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Stig was SAS hero (Racing driver for UK TV's Top Gear taught 'escape & evade' driving to SAS Troops)
The Sun (U.K.) ^ | September 2, 2010 | DUNCAN LARCOMBE, Defence Editor, LEIGH HOLMWOOD, Deputy TV Editor, and RYAN SABEY

Posted on 09/01/2010 9:43:09 PM PDT by Stoat

EXCLUSIVE

 

Stig was SAS Hero

 

RACING driver Ben Collins, unmasked yesterday as Top Gear mystery man The Stig, is a former member of the SAS.

Ben trained SAS heroes in daring "escape and evade" driving skills while serving with the regiment, The Sun can reveal.

 

  No more mystery nice guy ... Ben Collins aka The Stig

No more mystery nice guy ... Ben Collins aka The Stig

 

Millions of viewers have seen the race ace coaching celebrities on how to achieve the fastest time around a TV circuit in Top Gear's reasonably-priced car.

But sources close to the special forces unit - motto Who Dares Wins - last night told how he also passed on his expertise to British troops.

And they revealed they had known his secret identity as The Stig ever since he landed the job on the BBC's flagship motoring show in 2003 - even though fans were in the dark.

  Winning driver ... Ben Collins leaves court

Winning driver ... Ben Collins leaves court

 

Collins, 35, whose face was hidden from viewers by his race helmet's tinted visor, trained in hand-to-hand combat with the SAS before passing on his driving skills.

He was axed from his TV role last night after winning a legal bid to reveal his identity by publishing his memoirs.

Beeb bosses had claimed the stunt driver was bound by a confidentiality agreement and that revealing The Stig's true identity would ruin viewers' fun.

  Behind you! ... Stig with Top Gear trio

Behind you! ... Stig with Top Gear trio

 

But after a two-day private hearing at London's High Court, Mr Justice Morgan refused to grant an injunction which would stop publishers HarperCollins releasing The Man In The White Suit in two weeks.

Insiders said sports car ace Collins, from Bristol, would be given the push when the series returns for its 16th series later this year.

One said: "Bosses are livid. There's no way they'll welcome him back.

"He's not a full-time employee, just contracted on a per-series basis, so it'll be easy not to renew his deal.

  Badge of honour ... SAS emblem

Badge of honour ... SAS emblem

 

Producers are still deciding whether to axe The Stig entirely or bring him back as someone else."

Collins, who replaced black-clad Stig Perry McCarthy, rushed from court at one point to visit wife Georgina who had just given birth to their third child Cassius.

And with his TV identity finally made public last night, The Sun can detail his proud military past.

Collins served as a member of the renowned 23 SAS, the regiment of highly-trained reservists.

There, chiefs quickly began using him to pass on his driving skills.

 

There, chiefs quickly began using him to pass on his driving skills.

One fellow SAS member said: "We've known he was The Stig all along - it has been a standing joke within the regiment. He worked as a course instructor in Hereford.

"On the driving tracks he helped pass on his knowledge of high-speed escape and evade tactics."

Weapon

Sun security expert and former SAS legend Andy McNab said: "Having the best driving skills are a vital part of SAS training. They need to know how to use a vehicle as a form of escape and also a weapon.

  Star pals ... Stig with Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise

Star pals ... Stig with Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise

 

"The SAS also need to know how to drive safely at high speeds, and that's where The Stig would come in handy. Anyone within the Regiment with the skills he has would have been seized on straight away."

Only a handful of people on Top Gear knew the identity of The Stig - including hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

Last night HarperCollins called the court ruling "a victory for freedom of speech", while a BBC spokeswoman said the Corporation had not ruled out pushing for damages.

 

Critics blasted the Beeb for spending tens of thousands of pounds of licence fee-payers' cash on the case.

 

MP Phillip Davies, a member of the House of Commons culture select committee, said: "I fully expected the BBC to lose the case.

"Pursuing a case they have virtually no chance of winning is completely futile because his name was out there."

 

A Stig's Life

 

Ben Collins was born in Bristol but spent his first ten years in California where his dad worked.

He became a junior Olympic standard swimmer by the age of nine but at 18 launched his driving career in Formula Ford.

On his debut as Silverstone he clocked up a record time on his first lap.

Within four years he was in Formula 3.

Former World champ Sir Jackie Stewart tipped him as a future star.

