Im on top gear with the stig năm 2024

The idea for the character was part of former host Jeremy Clarkson's and producer Andy Wilman's concept for the relaunched Top Gear show, bringing a new format to the original version of Top Gear which ceased production in 2001. The relaunched show introduced a live studio audience, the Stig, a racetrack, and madcap stunts. Clarkson is credited with having come up with the original idea for the Stig.

Clarkson and Wilman wanted to have a professional racing driver as part of the show's cast, but ran into difficulty finding a driver sufficiently adept at speaking on-camera. Clarkson then asked Wilman why the driver needed to speak at all, and they decided that the Stig's role would be silent.[citation needed]

The name Stig derives from Wilman and Clarkson's time at Repton School, where new boys had always been called "Stig". "Stig" is a prejorative referring to someone from a poor background with a poor dress sense (originating from the eponymous character in the children's book Stig of the Dump).

According to the original Stig, Perry McCarthy, speaking in 2006, the producers had first wanted the anonymous driver to be called "The Gimp", referring to the use of gimp suits in BDSM sexual role-playing. After McCarthy objected, they settled upon the name Stig. McCarthy had said of the idea at the time that "I don't want to be forever remembered as the Gimp".


Anonymity and silence

When introducing the Stig in the Top Gear premiere, Clarkson said, "We don't know its name, we really don't know its name, nobody knows its name, and we don't wanna know, 'cause it's a racing driver."

According to a 2006 article in The Sunday Times, most of the Top Gear crew did not know the Stig's identity; one camera assistant reportedly observed the Stig eating his lunch in the back of an ambulance to avoid being spotted. In 2009, another Times article reiterated that only a few production staff, the show's presenters and other BBC journalists knew the Stig's true identity.

Former Stig Perry McCarthy described in 2009 how, to maintain his anonymity, he would put on the Stig's helmet while going through the Top Gear security gates, and then change into his racing overalls in a special room behind the gatehouse before driving into the studio areas. He would speak as little as possible in the backstage areas, and put on an accent which some mistook as French. McCarthy also explained that hiding his identity while coaching the celebrities for Star in a Reasonably Priced Car proved difficult. He said that he did reveal his true identity while coaching Ross Kemp and David Soul, as he had previously known them and they promised that they would be silent about his role. For other drives, if celebrities asked if he was a particular person, he would just say "How did you know?", adding that more often than not, the suggestion was Michael Schumacher.

The Stig is never shown talking on screen, although he does talk with celebrities off-camera while training them to drive around the track. Clarkson has joked that he is "not a very talkative chap". When asked about his identity in a rare spoken interview for the show Veronica Vibes of a Dutch channel, the Stig reportedly said, "I don't remember; my memory was erased when I got the job." The Stig's muteness has extended to appearances in other media, such as the "Brain Stig" video released by the BBC on YouTube in 2009.

Clarkson has written in his newspaper column that the Stig is not permitted to talk or comment on the cars he is given to drive because "the opinions of all racing drivers are completely worthless," going on to explain that, because of their familiarity with cars equipped for track racing, racing drivers believe any and all road cars are on low-scale compared to racing cars.

Driving ability

The show has often compared the Stig's driving ability to others, particularly Formula One drivers. When Jeremy Clarkson said that the Stig believed that the Suzuki Liana, the show's Reasonably Priced Car at the time, could do a lap time of 1:44, former F1 driver Nigel Mansell, appearing as a guest on the programme, duly obliged by posting a time of 1:44.6; the Stig then posted a time of 1:44.4. After Rubens Barrichello became the first person to beat the Stig's time (coming in at 1:44.3), the show repeatedly referred to a jealous rivalry between the Stig and Barrichello. Sebastian Vettel then further beat this time by posting a time of 1:44 flat (Season 17: Ep 3). Clarkson has often mentioned that F1 drivers seem to take a different racing line on the test track than the Stig, such as on Jenson Button's drive; however, during Barrichello's and Lewis Hamilton's visits to the show, Clarkson observed that they took the same line around the track as The Stig. F1 driver Mark Webber's appearance on the show was marked at the conclusion of his lap with Clarkson presenting him with an "I AM THE STIG" T-shirt.


