Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Under the helmet

Does it really matter who 'is' The Stig?  No.  No more than it matters that we know who 'is' Batman in the latest film.  Sure, the guy concerned wants to make a bit of money with his book (and some lawyers have made plenty of money from the case) but I really don't think that anyone who watched and enjoyed Top Gear, and enjoyed the teasing references to the mysterious bloke who never spoke and never took off his helmet, was particularly interested in genuinely finding out the secret identity behind the character.

Because that is what The Stig is: a character.  A role.  I was perfectly happy to think that it was a whole series of different people.  In fact, I probably assumed it was just because that would have been more convenient.  Less helpful for the comparative assessment of different cars round the same track, but that was hardly a scientific experiment anyway.

So, Ben Collins can write his book and I hope the BBC will just continue with another new Stig.  He can regenerate like the Doctor, perhaps.  But I can't help feeling a little bit patronized by the coverage.  As if we didn't all know that there was a jobbing former racing driver in the costume...

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