Top Gear presenters take revenge on The Stig
Published 23/12/2010 | 10:15
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond shoot a life-sized carboard cut of The Stig in last night's Top Gear on BBC Two.
In last night’s Top Gear, the first of two Christmas specials, the tyresmoke triumvirate of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond took revenge on their former colleague The Stig.
The white-suited, white-helmeted driver’s true identity had been a mystery on the programme since its relaunch in its current format in 2002 – but, earlier this year, much to the Top Gear team's chagrin, he revealed himself to be Ben Collins, a stuntman and Formula 1 test driver.
The BBC spent around £38,000 (€44,500) appealing a court’s decision to let Collins publish a tell-all autobiography and destroy the enigma of The Stig.
The Stig was subsequently sacked – and last night's episode was the first to be televised since. The presenters wasted no time making their feelings known, likening him to Judas Iscariot early in the show.
Then, later in the programme, during a cross-America journey, the trio were invited to practise mimicking a drive-by shooting in Virgina. The target was, of course, a life-sized cardboard cut out of The Stig. Points were awarded for hitting specific areas of the body.
Each of the presenters revelled in the challenge: “I got him in the heart. I got him in the throat, in the spleen. Got him in the face,” enthused Clarkson. May said he was aiming for the “plums”, while Hammond turned the target around so that he could “shoot him in the back – that's how it's done”.
Meanwhile, the temporary Stig was revealed to be Tiff Needell, who co-presented Top Gear from 1987 until 2001.