The Stig strikes back! Plus: five other ‘mystery men’ who walked the walk

Seven years behind the visor. It's a wonder his skin doesn't crumble in sunlight.

Ben Collins – white, Anglo-Saxon, slightly bald – is about to launch his autobiography. This wouldn’t be especially exciting news were it not for the fact that Ben Collins – white, Anglo-Saxon, slightly bald – is in fact the secret identity of The Stig, Top Gear’s booted, suited, helmeted frontman.

Is the BBC happy with this state of affairs? Like hell it is. The corporation has just burned through a reported £100,000 seeking a temporary High Court injunction against the book’s publication. Here, have a whiff of sour grapes courtesy of AOL:

A spokesman for the BBC, which claimed the book would breach confidentiality obligations, said: “The Top Gear audience has always made it clear they enjoyed the mystery around the identity of The Stig. The BBC felt it important to protect that anonymity.

“The BBC brought this action as we believe it is vital to protect the character of The Stig, which ultimately belongs to the licence-fee payer. (The) judgment does not prevent the BBC from pursuing this matter to trial and it will not be deterred from protecting such information from attack no matter when or by whom it should arise.”

Collins né Stig isn’t taking any of this lying down. According to the Telegraph, he’s signed on with talent-milking outfit James Grant Management to appear in a new show. Our guess is that combustion engines may feature prominently, though it’s possible the outed hotrod (a former SAS instructor, if Syfy speaks truth) aims to spend a little time beyond his comfort zone.

That’s some serious Man-sticking right there, Ben. Good work. In honour of your struggle, please accept this shortlist of flicks, games and toys in some way associated with famous anonymities.


What makes a superhero? Extraordinary strength? The reflexes of a caffeinated King Cobra? The ability to turn people’s eyeballs inside out with your armpit farts? Or is it just a question of wearing the right balaclava? Dave Lizewski is about to find out.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

The very, very, very, very best comicbook-to-game adaptation without the shadow of a whisper of a doubt. The masked avenger has never hit harder, looked sexier or, um, detected forensic evidence with greater acuity.

A Journey

The Lovecraftian trans-dimensional tentacle monster that is Tony Blair has been wondering the earth incognito, his hideousness swathed in human skin grafts, for many centuries. Succumb to the beast’s melodious patter.

Rey Mysterio figurine

Who the hell is Rey Mysterio, you ask? I don’t know either, but whoever he is, he’s seven inches high and has “extreme articulation” and “authentic details”. And he can’t spell “Ray”.

Darth Vader’s Lightsaber

This blade once belonged to the ultimate in undisclosed arch-villains. Feel the strength of the Dark Side radiating from it. Try not to bend it, though, or it won’t extend properly.

Grudge match: Dr Who’s Sonic Screwdriver versus a real screwdriver

Do not deny the Sonic Screwdriver its destiny.

Hands up if the thought of handling a replica of the Doctor’s favourite flashy, beepy, ambiguously purposed stage prop doesn’t bring you out in cold sweats? Don’t worry, I’ve got just the thing for you people.

It’s the Silverline 918532 screwdriver, on offer at for a mere £3.88. Among countless other applications, you might use it to unscrew your forehead and reattach your ‘sense of wonder’ gland to the rest of your brain. Obviously the pressures of the working world/marital life have jogged it loose. Go on.

Once this is done, you’ll be able to appreciate the marvel that is Dr Who’s Sonic Screwdriver. It isn’t really a screwdriver, just a sculpted plastic stick, and if the plumber says he’ll fix the sink with one, absolutely nobody would blame you for putting rat poison in his tea. But it does flash and make Dr-Who-noises, which may be enough to deter the more pop-culture-minded breed of mugger or a small herd of sheep.

The blurb, if you please:

The Eleventh Doctor’s multipurpose tool is a Gallifreyan device, with numerous settings, easily controlled at the press of his thumb. The Doctor has had many sonic screwdrivers of different designs throughout his life, and this latest one was created from within the Tardis console itself after the previous one was destroyed. This new sonic is larger, with a luminous green light but continues to be an essential part of the Doctor’s equipment as he explores the universe.

Lady readers: do not leave this on your bed. Misunderstandings may ensue.

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I can’t help but criticise Channel 4

Even Jon Snow looks disappointed that the graphics team have mucked up the text in the graphic behind him.

I can’t take the credit for spotting this, it was the missus who made me pause the Sky+ and go back to check the spelling on the graphic for last night’s segment about BT being criticised for exaggerating its broadband speeds.

The advert, which was broadcast last year and featured Adam being shown around a house by an estate agent, while his partner, Jane, surfed the web at home, prompted 17 complaints including objections from BSkyB, Virgin Media and TalkTalk. Among the complaints were that the speed at which Jane was shown navigating web pages was faster than anyone could achieve at any connection speed.

The ads for BT feature Adam and Jane and we have been able to watch them as their relationship develops. The latest twist was that BT allowed viewers to choose the direction that the ad’s storyline takes. This ended up with a pregnant Jane, as requested by over 1.15 million votes. With that many people having a had in the pregnancy, it’ll cause the Child Support Agency a headache if we ever choose that they should split up!

P.S. I’ve checked and checked this post for spelling mistakes but fate demands there will be an error somewhere. Hit me in the comments about any spelling or grammar blunders.