Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Top Gear

BBC to postpone next Top Gear series
25 September 2006

LONDON: The BBC is to indefinitely postpone the new series of Top Gear until presenter Richard Hammond has recovered from the brain injuries he suffered in a high-speed crash.

The next series had been due to begin on October 8.

"We would not think of finalising plans for the next series without discussing it with everyone involved," the BBC said in a statement. "When it is suitable, the team will do this and we will announce a new transmission date."

Hammond, 36, was moved from a high dependency ward to a side-room on a general ward at Leeds General Infirmary at the weekend.

"He is continuing to do well," a hospital spokesman told Reuters on Sunday.

Hammond was seriously injured last week when he crashed a jet-powered dragster as he accelerated towards 482.kmh in a feature being filmed for the BBC show.

With the accident being jointly investigated by police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Top Gear Producer Andy Wilman threatened to quit if the BBC made any attempt to tone down the programme's emphasis on speed and extreme stunts.

Hammond's co-host Jeremy Clarkson also rejected criticism of Top Gear's format.

"Next week I intend to be down on the track driving faster than ever," Clarkson told The Observer. "It's what we do."

Meanwhile, Hammond well-wishers have donated over £134,000 ($NZ390,785) to a charity for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, which air-lifted the Top Gear presenter to hospital after the crash.


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