Sunday, June 21, 2009

Top Gear's Stig 'to be unveiled'

The Stig
The Stig's identity would be "a staggering surprise", Clarkson said

The Stig, the mystery driver who tests high-performance cars on Top Gear, will take his helmet off for the first time later, the BBC has confirmed.

Presenter Jeremy Clarkson, writing in his column in the Sun, revealed the unmasking, saying Stig's identity would be a "staggering surprise" to viewers.

He said the Stig would barge into the studio in Sunday night's pre-recorded BBC Two show before showing his face.

The driver has previously been named by papers as ex-stunt driver Ben Collins.

The BBC has previously refused to confirm or deny whether Collins, who has worked on films including James Bond movie Quantum Of Solace, is the Stig.

Clarkson, 49, said that, while filming the scenes, "hardened, emotionless camera crews said the hair on the back of their neck prickled".

"As a television moment, it's up there with Neil Armstrong walking on the... corpse of JR Ewing," he added.

A BBC spokesman would only say: "As Jeremy said, in tonight's Top Gear Stig will remove his helmet for the first time."

It is not clear if the apparent unveiling is part of a publicity stunt which could mean that Stig's identity remains a mystery.

Perry McCarthy, a former Formula 1 driver, was the original Stig, wearing black overalls for his appearances.

He was replaced with a new Stig, dressed in white, after he had revealed his identity in his 2002 autobiography.




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