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By Emma Saunders
Entertainment reporter

Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff is making his TV return after his Top Gear accident with a second series of BBC One cricket documentary, Field of Dreams.

The news, announced in the BBC’s annual plan, says Flintoff will be seen taking his young sports team – who hail from his home city of Preston – on tour.

The BBC had previously stated they were working with him on “new projects”.

Its Top Gear show will not return for the “foreseeable future” after Flintoff was hurt during filming in 2022.

The BBC had previously announced in October 2022 that a second series of Field of Dreams had been commissioned but there were no further updates given following Flintoff’s accident two months later.

It’s not yet known when the new series will air.

The first series aired in July 2022.

Described by the New Statesman’s Rachel Cooke as “the most moving thing I’ve seen on TV in years”, it saw Flintoff determined to get a group of Preston teenagers to become motivated and engaged in his beloved sport, with plenty of ups and downs along the way.

In the original press release about the second series, the BBC said: “Freddie is setting himself an even bigger challenge as he takes some of his team and a handful of fresh recruits on a new adventure.” adding that there would be four episodes.

Flintoff was pictured in public for the first time since his accident last September

The presenter was injured at Top Gear’s test track at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey.

Flintoff reached a settlement with the BBC last year, reportedly worth £9m. The payout will not be funded by the TV licence fee, as BBC Studios is a commercial arm of the broadcaster.

The BBC apologised to Flintoff in March 2023 over his injuries, as it announced a health and safety review of the show. It was expected to be undertaken by an independent third party.

It reiterated that apology in October when the compensation for Flintoff was announced.

Flintoff was pictured for the first time since the accident in September, as he led fielding drills with England players in Cardiff ahead of the team’s one-day international with New Zealand.

More recent photos have shown that his injuries have continued to heal.

The 45-year-old former England captain retired from cricket in 2009 having played 79 Tests, 141 one-day internationals and seven T20s.

He joined BBC One’s Top Gear as a host in 2019 alongside Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris. Their most recent series attracted an average audience of 4.5 million viewers.

Gladiators returned for a third time in January, having originally ran on ITV in the 90s and later on Sky

The BBC also announced that Gladiators will return to the Sheffield Arena for a second series. The first series of the show’s reboot will conclude on Saturday as the final four fight it out to be crowned champion.

It has been one of the most successful TV reboots in recent years – the opening episode got an audience of nearly 10 million, including 28-day catch-up figures.

The recommissioning was revealed in the BBC’s annual plan, which also said it would be an expensive year for the BBC with the Olympics in Paris and Euro 2024, held in Germany.

“It is clear that substantial public funding is vital to the BBC’s future to allow us to deliver our public service mission,” the plan says.

“In real terms, the licence fee generated 30% more income in 2010/11 than it does today – a difference of more than £1 billion a year. Various costs have been added, followed by two years of a frozen licence fee at a time of high inflation.

“This has also coincided with a reduction across the media sector in the availability of ‘co-production’ funding to help spread the investment into some of our larger titles and programmes.

“Other wider sector challenges have also increased financial pressure on the BBC’s commercial activities. So the BBC’s finances are under significant strain.”

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