Top Gear Series 33 | Interview with Freddie Flintoff

Do you have a favourite moment/trip from the series?

For me, the biggest but also the most enjoyable challenge I had was the F1 stock car racing. I got a chance to race in a sport that I didn’t really know anything about or even knew existed. I didn’t know the dangers of it, the speed of it all, or how hard it was. I think I enjoyed it…there were elements which I enjoyed but at the same time I was fearful because you are aware of what can go wrong, like hitting walls and smashing into other cars.  It can be a scary sport!

Tell us about the mini-cars in Paris. What was it like driving round the Parisian streets in tiny cars? Especially for someone so tall!

To everyone’s amazement, I could actually fit in it! I felt a bit enclosed and a bit claustrophobic but I did fit in, although I don’t think you would have got anyone in the seat behind me. The car I was in was like a transformer, you pressed a button and the wheels went in and out. My car still had a few teething problems as we were driving round but getting the chance to go around the city like we did was brilliant. Paris was somewhere I hadn’t had the chance to spend a lot of time visiting before so it was great. However, in all honesty…I think I’d rather peddle on a bike, or even walk next time!

It’s fair to say you’re the dare devil of the group. Tell us about your experience of F1 stock car racing…

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It’s a sport where I got completely thrown in at the deep end. I only had a day and a half of practice before I found myself in a proper race in front of thousands of people. I think that’s just the nature of the stuff I do on the show now, and I’ve learnt to just get on with it and get stuck in; there’s no time for anything else! Everyone there was so accommodating. Frankie and his lad who trained us were initially a bit nervous I think but then I showed them I wasn’t too bad so I think he enjoyed it as well. The racing itself is a total sensory overload and it’s a world which I don’t know; there are loads of different noises, different smells, everyone’s dirty. It’s definitely a different form of motorsport to what I’ve experienced before, but what I took away from it was the amount of skill needed to do it and how good these fellas are, and how good it was of them to just let me go into their world and have a go. I think I enjoyed it!

Who had the most fun being a delivery driver?

I think I did. Paddy turned up as Postman Pad and had a stuffed cat, Chris had a transit, and I didn’t take it too seriously, I was just driving round chucking parcels at doors. It was fun! Even the dog attacking us (which is the second time that’s happened to me) was fun. I don’t think I would go on to employ any of us though as we weren’t very professional and there were a lot of damaged parcels…but it was a fun day!

After 33 series, why do you think Top Gear remains so popular?

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Chris Harris… obviously…

There’s something for everyone it seems. I’ve always known I like cars but since being a part of Top Gear and getting the chance to drive more and see more I’ve actually surprised myself with just how much I love cars, and I think the same can be said for the audience. The series offers so much variety, Chris covers a lot of ground for the petrolheads, and Paddy gives the entertainment and puts a smile on everyone’s face, and then I get to do some of the more adventurous stuff, which I think all adds up to a nice mix that just works.

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.