Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris, and Paddy McGuinness on the first post-lockdown series of 'Top Gear'

Top Gear
Freddie Flintoff, Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness are back in the driving seat for a new series of 'Top Gear' (Image credit: BBC)

Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff are back in the driving seat for more motorised mayhem as Top Gear returns for a new five-part run — featuring everything from a trip to Iceland to a race at Silverstone against Formula One drivers. 

We caught up with the three amigos during filming to find out what’s in store in Top Gear 2021... 

The new series includes an in-car chilli-eating contest. Who came out on top? 

Top Gear

Hot stuff! Freddie cools down with some milk after an in-car chilli-eating contest. (Image credit: BBC)

Paddy "You know when you go to a curry house, and there’s always a couple of people who say, ‘I can eat something hotter than you’ – that’s Chris and Freddie. I am a chicken korma man – even brown sauce is too hot for me.”

Freddie "The chilli was the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. I’ve not drunk milk for eight years, but I couldn't get enough of it after that!”

Paddy, you got to do a motorbike stunt in front of your boyhood hero, stunt legend Eddie Kidd OBE. What was that like? 

Top Gear

Ring of fire: Paddy shows off his stunt credentials in front of his boyhood hero Eddie Kidd OBE. (Image credit: BBC)

Paddy “We’re using the word stunt very loosely. I put a couple of Yellow Pages under a ramp, and off I went! Seriously though, when I was young, everyone knew Eddie, but there'll be a generation watching this who won’t have a clue who he is, and who will YouTube and Google him. It’s just nice to show him off, and show what he actually achieved.” 

In episode one, you race F1 drivers Lando Norris, Sebastian Vettel and Antonio Giovinazzi at Silverstone. How excited were you? 

Freddie "To drive at Silverstone two days before the British Grand Prix was amazing. And they were great lads as well."

Chris "That was a real coup for Top Gear, because getting access to a Grand Prix weekend is really difficult. 

Paddy "I’d definitely put on a few lockdown kilos. I looked at myself in that jumpsuit, and I thought: ‘Bloody hell, they’ve had to pour me into that!'"

You also do a spot of caravanning in this series. Are you fans?

Paddy "When I was a kid I never went abroad, so my happy memories of childhood holidays have all been in a caravan – and I embrace that."

Freddie "It’s not for me. It’s just people hanging around with a cup of tea, pretending they’re having fun. I don’t get it."

Top Gear returns to BBC1 on Sunday 14 Nov — see our TV Guide for full listings — and will be available on BBC iPlayer. In the US it will debut on BBC America on Nov. 23 at 10pm EST.

Ian MacEwan
Senior Writer

Ian writes about TV and film for TV Times, What’s on TV and TV & Satellite Week magazines. He co-hosts the weekly TV streaming podcast, Bingewatch.