Top Gear viewers were left ‘in pieces’ due to last night’s emotional tribute to daredevil stunt rider Eddie Kidd.
Host Paddy McGuinness, 48, paid tribute to his childhood hero in an emotional segment that included a high-octane car stunt show, fireworks and a drive-by tribute from dozens of bikers.
Kidd, 62, was an industry pioneer with good looks from movie stars who worked on three James Bond films and stunt doubles for Harrison Ford before his career was ended in a horrific accident in 1996, which left him paralyzed and unable to speak due to the life-altering brain injury.
The heartfelt tribute, which ended with McGuinness wiping away tears, struck a chord with viewers at home, who hailed it as one of “the best” short films ever produced by Top Gear.
Host Paddy McGuinness paid tribute to his childhood hero Eddie Kidd (pictured together) in an emotional segment featuring a high-octane car stunt show and fireworks
The high octane, pictured, featuring some of Britain’s greatest stunt drivers, was the crowning moment in the emotional TV tribute. McGuinness was left in tears
Pictured in 1981, Kidd worked on three James Bond films and doubled stunt for Harrison Ford before his career was ended by a horrific accident in 1996, which left him paralyzed and unable to speak due to life-altering brain injury.
One tweeted: ‘This was great on #TopGear last night, no dry eyes in our house, well done @PaddyMcGuinness.’
Another posted: ‘Super from #TopGear last night – a beautiful tribute to the legend that is #EddieKidd.’
A third added: “Perhaps one of the best things we’ve ever seen on Top Gear. Onion chopping well. #imnotcrying #topgear #eddiekidd.’
Kidd, who started stunt riding at age 14, became a household name — at one point he even landed a Levi’s campaign — thanks to his deadly stunts, including a motorcycle jump over 14 double-decker buses at age 19.
The heartfelt tribute, which ended with McGuinness wiping 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 amazed onlookers in December 1979 when he jumped 80 feet over the gap in an abandoned railway bridge in Essex on a 400cc Yamaha.
In 1993 he defeated Robbie Knievel, son of the legendary Evel, at the World Jumping Championships in the United States and made more than 12,000 jumps without ever breaking a leg.
But Kidd’s career came to an abrupt end in 1996 when a relatively easy jump ended in an awkward landing that resulted in him being knocked unconscious on a gas tank and falling 20 feet into a ravine.
He broke his pelvis, collarbone and six vertebrae in his back. He also suffered life-altering brain injuries. Eddie has since been unable to talk or walk unaided and requires full-time care.
During the program, McGuinness collected Kidd and his caregiver from home and took them on a drive through the countryside in a soft-top convertible, pictured
A procession of motorcyclists honked, 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 during the drive-by tribute
A procession of motorcycles flows past the car to pay tribute to the great rider, with Kidd greeting them as they pass
“He was an idol of mine from childhood and spending time with Eddie and his family, and seeing his face, the surprise and everything we set up for him, and the scale we did it on was real special,” McGuinness said, before the show.
“So I really hope we did it justice and I think he’ll 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 riders came out.
“He saw them again and he hadn’t seen them in years, so it was a lovely atmosphere.
“The raw emotion that came out at the end, I think we were all in tears after that, so it’s going to be fun for a generation of people who probably don’t know who he is, much younger people. I’m glad they’ll see what he’s accomplished.’
During the program, Paddy picked up Kidd and his caregiver from home and took them on a drive through the countryside in a soft-top convertible.
McGuinness then drove Kidd to an empty lot where his friends and family were waiting. Pictured, Kidd watching the extraordinary showing from last night’s episode
McGuinness kicked off the night’s performance by riding a motorcycle through a flaming hoop, a stunt that took ‘a month’ to perfect, pictured
It was followed by a breathtaking display by stunt car drivers and motorcyclists, who showed off their skills and paid tribute to Kidd, pictured
A procession of motorcyclists honked, saluted and cheered as they streamed past Kidd and McGuinness on the empty A-road, where Kidd raised his arm.
McGuinness then drove Kidd to an empty lot where his friends and family were waiting. The presenter kicked off the evening’s performance by riding a motorcycle through a flaming hoop, a stunt that took “a month” to perfect.
It was followed by a breathtaking display by stunt car drivers and motorcyclists, who showed their skills and paid tribute to Kidd.
At the end of the show, the performers gathered to applaud Kidd, one of their heroes
Former stuntman Kidd, pictured, felt emotional after the daring tribute
McGuinness, pictured, was also emotional, wiping tears at the end of the programme
Fellow presenter Flintoff said today’s stuntmen and women often cite Kidd as the “benchmark.”
Reflecting on Kidd’s achievements, he added, “The first person to do all that is the one who is the bravest.
“He does something that you’re not sure is possible and he’s the one there and he paved the way for everyone else after that.”
In 1996, Kidd, pictured, was involved in the life-changing accident when his motorcycle spiraled out of control after a 45-foot jump at an event in Stratford-upon-Avon (Pictured 1987)
Top Gear airs Sunday at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.