Sunday, 5 July 2009

The Real Stig

When Jeremy Clarkson finally revealed the long-awaited identity of the Stig on the BBC's flagship motoring series, Top Gear, a few weeks ago as that of the world-famous multi-millionaire racing driver, Michael Schumacher, it wasn't long before I began to have doubts. I am old enough to take publicity stunts with a pinch of salt; experienced enough to view some things with a little scepticism.

The revelation seemed too good to be true. Why would a youthful, busy, very wealthy former Formula One racing driver be prepared to act as an invisible, anonymous test driver for the BBC and also accept all the inconvenience of the media pursuing him, trying to discover the Stig's true identity?

Jeremy Clarkson dropped a number of hints towards the end of the interview, casting doubt as to whom the Stig really is. Of more concern to viewers is the implication that the Schumacher Interview was done in order that a famous brand of rum could be promoted. Were this the case, would it contravene BBC guidelines about advertizing? Personally I have no idea. I imagine they'd argue that they didn't name the rum; the interviewee did.

Nevertheless, Top Gear remains one of my favourite programmes. I enjoyed the theatre of the Unmasking of the Stig - whomsoever that is; and we are all none the wiser because many of us still wonder who the Stig really is.


Stephen Barnes said...

The Stig is believed to be more than one person: it's whomever they get to don the white suit and helmet on that day (although one or two drivers have been Stig more than others). It just so happened that Ferarri would only let Schumacher drive the FXX, so he had to be Stig on that particular occasion.

Timothy Belmont said...

It's all legerdemain, Stephen! :-)

John Ferris said...

Well I think the fact that the last stig had to quit because he unmasked himself in his book tells its own story. Publicity stunt for the booze I'd imagine from Schumacher's people, the kudos of having Schu on the show for Clarkson. Incidentally, if you want to read one of the more crazy set of comments from my blog you should definitely read this Schumacher involved post (forget the article itself, just read the comments):