‘I thought I’d killed Paddy’: Freddie Flintoff opens up on Top Gear horror smash

Andrew Flintoff was left distraught after thinking he had killed Top Gear co-star Paddy McGuinness after a terrifying crash, saying: “It was genuine panic”.

The cricket star was driving a a hearse alongside colleagues Chris Harris and Paddy during filming of the new show, when he accidentally rolled the vehicle on a tight corner.

Freddie, 41, said “It was Chris’s fault. He was egging me on, and I was trying to get around this corner and there was a bit of a bump.

“I was holding the wheel and I felt it and thought, ‘No that’s alright – it’s going to come back.’

“I’ve rolled a car before in Wales and it was the same thing – it started going over and everything seemed to just slow down a little bit.

“We were upside down and I thought, ‘Actually, I’m alright – it’s fine.’

“Chris got out really quickly and I was shouting to Paddy in the back, but getting nothing back.”

He added to Top Gear magazine: “I had genuine panic for 10 seconds because I couldn’t hear. It’s one thing hurting yourself, but you don’t want to hurt anyone else.”

Last Sunday saw the launch of the first episode of the motoring programme. The hearse crash will be shown later in the series.

The show pulled in an average overnight audience of 2.5 million viewers – up from the first episode of the last series, starring Matt LeBlanc which averaged 1.9 million viewers.

The motoring series, which aired on Sunday night between 8pm and 9pm, had a peak audience of 2.8 million viewers.

BBC Two Controller Patrick Holland said this week: “I am delighted by the reaction to the new Top Gear line-up.

“When Paddy, Fred and Chris met, the chemistry was immediate and we were sure they would be a great new team.

“Top Gear is such a great BBC Two show, filled with mischief, insight and adventure, and we are over the moon to see such a positive response from the audience. I can’t wait for the travels ahead.”

Despite only one episode of the rebooted programme having aired on BBC2, bosses have also agreed to bring the pair back for another run in 2020.

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