James May was hospitalised with a head injury following an accident in the Syrian Desert during the filming of Top Gear's forthcoming Christmas special.

The 47-year-old presenter was attempting to help free Jeremy Clarkson's car from a ditch when he hit his head on a rock after being struck by the tow rope.

He was then rushed to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with severe concussion following a brain scan. He was placed on a drip before being given stitches to close the head wound.

He told the Sun: "I stood in the line of where the tow rope went taut. I told the driver to move off and became part of a giant catapult. They gave me a brain scan but to be honest I think the Syrians were just excited to be able to use their new scanner."

May has played down the consequence of the accident, but the incident inevitably brings to mind the accident in 2006 which left fellow Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond in a life-threatening coma following an infamous 300mph smash.

Jeremy Clarkson also told the British newspaper that following the accident in the desert he worried that it was another such situation: "There was a lot of blood. It was all very worrying. We were a hundred miles from a building of any sort."

Viewers will be able to see the accident during the Top Gear Christmas special on BBC2 on Boxing Day as the Top Gear team try to recreate the epic journey of the three wise men to Bethlehem.