 

In 2001 he raced at the Le Mans 24-hour classic - and for four hours, in the rain, was fastest in his class.

He has also driven in British ASCAR oval racing and in 2003 won six of 12 rounds.

In 2009 Ben became a driver for an Australian V8 Supercars team.

He was also a stuntman driving in 2008 Bond movie Quantum Of Solace.


Rise of secret Top Gear racer

2002 - BLACK-clad Stig starts on Top Gear. Under helmet is driver Perry McCarthy.

2003 - PERRY outs himself and black Stig is "killed off". White Stig replaces him.

2005 - RUMOURS over F1's Mark Webber after Clarkson gives him I Am Stig T-shirt.

2006 - EX-world F1 champ Damon Hill appears on show and jokes he may be Stig.

2008 - STIG collects Top Gear's National TV Award for best factual programme.

2009 - F1 star Michael Schumacher is "revealed" as Stig in a stunt by Clarkson.

2010 - THE Stig greets show's biggest ever guests - Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.

 


TOPICS: Military/Veterans; Miscellaneous; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: automotive; autoracing; autos; bbc; bbcamerica; britain; cars; driving; england; greatbritain; military; nascar; sas; specialairservice; specialforces; television; topgear; tv; uk; unitedkingdom
More:

 

 BBC Top Gear homepage

 

Top Gear on BBC America - Official Site

 

YouTube - TopGear's Channel

 

Hulu - Top Gear excerpts

 

The SAS, Special Air Service, British Special Forces Information and SASR, NZSAS, Who Dares Wins

 

SAS - Special air service - 22 SAS

 

Special Air Service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

1 posted on 09/01/2010 9:43:14 PM PDT by Stoat
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To: Calpernia; xzins; SandRat; Cannoneer; Ragtime Cowgirl; stockpirate; Darksheare; freema; ...

“Thought you might be interested” ping :-)


2 posted on 09/01/2010 9:44:30 PM PDT by Stoat (If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Birkenstock stamping on a human face... forever)
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To: Stoat

I liked him as Stig, now I like him even better.


3 posted on 09/01/2010 9:52:29 PM PDT by Prokopton
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To: Prokopton

Ditto. The guy should be Bond. SAS hero, great driver and handsome. Fire fat and annoying Clarkson and make him the star or get rid of the little bloke. Keep James May - he is hilarious.


4 posted on 09/01/2010 9:56:57 PM PDT by Frantzie (Imam Ob*m* & Democrats support the VICTORY MOSQUE & TV supports Imam)
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To: Prokopton

Me too....I’m glad that the SAS troops are getting such top-notch training, and I hope that our American forces are as well.
He’s always impressive to watch on the program.


5 posted on 09/01/2010 9:58:01 PM PDT by Stoat (If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Birkenstock stamping on a human face... forever)
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To: All

Sorry, I forgot to mention that at the linked Sun page there’s a video report from Sky TV where they fill in some of the blanks and also mention that he raced in NASCAR as well.
What a tremendously accomplished guy!


6 posted on 09/01/2010 10:13:18 PM PDT by Stoat (If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Birkenstock stamping on a human face... forever)
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To: Stoat

Right on! Dude’s from California (sort of).


7 posted on 09/01/2010 10:14:04 PM PDT by tanuki (Obamacare, Cap and Tax, Amnesty, in that order....)
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To: Frantzie
Ditto. The guy should be Bond. SAS hero, great driver and handsome. Fire fat and annoying Clarkson and make him the star or get rid of the little bloke. Keep James May - he is hilarious.

Is this a television show? Is it on cable?

8 posted on 09/01/2010 10:17:32 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12

It’s a great show. In the US it’s on BBC America, but the older seasons are available on Netflix. They make fun of everything, especially Americans and British leftists.

It’s actually a bit sad to have the Stig’s identity made public, but it does happen.


9 posted on 09/01/2010 10:21:00 PM PDT by MediaMole
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To: ansel12

Another nice thing about him is he is married with three children. A lot of people in Europe/UK find it more stylish to have children out of wedlock. He sounds like a good guy.


10 posted on 09/01/2010 10:34:16 PM PDT by Frantzie (Imam Ob*m* & Democrats support the VICTORY MOSQUE & TV supports Imam)
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To: Frantzie
Ditto. The guy should be Bond. SAS hero, great driver and handsome. Fire fat and annoying Clarkson and make him the star or get rid of the little bloke. Keep James May - he is hilarious.