The Stig's introductions on the show have underlined his oddness. Initially the presenters heralded his appearance with simple humorous introductions, such as "His Holiness, the Stig!" Beginning in series 6, the introductions began to follow a format of, "Some say that [two bizarre characteristics]. All we know is, he's called the Stig." Characteristics described in this format include:

  • He has no face
  • He is terrified of Scouts
  • The drinks cabinet in his car contains 14 different types of custard
  • His favourite T-shirt has a picture of a T-shirt
  • He is afraid of bells
  • He is confused by stairs
  • He never blinks
  • He naturally faces magnetic north
  • He has a digital face
  • He will charge you if you attempt to remove his helmet

Some introductions have referred to current events, such as:

  • "If you insult his mother, he will headbutt you in the chest" (a reference to in the 2006 World Cup finals)
  • "If you give him a really important job, he'll skive off and play croquet" (a reference to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in 2006)
  • "[...] and that long before anyone else he realised that Jade Goody was, a racist pig-faced waste of blood and organs" (a reference to the Celebrity Big Brother 5 racism controversy)
  • "Has dreams about what Rubens Barrichello would look like in a ham slicer" (a reference to Barrichello being faster than the Stig around the test track the week before)
  • "If he was getting divorced from Paul McCartney, he would have kept his stupid whining mouth shut" (a reference to McCartney's divorce from Heather Mills in 2008)
  • "He always wears a helmet because a man once smashed him in the face with a model of Salisbury Cathedral" (a reference to the with an alabaster statuette of Milan Cathedral in December 2009)
  • "He's banned from the town of Chichester and..., in a recent late-night deal, he bought a slightly dented white Fiat Uno from the Duke of Edinburgh" (a reference to conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Princess Diana)
  • "If you hold him in the wrong way, he doesn't work properly" (a reference to the iPhone 4's death grip)
  • "He regrets buying his new holiday home in down-town Cairo" (a reference to the Arab Spring in early 2011)
  • "He contains 47% horse" (a reference to the 2013 horse meat scandal)
  • "He used to work in Rome, but gave up his job to be able to keep up with his work here" (after the Pope's retirement in early 2013)
  • "As a result of buying Pirelli condoms this week, he now has seventeen children" (reference to multiple cars suffering blown Pirelli tyres at the 2013 British Grand Prix)
  • "On a recent trip to Cornwall, he stopped off for one of his special, big wees in Somerset" (a reference to the 2013 Somerset flooding)
  • "If he had worked for CNN, he wouldn't have got such pitifully low ratings that his show got cancelled" (a reference to the cancellation of Piers Morgan Live)
  • "While we were off air, his iCloud was hacked and now everyone in the world has seen his helmet" (a reference to the 2014 celebrity photo hack)
  • "Last week, he was found in a locked room, tied to a chair with German piano wire" (the week after Michael Schumacher was "revealed" as The Stig)
  • "He once punched a horse to the ground" (a reference to the story of Roberto Durán having done so)

Other characteristics

In the Stig's debut, he was described by Clarkson as having a very small brain, worthless opinions, and a disorder called "Mansell Syndrome". Richard Porter, Top Gear's script editor, described the Stig as "single minded, stubborn and hilariously petulant; specifically, a mix of , the keyboard player from Pet Shop Boys, and a 15-year-old boy forced to go on holiday with his parents." He has been depicted as a piece of cargo, being collected by Clarkson from the baggage conveyor at the airport; he has also been shown stored in a cupboard when not in use.

It has been said that the Stig "has no understanding of money" and during challenges he has been shown using an Oyster card to access London public transportation, and a credit card in the name of "The Stig" issued by the "Bank of Money" to obtain petrol. The show has also featured the Stig's listening habits, as heard on the car stereo as he drives laps. Often a specific genre is chosen for one or more series. The Stig has been shown listening to:

  • Power ballads
  • One-hit wonders
  • Easy listening
  • Country and western
  • Morse code
  • Progressive rock
  • Whale sounds
  • Baroque music
  • Advertising jingles
  • Foreign language learning tapes
  • Romantic audio novels
  • Salesman techniques
  • ABBA (in French and Spanish)
  • Elton John
  • Bee Gees (including, in one episode, the Bee Gees in German)
  • The Bangles (in German)
  • Speeches of Margaret Thatcher
  • Self-help tapes
  • Pipe band music
  • Chas & Dave
  • Vuvuzelas
  • National anthems
  • The Archers
  • Tuvan throat singing
  • The Carpenters

In 2009, the Stig appeared at the National Television Awards, where he silently accepted an award and handed host Griff Rhys Jones a letter from the Top Gear hosts, which instructed Jones to give the Stig the award in his left hand, as his right one is magnetic, and cautioning organisers that he wasn't to be seated near the cast of Coronation Street, as "he's decided all northerners are edible".


In the Top Gear end credits, the Stig is credited alongside Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May as a presenter. The Stig's primary role on the show is at the Top Gear test track at the show's base at Dunsfold Aerodrome, Surrey. His two main functions are to post lap times for featured performance cars in the "Power Laps" segment, and to train celebrity guests to set lap times in the "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment.

