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James May makes big statement after Top Gear goes off air

“My honest view is – I can say this now – it does need a bit of a rethink,” says James May

Former Top Gear presenter James May. — BBC

James May, a former Top Gear presenter, believes that the show’s format needs to be revised after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) decided to put the show off air.

The show’s production, according to BBC, was stopped after ex-cricketer and host was severely injured while filming last year.

“My honest view is – I can say this now – it does need a bit of a rethink,” May told the Today Podcast.

“It’s time for a new format and a new approach to the subject because the subject has not been this interesting, I suspect, since the car has been invented.”

May had hosted the show alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond.

But after Clarkson was sent packing for punching a producer in 2015, May and Hammond also decided to part ways with Top Gear. However, the trio was hired for another motoring series, The Grand Tour, on Amazon Prime Video.

May believes that despite their departure years back, the show still follows a similar format.

“But, I mean, we’re getting quite old and we already do that,” he continued. “There’s another way. I’m not saying I know what it is, but there must be one. There must be another way of doing a show about cars.

“I’d be really surprised if it is gone forever… It or something like it.”

The trio’s format lasted for around two decades, relying on their chemistry, car reviews, celebrity guests, and other features.

He also talked about Flintoff. “I’ve only met Freddie once or twice but it’s obviously more serious than we all thought.”

He also ruled out returning to the series.

“It did annoy me a bit because there were a lot of people saying, ‘They’ve done that wrong and now you can come back and rescue it’.

“The bloke’s hurt himself very badly in a life-changing way, obviously. And you could perhaps not use it as an opportunity to be partisan. You could perhaps just say, ‘Rotten bit of luck, hope you get well soon’.”

BBC’s iconic motoring show, Top Gear, will remain off screens “for the foreseeable future” following presenter Flintoff’s accident during filming last year.

The decision to halt the UK show was made after Flintoff sustained injuries in a crash at Top Gear’s test track in Surrey, causing the 34th series to be discontinued. 

The BBC emphasised its commitment to Flintoff and co-presenters Chris and Paddy, expressing excitement about future projects with them.

In a statement, the BBC clarified, “We know resting the show will be disappointing news for fans, but it is the right thing to do.” All other aspects of Top Gear, including international formats, digital content, magazines, and licensing, will continue unaffected during this hiatus.

Flintoff recently settled with the BBC for a reported £9 million, addressing the injuries his legal team described as “life-altering significant.” The TV license fee will not fund the compensation payout, as BBC Studios operates as a commercial arm of the broadcaster.

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