Comedian discharged with injured shoulder and wounded pride after wrecking sports car in confrontation with tree and lamp-post
Rowan Atkinson, the comedian and petrol-head, has been discharged from hospital on Friday after walking away from a crash in one of the world’s fastest road cars – suffering no worse than an injured shoulder, some very expensive coach work and wounded pride.
He left Peterborough City hospital in a wheelchair by the back door, flanked by security guards who attempted to block waiting photographers, and was driven away in a private ambulance.
The accident happened when one of the stars of his large car collection the maroon McLaren F1 – which he bought in 1997 for a reported £650,000, as a reward for the success of his Mr Bean film – apparently spun off the wet road on Thursday night and hit a tree and a lamppost. He had been travelling on the A605 near Haddon, Cambridgeshire, at around 7.30pm, at the time.
His agents, PBJ & JBJ, said the actor would leave hospital sore but without serious injury, that nobody else was involved in the accident, and that he had no comment to make.
Only a few weeks ago, when he clocked up the fastest guest star lap on the BBC Top Gear programme, he staunchly defended the McLaren to a presenter Jeremy Clarkson. “You’ve got to live with it. I have lived with it for 14 years, I’ve done a lot of miles in it, I’ve done 37,000 miles – which for a McLaren is a lot,” said Atkinson.
He loaned the car to the programme on a previous occasion, when it was driven by another Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond without incident.
In 1999, Atkinson damaged the bonnet of the car – which is capable of 230mph, and accelerates from 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds – in a low-speed shunt.
The vehicle will probably be returned to the McLaren factory in Woking for repairs. A spokesman at the plant said: “We are waiting to hear more details on the incident, and wish him well for his recovery in the meantime.”
On screen and in real life, Atkinson has a serious car habit. As the hapless Mr Bean he folds his long angular frame with difficulty into a Mini, but drives altogether flashier cars as his other alter ego, the Bond-lite spy Johnny English. He drove an Aston Martin in the first film, and alternates between a racing wheelchair, and a Rolls-Royce with – as he boasted on Top Gear – a 9 litre V16 engine in the new film, due for release next month.
Atkinson also races cars from his extensive collection, including his 1964 Ford Falcon. He is also believed to own a 1980s Aston Martin V8 Zagato, an Audi A8 and, more thriftily, a Honda Civic Hybrid.