Comedian Rowan Atkinson was involved in an accident yesterday evening whilst driving his McLaren F1 supercar, colliding with a road traffic sign on the A605 at Haddon, near Peterborough.

UPDATE (16:00 hrs Friday 5th): Atkinson has now been discharged from hospital, leaving via a back door of Peterborough City Hospital flanked by four security guards. The actor declined to comment, but it is reported that security guards tussled with a waiting cameraman as he left in a Harley Street private ambulance. Atkinson was in a wheelchair, but we understand that was just a standard precaution – Atkinson is believed to have suffered a shoulder injury and light bruising after the crash yesterday evening.

The tabloid newspapers have as usual been besides themselves competing for the most sensational headline, singling out the McLaren’s 240+ mph top speed and claiming that “.. the car burst into flames”. The other popular headline is that the TV actor “cheated death in a high-speed accident” or my favourite, “Rowan Atkinson escapes fiery crash”.

TV star Rowan Atkinson's crashed McLaren F1

In reality it’s nothing quite so dramatic and I’m sure Rowan is more concerned about damage to his car than himself. I live not far from the A605 and it’s a fast open road, with dual-carriageways in several places – not the sort of road where a driver of Rowan’s calibre ‘loses control’ without some other mitigating factor. The roads were wet earlier in the day, but by yesterday evening conditions were dry and visibility was good.

On arrival, police and paramedics found that the car had left the road, but was otherwise intact – if it had ‘caught fire’ as some have reported, then it must have been a small one.

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Picture: via Northampton Chronicle.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service was quoted in the local CambsTimes newspaper as saying: “One crew from Stanground, one crew from Dogsthorpe and a rescue vehicle from Dogsthorpe were called to a report of a car fire on the A605 near the Haddon services.

This was a fire caused by a single vehicle road traffic collision. The driver of the vehicle was out of the car before the arrival of firefighters and crews extinguished the fire using just one hose reel.”

Atkinson was taken to the newly opened Peterborough City Hospital where he was described as suffering from shoulder injuries.


The Blackadder and Mr. Bean star appeared on Top Gear a few weeks ago, setting the fastest time around the TG track for a ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’. Atkinson has owned the F1 for 14 years and spoke fondly of his pride and joy when interviewed by Jeremy Clarkson on the show.

Unlike most owners, Atkinson uses his F1 regularly, having clocked up over 37,000 miles and is both familiar with the car and the roads he was driving on.

We wish Rowan a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him in his new film, Johnny English 2 Reborn, which will be released later in the year.