“Top Gear”‘s Stig Unmasked

Some say his mystique is half the fun of British motoring/propane-fest show “Top Gear.”  And that if we ever found out his true identity, the pillars that hold the world aloft would crumble and the elder gods would walk the Earth again.

And then there's this asshole.

In what is being called “a victory for freedom of speech” by publishing house HarperCollins, British F3 racer and dude who totally drove a car in Quantum of Solace Ben Collins has won his battle with BBC execs attempting to block publication of his forthcoming book.  Why?  Because in it, he reveals that he is, seriously for reals this time, The Stig.

In 2003, Collins donned a white suit to replace black-suited Stig Perry McCarthy, who was outed in a newspaper and confirmed the rumors after leaving the show.  Since then, Stig Mk. II has become the mysterious character’s accepted image, showing up on everything from T-shirts to lunchboxes to a poster on my mother’s wall saying she is The Stig.  While speculation has abounded, leading to a rather obviously false reveal courtesy of F1 legend Michael Schumacher, the fan consensus has been that we don’t really want to know who (or what) he is.

The Beeb seems to agree, too.  In a report from Yahoo! News, show producer Andy Whitman was quoted as saying:

The whole point of The Stig is the mystique — the bizarre characteristics he has, the wonderment created about what he might think, feel, do or look like.[…]  Kids adore the conceit, and I believe adults, although they know it’s a man in a suit (or is it?) gladly buy into the whole conceit because they find it entertaining.

It’s interesting (and not at all surprising) to note that the official “Top Gear” website does not carry any information concerning the reveal at the time of this writing.  Hell, even the hearing was held in private.

So why the sudden attention whoring?  Says HarperCollins, “[Collins] has a great story to tell about his seven years as The Stig, which will appeal to a wide audience beyond just motoring enthusiasts.”

… riiiight. No, I’m thinking money and attention.

I haven’t got any official record of this (requesting source), but I’m imagining it’s written into The Stig’s contract that he can’t reveal his identity.  So how the hell many monies did this book deal involve, and how the hell much better does Collins think he’ll be liked now that he’s wrecked the show’s fun?  I’ve yet to hear anyone outside pro publications and/or major bloggers say this was anything like a good idea.

Apparently this ruling won’t stop the Beeb from taking things further, though as the info has already hit the Interblag, pretty much the only things they could try to charge him with are 1. breach of contract and 2. being a douche.

Worst of all?  According to a show spokeswoman, apparently there’s even doubt about whether the character will come back, period, as opposed to being replaced as McCarthy was.

Gratz, Mr. Collins.  You may have killed The Stig.  (You’re also fired.)

If for some reason you want to congratulate him with money, his book comes out on September 16.

Posted on September 2, 2010 at 11:04 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: News, Television: British and Canadian · Tagged with: , , ,

3 Responses

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kara Dennison and Jefferson Institute, Geeking Out About. Geeking Out About said: “Top Gear”’s Stig Unmasked http://dlvr.it/4c6cG […]

  2. Written by Neo-Vader III
    on 2010-09-02 at 11:26

    No STIG!? How will they post lap times then? You can’t begin to argue with me that anyone on the show will be able to consistently lap the track as well as the STIG could.

    And what the F*** is he doing in F3 if he can drive like THAT!!!!????

  3. Written by lethalinterjection
    on 2010-09-03 at 16:54

    Fire his ass, and replace him. Please.

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