Who Is The Stig? | News | MN2S Talent

Ever wondered about the story behind Top Gear’s Stig? Read on to find out more.

One of the longest running jokes on British television, The Stig is (as if you needed telling) a character on the BBC motoring show, Top Gear. A stuntman who drives some of the most dangerous and fast-paced stunts on the show, the joke is that his identity is never revealed.

It’s because of the large helmets and bulky suits that racing drivers wear; they are essentially anonymised by their clothing, and as such the identity of the person playing The Stig on Top Gear has always been a closely guarded secret.

Nor has it, in fact, always been the same person. Although he’s now most recognisable as the white helmet and suit clad figure, when The Stig made his debut he was dressed in an all-black outfit.

The original ‘Black Stig’ was ‘killed off’ at the beginning of the third season and replaced with a figure clad all in white. This person was revealed during a court battle to be racing driver Ben Collins, after he attempted to publish an autobiography entitled ‘The Man in the White Suit.’ 

To date, the identity of the new Stig (who replaced Collins in Series 16) has remained a secret, although the show did once in jest reveal that F1 driver Michael Schumacher was the man in the outfit.

The Stig traditionally does not speak, with the concept for the character originally conceived because when the show was relaunched, Jeremy Clarkson and his producer Andy Wilman wanted a professional racing driver to be a part of the show’s cast. What they didn’t anticipate was that most drivers were not sufficiently comfortable or adept at speaking on camera. Lore has it that Clarkson asked why the driver had to speak, and thus the role of The Stig was born.

Even backstage on the show, as few members of the cast and crew as possible know the identity of The Stig. The driver playing The Stig must remain suited and in his helmet for the duration of his time on set, has a separate dressing room and must eat alone as he has to remove the helmet and thus identify himself to do so.

Perhaps his most popular segment is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car slot, but even the celebrities who the driver coaches are not made aware of his real identity; Those playing The Stig have even gone so far as to disguise their accents in order to obscure their true identity.

As The Stig has become more of a running joke on the show, more has been made of the character, and a tried and tested formula for his introduction has solidified; the presenter introducing him will say, “Some say he [insert quip], all we know is, he’s called The Stig.’

Some classic introductions have included:

“Some say he is terrified of Scouts.”

“Some say his drinks cabinet contains 14 different types of custard.”

And, “some say he naturally faces magnetic North.”

One person with a unique insight into the weird and wonderful world of The Stig is Perry McCarthy, the original ‘Black Stig’ who appeared in the first 22 episodes of the rebooted Top Gear. The racing driver was first outed by The Mirror at the end of the first series, and confirmed this in his autobiography following the conclusion of series two.


This revelation led to the character being ‘killed off’ in a scene which was made as dramatic as possible; The Stig drove off the deck of the HMS Invincible into the sea, and at the end of the episode, Jeremy Clarkson told viewers that all that had been found of the Black Stig was a glove.

This unique experience makes McCarthy a fascinating public speaker; not only was he a top-flight racing driver prior to joining Top Gear and the BBC, but he is also one of just two people who has ever confessed to appearing as The Stig.

No-one else will have the same backstage anecdotes or information about the practicalities of being The Stig, meaning audiences of all ages and interests will surely find him an engaging after-dinner speaker; he’s a choice that will appeal to the masses so if you’re interested in booking him, contact one of the friendly celebrity agents at MN2S today.

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