I like your combination - it definitely would make a better show.

Have you seen any of the James May “Toy Stories” shows? They are quite good.

11 posted on 09/01/2010 10:35:16 PM PDT by az_gila (AZ - one Governor down... we don't want her back...)
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To: Frantzie

Do you get it at your house on cable or satellite?


12 posted on 09/01/2010 10:40:05 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12

No I cancelled it a year ago but can watch it on You Tube.


13 posted on 09/01/2010 10:45:57 PM PDT by Frantzie (Imam Ob*m* & Democrats support the VICTORY MOSQUE & TV supports Imam)
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To: az_gila

No. I cancelled Tv. I think May did something with Legos or something. He is very funny. The other two are very goonish, pick on May unmercifully and he is also very polite and well mannered. He has a very dry and deadpan humor.

The best show was when he drove the Veyaron up to 252 mph on the VW test track 5.2 mile straight. I also like how he is a huge fan of the Fiat Panda. Just an odd choice.

I also like how he argued the design of the Alfa Romeo to a Scottish University art school and won versus Hammond arguing for a Mzda and Clarkson for a Audi(??). I do not remember. The uni profs picked the sexy Alfa.


14 posted on 09/01/2010 10:51:05 PM PDT by Frantzie (Imam Ob*m* & Democrats support the VICTORY MOSQUE & TV supports Imam)
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To: Frantzie

What is the link?


15 posted on 09/01/2010 10:51:10 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12

Link on You Tube? They have old bits and pieces. It is a good show but it was not that great. Clarkson and Hammond get tedious very quickly in my view.

The only thing I miss on TV is The British Open (golf). I can watch The Masters online.


16 posted on 09/01/2010 10:54:17 PM PDT by Frantzie (Imam Ob*m* & Democrats support the VICTORY MOSQUE & TV supports Imam)
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To: Frantzie
No I cancelled it a year ago but can watch it on You Tube.

So it isn't really on youtube? I'm getting confused here, do you watch it?

17 posted on 09/01/2010 10:58:42 PM PDT by ansel12
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I’m sure Stig has been outed for quite a while - never officially verified until now maybe, but people have been certain it’s Collin’s for quite some time.

Here is one reference from almost 2 years ago - there are a bunch of others too. Don’t know why the uproar now as this has been know for a long time.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/article5548705.ece


18 posted on 09/01/2010 10:59:43 PM PDT by tahoeblue
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To: tahoeblue
this has been know for a long time.

 

From the posted Sun article:

MP Phillip Davies, a member of the House of Commons culture select committee, said: "I fully expected the BBC to lose the case.

"Pursuing a case they have virtually no chance of winning is completely futile because his name was out there."

 

19 posted on 09/02/2010 12:02:22 AM PDT by Stoat (If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Birkenstock stamping on a human face... forever)
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To: ansel12; All
If you scroll up the page, you'll find the link to Top Gear's YouTube channel among the other links I posted.....here again:

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/TopGear

 

 

20 posted on 09/02/2010 12:05:16 AM PDT by Stoat (If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Birkenstock stamping on a human face... forever)
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To: Stoat

I saw that, but I don’t think that you can watch the show there.


21 posted on 09/02/2010 12:11:11 AM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12

It’s a copyrighted show and so I don’t believe that there’s ‘any’ online site where you can legally watch the entire show episodes for free, only snippets.
That being said, ‘some’ of the YouTube snippets are really quite lengthy and cover quite a bit of the show. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it might give you enough of a taste for what it’s all about to help you decide whether you might want to rent complete episodes from Netflix or from your neighborhood video store. :-)


22 posted on 09/02/2010 12:37:27 AM PDT by Stoat (If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Birkenstock stamping on a human face... forever)
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To: Stoat
Isn't google amazing? Just went to google videos and typed in 'top gear,' 769.000 hits. 'youtube top gear' gets a similar number of hits.

I watch Top Gear on 'Dish.' My brother watches it on YouTube. I like the supercar road tests best of all. Some of those wacky contests are lame.

23 posted on 09/02/2010 12:45:58 AM PDT by Daaave ( "Was blind, but now I see.")
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To: Daaave; ansel12
Isn't google amazing? Just went to google videos and typed in 'top gear,' 769.000 hits. 'youtube top gear' gets a similar number of hits.

