The Stig Plans Autobiography, Upsets BBC Bosses
Completely anonymous and silent on screen, The Stig is one of Top Gear’s recipes to success. His identity is closely guarded as a secret, with BBC being almost obsessive in keeping it a mystery.
The Stig keeps his helmet and suit on for the entire time the show is recording, only occasionally lifting his visor in private to eat. He arrives on set early with only a handful of production staff so he will not be recognised and leaves after everyone else. He has his own dressing room and the studio audience do not have access to him at any time.
The expected Stig is Ben Collins, but the white racing suit is said to have occasionally been put on by others, such as the show’s producer Andy Willman and F1 racing driver Heikki Kovalainen.
It is reported that while the show's three presenters (Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May) are highly paid, the Stig receives a flat fee and does not make money from merchandising bearing his image.
The current Stig, however, is the second one. The first one, known as the "Black Stig,” was only limited to testing cars on the show's track. This could be history repeating, as the Black Stig’s contract was also subsequently terminated in 2003 after former Formula One driver Perry McCarthy revealed his secret in an autobiography Flat Out, Flat Broke.