Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff: From England cricket captain to TV host

Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff became well known as an all-rounder after he earned his place in the world of international cricket and later as a TV host.

The former England cricket captain retired from the sport in 2015, but went on to become a TV regular and began presenting Top Gear in 2019.

Flintoff, who was injured last December while filming the BBC motoring show, has reached a reported £9 million financial settlement with the broadcaster following the crash.

Cricket – BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award – Lahore
Flintoff with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award (Gareth Copley/PA)

Born in Preston on December 6 1977, his sporting career saw him take part in several international cricket tours with England youth teams before making his debut for Lancashire in 1995.

In 1999 he made his senior international debut against Pakistan at Sharjah, scoring 50, and later that year became the first Lancashire player to score a century before lunch in a Roses match against Yorkshire at Old Trafford.

He helped England clinch the Ashes in 2005 after a draw against Australia at the Oval.

Flintoff was named man of the series and jointly awarded the ICC’s Cricketer of the Year award, before going on to win BBC Sports Personality Of The Year.

A year later he was made an MBE by the Queen and named man of the Test series in India.

After undergoing ankle surgery he was named England captain for the Ashes tour of Australia.

Cricket – England Media Day – Sydney
Flintoff as England captain at Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia (Gareth Copley/PA)

In 2009, Flintoff ended his England career on a high, helping the team defeat Australia at the Oval to seal a 2-1 Ashes series win.

He retired from all forms of professional cricket, having consulted medical advisers, but returned briefly in 2014 to play Twenty20 for Lancashire.

Flintoff went on to become a familiar face on television, taking part in reality and panel shows and appearing as the face of supermarket brand Morrisons.

In 2010 he became a team captain on Sky’s A League Of Their Own, hosted by James Corden.

The BBC aired a documentary he produced titled Freddie Flintoff: Hidden Side Of Sport in 2012 in which he spoke to sporting professionals about the serious effects of depression and confronted his own issues while England captain.

He was crowned king of the jungle in the first series of the Australian version of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2015.

Top Gear
Flintoff with Top Gear co-hosts Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris (Ian West/PA)

Flintoff was again praised for opening up about his struggles with mental health during the show.

After appearing in the BBC drama Love, Lies And Records in 2017, he went on to make his musical theatre debut in Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends The Musical and hosted All Star Musicals for ITV in December the same year.

He was announced as the new host of Top Gear in October 2018 alongside Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris for the BBC show’s 27th series.

In February 2019, Flintoff was involved in a minor car incident when he crashed into a market stall in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, while filming for Top Gear.

In September of the same year he crashed again while driving a three-wheel vehicle at a reported speed of 124mph during filming for Top Gear at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, but walked away from the incident unharmed.

In a 2020 documentary he revealed he had developed the eating disorder bulimia nervosa while trying to keep up with his slimmer, fitter teammates during his cricket career.

Freddie Flintoff On Bulimia, which saw him meet experts and male sufferers, was hailed for offering a better understanding of what it means to be a man with an eating disorder.

England v Ireland – Second Metro Bank ODI – Trent Bridge
Flintoff appeared with facial injuries in public for the first time in September (Tim Goode/PA)

He was taken to hospital after his December 2022 crash which took place while filming at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey.

In September, Flintoff appeared with facial injuries in public for the first time.

His son Corey said at the time he was “lucky to be alive” and described it as a “pretty nasty crash”.

Series 34 was halted following the crash.

A BBC Studios spokesperson said on Friday: “BBC Studios has reached an agreement with Freddie that we believe supports his continued rehabilitation, return to work and future plans.

“We have sincerely apologised to Freddie and will continue to support him with his recovery.”