I watch Top Gear on 'Dish.' My brother watches it on YouTube. I like the supercar road tests best of all. Some of those wacky contests are lame. 

Well, I'm an idiot and it looks like I've been proven wrong again.  No, I hadn't Google'd it and one of the sites that appears among the top of the search using your suggested keywords certainly 'looks' legal and has complete episodes.

I'm not going to post a link to it here because I'm unsure of it's legality and posting a link to an illegal site will get a FR poster banned.  It sure looks legit though....

duh @ me  ;-)

24 posted on 09/02/2010 1:00:18 AM PDT by Stoat (If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Birkenstock stamping on a human face... forever)
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To: Stoat
"Well, I'm an idiot and it looks like I've been proven wrong again."

No you're not. You're to hard on yourself. I actually meant to post to the thread, not you personally. I was trying to remind people how to use google. Not a shot at you at all. Please accept my appologies.

25 posted on 09/02/2010 1:49:47 AM PDT by Daaave ("You see, but you do not observe.")
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To: Stoat

nice one thank you


26 posted on 09/02/2010 6:25:23 AM PDT by manc (WILL OBAMA EVER GO TO CHURCH ON A SUNDAY OR WILL HE LET THE MEDIA/LEFT BE FOOLED FOR EVER)
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To: Stoat
Interesting.
It would seem that approximately 1/2 of the male population of Britain are 'former SAS' personnel.

I do enjoy the show when I see it.
27 posted on 09/02/2010 7:43:23 AM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus)
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To: Daaave
Isn't google amazing? Just went to google videos and typed in 'top gear,' 769.000 hits. 'youtube top gear' gets a similar number of hits.

I have heard about google, now where on youtube did you find the series for free?

28 posted on 09/02/2010 8:02:02 AM PDT by ansel12
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To: Daaave

No apology is necessary, no offense taken :-) I worded my response haphazardly and conveyed the wrong sentiments.
No worries :-)


29 posted on 09/02/2010 9:16:36 PM PDT by Stoat (If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Birkenstock stamping on a human face... forever)
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To: manc
nice one thank you

You're quite welcome, and I'm delighted that you've found it to be worthwhile :-)

30 posted on 09/02/2010 9:18:04 PM PDT by Stoat (If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Birkenstock stamping on a human face... forever)
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To: az_gila; Frantzie

Clarkson is married with three kids. Richard Hammond is married with two kids. James May is unmarried, no kids, but is living with a long term “partner”.


31 posted on 09/05/2010 1:02:44 PM PDT by Vanders9
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To: Vanders9
James May is unmarried, no kids, but is living with a long term “partner”.


Maybe, but last night on BBC America he got to go up in the second seat of a U2 out of Edwards AFB....:^)

Don't know how the BBC swung that one...

32 posted on 09/05/2010 1:09:13 PM PDT by az_gila (AZ - one Governor down... we don't want her back...)
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To: az_gila

Don’t get me wrong, I love James May. I think all four presenters are great. Pity we are going to lose the Stig...


33 posted on 09/05/2010 1:12:28 PM PDT by Vanders9
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To: az_gila
At least James May's partner is female...:^)

“James is not married, but has been dating the music journalist and dance critic Sarah Frater since 2000. He lives in a house without any stair carpet in Hammersmith, west London. His cat Fusker, was a gift from Richard Hammond’s wife, Mindy”

34 posted on 09/05/2010 1:13:31 PM PDT by az_gila (AZ - one Governor down... we don't want her back...)
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To: Vanders9

Jmaes May has had the same girlfriend for the past 9 years. I like Hammond but he is a bit too animated. Clarkson is insufferable. He is however a Manx man - from the Isle of Man like The Bee Gees and Dan Quayle’s family.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/the-mild-one-how-james-may-became-the-most-indemand-presenter-on-british-television-1771436.html


35 posted on 09/05/2010 1:57:55 PM PDT by Frantzie (Imam Ob*m* & Democrats support the VICTORY MOSQUE & TV supports Imam)
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To: Frantzie

But that’s the point. The three have very different personalities, but they all have a love of internal combustion. I must admit I empathise with James May more than I do with Clarkson and definitiely more than I do with Hammond. But its the contrast with the other two that enables the character of each to be shown so much more fully. The way they bounce off each other is the reason for the show’s success.


36 posted on 09/06/2010 10:50:06 PM PDT by Vanders9
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