The coats – which feature the Jamie brand logos – have been featured six times since Series 28 and are often on screen for more than ten minutes at a time
Image: jamie.redknapp / Instagram)
Top Gear is at the center of a BBC row with Freddie Flintoff promoting his best friend Jamie Redknapp’s clothing line on the show.
Flintoff has been wearing a variety of Sandbanks jackets from Redknapp in the automotive series since January 2020.
The jackets, which feature the brand’s signature logos, have been featured six times and are often on screen for more than 10 minutes at a time.
Flintoff is also seen wearing a Sandbanks coat in an official BBC photo he sits in a yellow Porsche, as well as in a behind-the-scenes shoot with co-stars Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris.
The images were used on the company’s social media feeds to advertise the brand despite BBC rules prohibiting third parties from cashing in the company’s name.
On a snap with Flintoff, Redknapp posts a love heart emoji, adding, “The big man.”
The photos were taken down after the Mirror alerted the BBC. This raises questions for the company, which is bound by strict rules on conflicts of interest.
BBC Studios / Alexander Rhind)
Sports stars have often spoken of their close friendship and share the same management company M&C Saatchi.
They were team captains on Sky One’s A League of their Own and its spinoff shows Road Trip, during which former Liverpool footballer Redknapp traveled across the UK with the former England cricket legend.
Speaking of the program, Redknapp said, “We love it, we’re all best friends and that’s why A League of Their Own works.”
The couple also worked together on the ITV DNA Journey show, where the duo discovered their ancestral roots.
A BBC source said M&C Saatchi had no business interests in Sandbanks and had not negotiated Redknapp’s Sandbanks deal, nor Flintoff had business interests with the brand.
Beeb’s rules state that “On-air talent, regardless of gender, engaged by the BBC shall not accept clothing or goods for free, or at significantly reduced cost, in exchange for their wearing or on-air use ”.
A source said they were told that although Flintoff’s coat was a gift from Redknapp, it was “categorically not accepted in return for wearing or promoting it on Top Gear.”
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The BBC prohibits products from being given “undue prominence”, but Top Gear said this was not the case.
A spokesperson said: “Flintoff has sported a plethora of coats over the course of his 27 filmed episodes, but wearing a modest, designer jacket in six episodes on two separate series is not an issue of editorial guidelines. “
They added that Sandbanks had been asked to remove the Top Gear photos, saying, “The brand used one of the Top Gear promotional photos taken during production without our permission. We have requested that this be removed from their Instagram.
“With the exception of recording and studio shooting requiring specialist clothing, the three Top Gear presenters provide their own wardrobes and are well versed in the BBC’s guidelines on business conflicts of interest.
Redknapp launched the fashion label in October 2019, shortly before the clothes started hitting the air. Some of the coats sell for up to £ 1,250.
Other Sky Sports analysts Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher were also seen wearing the jackets.
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