The Top Gear website describes the Stig's test-driving role as follows:

When first introduced, the Stig was described as the resident test driver, as the presenters could not consistently post fast times themselves. His stated mission was to "just go out there and drive fast". The original Stig, Perry McCarthy, described in 2006 how a racing driver was intended to be used as part of the presenting team in order to produce definitive fastest lap times for tested cars.


  • Perry McCarthy – (2002–2003)
  • Ben Collins – (2003–2010)
  • Unknown – (2010–present)

Black Stig[edit]

The Stig (Black)

Im on top gear with the stig năm 2024
Top Gear characterPortrayed byPerry McCarthy, occasionally othersDuration2002–2003First appearance20 October 2002 (Series 1; Episode 1)Last appearance26 October 2003 (Series 3; Episode 1)

Racing driver Perry McCarthy appeared in 22 Top Gear episodes as the black-suited, original Stig.

McCarthy was cast as the Stig following a chance meeting with Jeremy Clarkson at the 2002 launch party for McCarthy's autobiography, Flat Out, Flat Broke: Formula 1 the Hard Way!. This led to an audition as a regular presenter, before the production team decided the racing driver would be anonymous. (Contradicting this, McCarthy said in 2008 that Clarkson had mentioned the idea of a "top secret" racing driver at their first meeting.)

After the first series ended, an article in The Sunday Mirror on 12 January 2003 named McCarthy as the Stig. The newspaper quoted a show insider as saying, "Just a handful of the crew know that he is actually Perry." McCarthy responded at the time, "I do know who the Stig is but I cannot comment any further." After the second series ended, McCarthy published the second edition of his autobiography, in which he confirmed that he was the Stig.[citation needed] McCarthy was then "killed off" in the first episode of the third series.

The scene which saw Black Stig "killed off," nicknamed "Top Gun vs Top Gear," was an attempt to race to 100 mph (160 km/h) and then come to a halt on the 200 metres (660 ft) long flight deck of HMS Invincible, a Royal Navy aircraft carrier on which British Aerospace Sea Harrier jump jets reach 100 mph (160 km/h) before take-off. He would be using the "old Top Gear Jag," a white Jaguar XJS bought for a "couple of hundred quid," stripped of its fittings and fitted with nitrous injection to take it to 500 bhp (370 kW). The Stig accelerated along the deck, and an on-screen speedometer indicated 109 mph (175 km/h) before a cutaway shot saw the car flying off the end of the runway ramp and into the sea. Clarkson then revealed in the last scene of the episode that a glove floating on the sea was all that divers had found. According to McCarthy, "We tried to make it as much like a scene out of James Bond as possible."

The explanations for McCarthy's exit vary. While McCarthy described the parting as amiable in 2008, The Times claimed in 2009 that he had fallen out with producers. In 2010, McCarthy said he had become tired of the job, which he claimed paid £700 a week, and that part of his annoyance stemmed from an attempt by a car owner to sue him for ruining his car and the BBC's refusal to defend him due to his anonymity. He said the BBC chose not to renew his contract and had him written out of the show.

Although McCarthy said in 2006 that, following his exit from Top Gear, he harboured ambitions of re-entering racing in the Grand Prix Masters series, he went on to run an investment company and appear as an after-dinner speaker.

According to the Sunday Times, writing in 2009, McCarthy revealed in his book that there had always been more than one Stig, and that then 47-year-old Julian Bailey, a former Formula One driver, had acted as a stand-in for McCarthy. In a June 2009 interview with the Daily Mail, Bailey, who was selling his home in Effingham, Surrey, said "I was one of the Stigs ... which was pretty handy as filming was done just down the road. ... I have stopped now, but I am not supposed to talk about it."

First White Stig[edit]

The First White Stig

Im on top gear with the stig năm 2024

The First White Stig in 2006

Top Gear characterPortrayed byBen Collins, occasionally othersDuration2003–2010First appearance2 November 2003 (Series 3; Episode 2)Last appearance1 August 2010 (Series 15; Episode 6)

The first White Stig was introduced in November 2003, following the Black Stig's exit in the prior episode. His identity remained secret until it was revealed as Ben Collins in August 2010. During this Stig's time on the show, the character's role expanded from Power Lap times and "Reasonably Priced Car" training to include appearances in other show segments, such as producing timed runs in the Isle of Man road test; driving a Caterham Seven from Caterham to Knockhill; riding a London Bus, the DLR and the Tube across London; jumping a snowmobile off a ski-jump in Lillehammer, Norway; and playing a police pursuit driver in the White Van Man challenge.


