In the wake of 33-year-old Ben Collins’ scandalous outing of himself as Top Gear’s famously anonymous “White Stig,” the BBC is now directly violating their self-imposed vow of secrecy to reveal the “real” Stig: 80-year-old Norman Graham Hill. According to his biography, Graham Hill was a successful British racer in his prime, managing to win two Formula One World Championships as well as the Triple Crown of Motorsport. A little later in his vignette, it is also revealed that Graham Hill died in 1975.
In order to explain this slight hole in their story, the official Top Gear blog offers a ridiculous, just-shy-of-amusing, explanation.
From the official Top Gear blog:
In an alleged plot believed to have cost the license payer millions of pounds, BBC bosses apparently helped Graham Hill fake his own death in a plane crash.
According to Mole sources, the BBC knew as far back as 1974 that one day they’d hire Jeremy Clarkson to front their motoring show which didn’t exist yet, and that Jeremy would probably go to a school where they called new boys “Stigs”, and that in 2002 he’d probably invent an anonymous racing driver and probably give him that same name.
So they approached Graham Hill, whose professional driving career was over at that point, and asked him to crash a plane and then hide in a bush until he got the call from the Top Gear team 20 odd years later,” said a BBC insider.
He added: “The BBC does make a mess of some things but they’re pretty good at forward planning.”
Our theory: the sudden death of an 80-year-old Stig is a lot easier to write into the plot than the sudden death of a 33-year-old, able-bodied one. So congratulations, Ben Collins, you’ve successfully screwed yourself out of the sweetest gig you’ll ever land.