Belfast Telegraph

Stig's BBC career hits the brakes

Ben Collins' career as Top Gear's The Stig has been halted following his High Court battle with the BBC, sources said.

Mr Collins is thought to be highly unlikely to return to television screens as the show's faceless mystery driver after the mystery was very publicly solved.

The case has also cast doubt on whether the character will reappear at all in the next series of the programme, played by a different driver.

A decision on whether The Stig will be axed altogether is expected in the next two months but is unlikely to be announced before the series starts in December.

The corporation took legal action to block publication by HarperCollins of an autobiography which would unmask Mr Collins's identity. But after more than a day of legal argument in private, Mr Justice Morgan said on Wednesday he would not grant the BBC a temporary injunction to do this.

Top Gear presenter James May said another Stig could be found for future editions of the show. But he said it was "a shame" that the driver's anonymity had been spoiled.

"I mean, the whole point of being the Stig is that you are nobody. The Stig is a character," May said.

Speaking to Absolute Radio host Christian O'Connell, he added: "It's like, you know, it has to have a person in the suit, obviously, and its always the same person, always has been because that way we get consistency, and Stig is anonymous because it's good fun. It's a testing device, the Stig, and it protects it from corruption, if nobody knows who it is - that's the really good thing about it."

May said it would be feasible to find a replacement: "We can get another one. There may be many more Stigs in many more galaxies."

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