After the White Stig's debut, there was widespread speculation over his identity. Various sources claimed him to be a number of different racing drivers, including Collins, Damon Hill, Julian Bailey, Russ Swift, Darren Turner and Tim Schrick, as well as former Top Gear presenter Tiff Needell. Several people, including Hill and musician Jay Kay, claimed to be the Stig themselves. It was also speculated that the Stig was played by multiple drivers, a theory hinted at by original Stig Perry McCarthy. After observing the Stig's charity drive around the Silverstone Circuit just before the July 2008 British Grand Prix, former Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso remarked, "Whoever's in that car is a seriously good driver. ... I've no idea who he is, but he's definitely ex-F1."

In January 2009, rumours about the Stig's identity were stoked, in part by a News of the World article alleging to have discovered the Stig to be a married man in his 30s, living in a £300,000 home and driving a £15,000 car, on an income of around £150,000 from his Top Gear job and some stunt and test driving. In the same month, an art gallery owner reported that the Stig had revealed his identity to the gallery owner and his son, after contracting with them (under the guise of a BBC executive) for a series of signed and limited prints of the Stig. In the latter instance, the Stig was alleged to be Ben Collins. It was also reported that a builder doing work at Collins' home had found the Stig's trademark suit and gloves on display there. Another story, in The Daily Mail, named eight different drivers that it claimed had played the white Stig at some point. A BBC spokesman said, "We never comment on speculation as to whom or what the Stig is."

As these rumours were ongoing, the Top Gear blog published three entries on 21 January revealing the Stig to be, respectively, Damon Hill's deceased father Graham Hill; Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Sir Tom McKillop; and newly inaugurated U.S. president Barack Obama. Two days later, Clarkson joked in his newspaper column in The Sun that the Stig was BBC royal reporter Nicholas Witchell: "And now you know, I'm afraid he will have to be dropped from a Hercules transport plane and killed. Worse, because the secret is out, the Telegraph will have to find another big secret to expose. Might I suggest they look into Doctor Who's TARDIS because I'm willing to bet it really isn't as big inside as the BBC claim."

When Richard Hammond crashed a jet-powered car, the accident report into the crash described Ben Collins as someone "who worked closely with Top Gear as a high performance driver and consultant."

Michael Schumacher[edit]

On 20 June 2009, Clarkson announced in his newspaper column that the Stig would show his face in Top Gear's series thirteen premiere, airing the next day. According to Clarkson, the Stig was "fed up with newspapers speculating that he's a photocopier salesman from Bolton, or lives in a pebble-dashed house in Bristol."

The episode showed the Stig driving a black Ferrari FXX around the test track for a record-setting time of 1:10.7, before walking into the studio and sitting down. As the audience shouted "Off! Off!" the Stig removed his helmet to reveal himself as seven-time world champion F1 driver Michael Schumacher. In the subsequent interview, Schumacher exhibited some of the Stig's supposedly defining character traits, such as knowing only two facts about ducks (both "facts" being wrong).

Following the revelation, the Stig alleged to be Schumacher was shown driving the Suzuki Liana but did not set a lap time; instead, video clips showed the Stig exhibiting very poor car control, striking a camera tripod, and eventually getting lost. Clarkson closed the segment by observing that possibly, Schumacher was not truly the Stig after all. While the BBC initially would not confirm whether Schumacher's revelation was a stunt, The Telegraph reported the next day that a Top Gear spokesman confirmed Schumacher had played the Stig, due to Ferrari only allowing Schumacher to drive the FXX, but that "the identity of the driver at other times would remain 'a mystery'."

The Man in the White Suit[edit]

On 19 August 2010, it was reported that a legal dispute was developing between the BBC and publishers representing the Stig, over plans by the Stig to release an autobiography revealing his identity. A BBC spokesman said, "The BBC is in a legal dispute over the publication of a book relating to Top Gear as this breaches agreed contractual and confidentiality obligations relating to the show." The Stig was reportedly unhappy that he had been unable to profit from his Top Gear role to the same degree as the other presenters.

Around the same time, the Sunday Times claimed that financial documents for Ben Collins' company, Collins Autosport, provided evidence that he was the Stig. The Times stated that beginning a month after the White Stig's first appearance, the company had experienced an increase in profits ascribed to "driving services provided for the BBC, mainly in the Top Gear programme." Collins did not comment on this story; the BBC said it was "no surprise" as Collins had appeared several times on the show as well as provided other services.

