Before we launch into the predictable “this could have taken place in the show” type line, we should point out that Rowan Atkinson is in stable condition.
The British actor, perhaps best known in the U.S. for his portrayal of the hapless (and silent) Mr Bean, is believed to have suffered a shoulder injury after he crashed his McLaren F1 super car, which subsequently caught fire.
(PHOTOS: A Brief History of F1)
But if you’d rather take the sensational line (which, of course, may be true) then the Daily Mail tells us how he “cheated death last night after careering off the road in his 240mph supercar. The £650,000 ($1,000,000) McLaren F1 spun several times, smashing into a tree and plowing into a road sign before catching fire on the opposite side of the carriageway.”
The BBC is reporting in a slightly calmer fashion that he walked away from the car and waited for an ambulance (he was admitted to hospital but is likely to be discharged later today).
The 56-year-old Atkinson is known to be a car enthusiast, and, rather ironically, recently topped the leaderboard of the BBC’s Top Gear program — in its Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment.
But does his penchant for fast times mean that he may have been at fault yesterday? A neighbor, who didn’t want to be named, told the Daily Mail that, “the way he drives I’ve nearly collided with him a few times. When he’s in that car he’s an absolute idiot.”
Neither is it the first time Atkinson has been in an incident with his beloved McLaren. In 1999, he was involved in a collision with a Rover Metro in the north of England. As it happens, TIME.com wrote about McLaren’s new supercar, the $229,000, two-seater MP4-12C, this week and pointed out that only 106 of its F1 version were ever built. It may be a small crumb of comfort to Atkinson that at least the closest thing he’ll get to a ready-made replacement is now available.