Inside Top Gear 'curse' – Freddie Flintoff's accident to star who cheated death and Jeremy Clarkson’s agonising injury | The Sun

WITH fast cars, dramatic races and epic stunts, it's no wonder Top Gear is one of the most popular shows on TV.

But its high adrenaline stunts have at times had terrifying repercussions for its presenters.

This week host Freddie Flintoff was airlifted to hospital following a terrifying car crash while shooting an episode for the hit BBC series – also hosted by Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris – at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome.

Thankfully a source revealed the 45-year-old former England cricketer's injuries are not life-threatening, and he is receiving treatment.

His son Corey said today the family was in shock and Freddie was "lucky to be alive", adding: "It was a pretty nasty crash. It is shocking. We are all shocked but just hope he's going to be OK."

It's not the first time the show's antics have caused concern; here we take a look at some of the mishaps and controversies to blight Top Gear over the years…


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124mph horror smash

This week's horrifying smash isn't the first dad-of-four Freddie has been involved in.

In 2019, he had a lucky escape after crashing a three-wheeled cycle-car at 124mph – on the same track where former host Richard Hammond nearly died.

A clip showing how the terrifying accident unfolded at York’s Elvington Airfield sees host Freddie shout "I can't stop!" while hurtling down a runway head-first, inches off the ground, lying on his front.

Thankfully the ex-cricketer, whose real name is Andrew, was helped to his feet before being checked over by on-site medics, and declared he was miraculously "absolutely fine".

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Near-death experience

Richard Hammond was left in a coma after a horror crash at nearly 300mph in 2006Credit: BBC
The star has suffered numerous injuries over the yearsCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Among the scariest incidents that stands out in everyone's mind is former presenter Richard Hammond's near-death crash – which left him in a coma for weeks.

Hammond, nicknamed Hamster, suffered a serious a head injury in 2006 when his dragster span off the runway at 288mph.

Thankfully he made a full recovery, after five weeks in hospital – but he couldn't remember the crash.

In June 2017, Hammond was airlifted to hospital after cheating death yet again in another horror crash, this time filming for his Amazon series The Grand Tour.

Agonising injuries

Jeremy Clarkson had his fair share of drama and injuries over the years, including suffering two slipped discs in his back.

The TV star also broke his thumb when he crashed his Volvo 760 GLE into a wall (on purpose), and sustained painful injuries after he drove a Renault Magnum truck into a brick wall during a challenge.

Speaking at the time, Jeremy said: “My ankle burst where the clutch pedal went through the wall. And my head was dislodged from my spine due to the impact."

During the eleventh series of Top Gear in 2008, Jeremy also crashed out of one race when he lost control and rolled his car – but miraculously walked away completely unharmed.

Expensive crashes

In June 2020 Paddy McGuinness pushed a £250,000 Lamborghini Diablo to braking point, reacting with horror as he crashed the supercar in the Yorkshire Dales.

Paramedics and police crew were on hand to help the 46-year-old when he lost control.

Afterwards he joked: "I’m going to have a cup of tea, a paracetamol and a good old cry."

It was later revealed that the Lambo initially failed its MOT and was deemed unfit for the roads the previous month.

Disrespectful stunts & diplomatic rows

The show has seen its fair share of controversy off the race track, too.

In 2016, former host Chris Evans apologised after co-star Matt LeBlanc and rally driver Ken Block were filmed doing 'doughnuts' close to historic war memorial the Cenotaph.

Evans apologised "unreservedly" for what was deemed a “gravely disrespectful” stunt.

The show was also caught up in a diplomatic row with Argentina over a Falklands number plate in one episode, after the hosts drove through the country on a 1,400 mile road trip for a Christmas special in a Porsche with the number plate H982 FKL.

And in 2014, Ofcom was flooded with complaints after Jeremy Clarkson held up a sign reading 'Pikey’s Peak' – a derogatory term for gypsies and travellers.

'Tension' among show stars

Former presenter Jeremy Clarkson was sensationally sacked from Top Gear after an altercation with another member of staff – an incident he later apologised for.

Rather than carry on without him, co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May decided to leave, and the trio launched their new car show The Grand Tour on streaming service Amazon Prime.

Afterwards the BBC show recruited Friends star Matt Le Blanc and Virgin Radio DJ Chris Evans to front it.

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However the pair didn't last long, and it was reported they didn't hit it off after struggling to attract the same ratings as the former trio.

In June 2016, it was reported that Matt LeBlanc planned to quit as presenter unless host Chris Evans got the boot.

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