On 23 August 2010, the BBC and the Stig's publisher, HarperCollins, appeared in court. HarperCollins confirmed that it was being sued by the BBC over the autobiography's publication, stating, "We are disappointed that the BBC has chosen to spend licence fee payers' money to suppress this book and will vigorously defend the perfectly legitimate right of this individual to tell his story." The BBC said, "This situation has come about as a result of an attempt by an external party to profit from unauthorised use of the Top Gear brand, one of the BBC's biggest and most watched shows in the UK and around the world. As a result, it is important that the BBC does all it can to uphold confidentiality clauses that have been agreed to in relation to the show."

In a 27 August 2010 entry on the Top Gear blog, executive producer Andy Wilman attacked HarperCollins for attempting to reveal the Stig's identity: "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. ... HarperCollins have decided none of that is as important as their profits." He also clarified that half of the BBC's legal costs were being funded by BBC Worldwide, their commercial arm.

On 29 August, the Daily Mirror claimed that photos of Collins at his England home on the same day that the Stig had appeared at a Top Gear event in Germany proved that Collins had already been fired from the Stig role. When asked about the ongoing High Court action, Collins stated, "I am not allowed to talk about it."

The legal hearings continued in private on 31 August. On 1 September 2010, the case was decided against the BBC, as the High Court refused to grant an injunction blocking the publication of the autobiography now acknowledged to be authored by Collins. Collins was in court for part of that day's hearing, but neither he nor the BBC confirmed afterward that he was the Stig; a BBC spokesman said, "The BBC brought this action as we believe it is vital to protect the character of The Stig, which ultimately belongs to the licence-fee payer. Today's judgment does not prevent the BBC from pursuing this matter to trial and it will not be deterred from protecting such information from attack no matter when or by whom it should arise." On 3 September 2010, the BBC News website published a profile of Collins that began: "Former Formula Three driver Ben Collins has won a legal fight to publish an autobiography in which he claims to be The Stig."

Collins' book, The Man in the White Suit, was published 16 September 2010.


Immediately following the High Court's decision, Top Gear presenter James May commented, "Obviously I'm now going to have to take some legal action of my own, because I have been the Stig for the past seven years, and I don't know who this bloke is, who's mincing around in the High Court pretending it's him." He expounded on the pretence in a newspaper column the next day, describing his dual life as the Stig and "Captain Slow".

Speculation about the future of the Stig character began immediately. On 3 September 2010, May told a radio show that the Stig would be "dealt with" in a similar manner to how the Black Stig was eliminated. On the same day, The Telegraph reported that the BBC would not be renewing Collins' contract and that Collins would be soliciting offers to star in his own programme. (A month later, he joined the show Fifth Gear for its eighteenth series; he then became a co-presenter on the Polish programme Automaniak.) On 4 September, The Sun quoted a BBC spokeswoman as saying "No decision has yet been made as to whether The Stig will be killed off."[citation needed] Clarkson advertised for a new driver in his 4 September newspaper column, noting the successful applicant must know that "no one, under any circumstances, should ever rat on their friends". In a 7 September interview, Clarkson said that Collins was "history as far as we are concerned. He's sacked."

Bookmakers' favourites to become the new Stig included Anthony Davidson, Damon Hill, Russ Swift, Heikki Kovalainen, and an unspecified female driver. One company The Sun reported that racing driver Phil Keen, a former stand-in for the Stig, was likely to fill the role.

On 1 October 2010, it was announced that Collins would join Five's Fifth Gear motoring show, where he was introduced by Vicki Butler-Henderson as someone whose name "rhymes with The Twig." Collins appeared unmasked, saying "Yes, I can speak. It's a massive pleasure to do so."

On 5 November 2010, the Top Gear website released a video clip about its "Stig Farm," the end of which introduced a new Stig for the travelling stage show Top Gear Live. The video also featured a Stig attempting to write a book on a computer, and correcting one of its many mistakes with [lt]a class="mw-re

What episode of Top Gear do they reveal The Stig?

In series 13 episode 1, the show jokingly unmasked the Stig as seven-time world champion F1 driver Michael Schumacher.

Why did Top Gear fall out with The Stig?

Eventually, things had to end. The BBC Radio Times published a story that revealed his identity as The Stig and the situation started falling apart from there. Collins felt like the show was slowly phasing him out, and he wanted to leave on his own terms.

Who was Australian Stig?

Cam McConville was a regular Supercars racer and the anonymous driver 'The Stig' on Top Gear Australia.

Why does The Stig not talk?

Clarkson and Wilman wanted to have a professional racing driver as part of the show's cast, but ran into difficulty finding a driver sufficiently adept at speaking on-camera. Clarkson then asked Wilman why the driver needed to speak at all, and they decided that the Stig's role would be silent.