Top Gear viewers 'in bits' over tribute to stuntman Eddie Kidd

Top Gear viewers are left ‘in bits’ over emotional, high-octane tribute to stuntman Eddie Kidd who was left paralysed and unable to speak when a motorcycle jump went wrong

  • Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness paid tribute to daredevil hero Eddie Kidd
  • Comedian organised a procession of motorbikes and a high-octane stunt show
  • In 1996, Kidd, now 62, was left paralysed when a motorcycle jump went wrong
  • He was left with serious brain damage following a three-month coma  

Top Gear viewers were left ‘in bits’ over last night’s emotional tribute to daredevil stunt rider Eddie Kidd. 

Presenter Paddy McGuinness, 48, paid tribute to his childhood hero in an emotional segment involving a high-octane vehicle stunt show, pyrotechnics and a drive-by tribute by dozens of motorcyclists. 

Kidd, 62, was an industry pioneer with movie star good looks who worked on three James Bond films and stunt doubled for Harrison Ford before his career was brought to an end in a horrific 1996 accident that left him paralaysed and unable to speak due to life-changing brain injuries. 

The heartfelt tribute, which ended with McGuinness wiping away his tears, struck a chord with viewers at home, who hailed it as one of ‘the best’ short films ever produced by Top Gear. 

Presenter Paddy McGuinness paid tribute to his childhood hero Eddie Kidd (pictured together) in an emotional segment involving a high-octane vehicle stunt show and pyrotechnics

The high-octane display, pictured, featuring some of the UK’s biggest stunt drivers was the crowning moment in the emotional TV tribute. McGuinness was left in tears 

Kidd, pictured in 1981, worked on three James Bond films and stunt doubled for Harrison Ford before his career was brought to an end in a horrific 1996 accident that left him paralaysed and unable to speak due to life-changing brain injuries 

One tweeted: ‘This was awesome on #TopGear last night, not a dry eye in our house, well done @PaddyMcGuinness.’

Another posted: ‘Superb from #TopGear last night – a magnificent tribute to the legend that is #EddieKidd.’

A third added: ‘Possibly one of the best things we’ve ever seen on Top Gear. Onion choppingly good. #imnotcrying #topgear #eddiekidd.’ 

Kidd, who started stunt driving at just 14, became a household name – at one point even landing a Levi’s campaign – thanks to his death-defying stunts, including a motorcycle jump over 14 double-decker buses at the age of 19. 

The heartfelt tribute, which ended with McGuinness wiping away his tears, struck a chord with viewers at home, who hailed it as one of ‘the best’ short films ever produced by Top Gear 

He first stunned spectators in December 1979, when he jumped 80ft across the gap in a derelict railway bridge in Essex on a 400cc Yamaha. 

In 1993, he beat Robbie Knievel, son of legendary Evel, at the World Jumping Championships in the States and made more than 12,000 jumps without ever breaking a bone.

But in 1996 Kidd’s career came to an abrupt end when a relatively straightforward jump ended in an awkward landing that led to him being knocked unconscious on a petrol tank and falling 20ft down a ravine.  

He broke his pelvis, collarbone and six vertebrae in his back. He also sustained life-changing brain injuries. Eddie has since been unable to talk or walk unaided and requires full-time care. 

The programme saw McGuinness collect Kidd and his carer from home, and take them on a ride through the countryside in a soft top convertible, pictured 

A procession of motorcyclists tooted their horns, saluted and cheered as they streamed past Kidd and McGuinness on the empty A-road, with Kidd raising his arm in response 

McGuinness kept a close eye on Kidd as they both beamed throughout the drive-by tribute 

A procession of motorbikes stream by the car to pay tribute to the great rider, with Kidd saluting them as they pass

‘He was an idol of mine from my childhood and to spend time with Eddie and his family, and to see his face, the surprise and everything we had lined up for him, and the scale we did it on was really special,’ McGuinness said, ahead of the show. 

‘So I really hope we’ve done him justice and I think he’s going to love it when it’s on. It was a very emotional time doing that with Eddie, especially at the end when all the different stunt drivers came out.

‘He saw them again and he hadn’t seen them for years, so it was a lovely atmosphere.

‘The raw emotion that came out at the end, I think we were all in bloody tears after that so it will be nice for a generation of people who probably don’t know who he is, a lot of younger people. I’m glad they’ll see what he achieved.’

The programme saw Paddy collect Kidd and his carer from home, and take them on a ride through the countryside in a soft top convertible. 

Next, McGuinness drove Kidd to an empty plot where his friends and family were waiting. Pictured, Kidd watching the extraordinary display on last night’s episode

McGuinness kicked off the evening’s performance by driving a motorcycle through a flaming hoop, a stunt that took ‘a month’ to perfect, pictured 

It was followed by a jaw-dropping display by stunt car drivers and motorcyclists, who showed off their skills and paid tribute to Kidd, pictured  

A procession of motorcyclists tooted their horns, saluted and cheered as they streamed past Kidd and McGuinness on the empty A-road, with Kidd raising his arm in response. 

Next, McGuinness drove Kidd to an empty plot where his friends and family were waiting. The presenter kicked off the evening’s performance by driving a motorcycle through a flaming hoop, a stunt that took ‘a month’ to perfect. 

He was followed by a jaw-dropping display by stunt car drivers and motorcyclists, who showed off their skills and paid tribute to Kidd.

At the end of the show, the performers came together to applaud Kidd, one of their heroes

Former stuntman Kidd, pictured, was left feeling emotional following the daredevil tribute 

McGuinness, pictured, was also emotional, and wiped away tears at the end of the programme

Fellow presenter Flintoff said the stuntmen and women of today often cite Kidd as the ‘benchmark’.

Reflecting on Kidd’s achievements, he added: ‘The first person to do all that is the one who’s the bravest.

‘He’s doing something you’re not sure can possibly be done and he’s the one out there and he’s paved the way for everyone else afterwards.’ 

In 1996 Kidd, pictured, was involved in the accident that would change his life as his motorbike steered out of control following a 45ft leap at an event in Stratford-upon-Avon (Pictured 1987)

Top Gear airs on Sunday at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. 

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