LAUGHING GEAR BBC bosses sign up Paddy McGuinness & Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff to be next hosts of Top Gear

The pair have signed a two-year deal with the Beeb who hope they'll be able to bring back the glory years of the hit car show when it was fronted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May

22 October 2018 - 08:47

TAKE Me Out’s Paddy McGuinness and cricket legend Andrew Flintoff are to host Top Gear.

The pair will replace Matt LeBlanc, 51, after the next series.

BBC bosses reckon the pair will bring back the Top Gear glory years.

The pals signed a two-year deal last week to host the car show from 2019 — earning each around £500,000.

Take Me Out host Paddy, 45, and cricket legend “Freddie”, 40, impressed with their “infectious” chemistry in a secret run-through at a test track near London.

The Lancastrians will replace Matt LeBlanc, 51, who is quitting after the next series though Chris Harris, 43, stays on.

Producers hope the new trio will remind viewers of the Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May glory years.

A BBC source said: “Paddy and Freddie are real curveball signings which no one predicted and bosses are delighted with them..

“The BBC think having a British trio – two Lancashire lads and a car buff – is a good move.

“Paddy and Fred are car-mad too. Paddy’s one-liners and Fred’s sense of adventure should bring back the old days of Top Gear.”

 BBC bosses are hoping to remind viewers of the glory years when Hammond, Clarkson and May hosted the show
BBC
BBC bosses are hoping to remind viewers of the glory years when Hammond, Clarkson and May hosted the show

Rory Reid, 39, will be moved to front spin-off show Extra Gear.

They begin filming in a few months before BBC2 viewers see them next year – after Matt’s last series airs in early 2019.

The source added: “This news will have car manufacturers and the BBC’s insurance department on high alert.

“The BBC’s top bosses and everyone else involved in the casting were bowled over by Paddy and Freddie – they are utterly infectious and will bring a new energy and competitive spirit to the show.”

 Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans failed to pull in viewers
Handout
Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans failed to pull in viewers

Paddy — who crashed a replica Del Boy three-wheeler this year in a stunt — shot to fame with Peter Kay in Phoenix Nights.

Freddie — who once capsized in a pedalo on an England tour — hosted ITV gameshow Cannonball and is a captain on Sky panel show A League of Their Own.

Ex-Friends actor Matt announced he was quitting earlier this year. The American joined the show in 2016 along with Chris Evans, Rory and Chris Harris.

CAR NUTS TO THE RESCUE

By Andy Halls, TV Editor

THIS may look like a cynical decision, with entertainment being put before motoring.

But these two are car-mad, exactly what Top Gear needs.

Freddie’s owned everything from a Peugeot 405 to a Lamborghini Murciélago. And Paddy has dreamt of hosting the show.

They are not big international stars, but neither initially were Clarkson, Hammond and May.

Top Gear’s bread and butter is the UK audience so it is surely a shrewd move to stop the ratings slide.

Hopefully the show will now go back to cars, nonsense challenges and utter

 

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