was driving a three-wheeled Morgan Super 3 car when it flipped at the end of last year.

He has not commented on his injuries and the show's future has been left unclear since then.

Flintoff, who hosts alongside Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris, was seen in sunglasses as he was driven about by his wife Rachael in April.

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