Freddie Flintoff relaxed over Top Gear job

The retired sportsman is taking over the motoring show with Paddy McGuinness next year.

New Top Gear host Freddie Flintoff has said he feels calm about taking over one of the most sought-after and talked-about jobs on TV.

The former cricketer will present the BBC Two motoring series alongside fellow newcomer Paddy McGuinness next year, and he said he is unfazed about following in the footsteps of the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and recent hosts Matt LeBlanc and Chris Evans.

Flintoff told ITV’s Loose Women of his new role: “I’m quite relaxed about it at this minute.

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris
(Left to right) Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris are the new Top Gear presenting team (David Parry/PA)

“They’re taking me for all I can do. I try my best.”

Panellist Kaye Adams asked if the reaction from Top Gear’s “fanatical fanbase” bothers him, and stressed that the show “is a big deal”.

Flintoff joked: “Well now you put it like that…”

He added: “There’s two schools of thought really.

“I think every day that I’m going to get found out, so it keeps me on my toes, and the other is this – what’s the worst that can happen?

“I’m not saving lives or anything, I’m doing a bit of TV, I’m enjoying myself and then I’ll go home after.”

Since the departure of Clarkson along with his co-stars Richard Hammond and James May, the show has received mixed reviews from critics and viewers over replacement hosts Evans and LeBlanc.

He said he “still can’t believe” that he has landed the role of co-host on Top Gear, along with McGuinness and the show’s Chris Harris, a motoring journalist and racing driver.

Flintoff said he knew McGuinness previously after meeting him a few times through their mutual friend, comedian John Bishop.

He said he had also worked with him on Sport Relief, and Loose Women’s Nadia Sawalha asked: “Is that where you were spotted, where your chemistry was discovered?”

Flintoff quipped: “I don’t know if we’ve got any chemistry.”

He added: “I had to audition, I had to go and drive a car and do a bit of talking.”

LeBlanc’s final series as lead host will air in early 2019.

McGuinness and Flintoff will start filming their first series with Harris early next year, and it will debut later in the year.

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