“Who is the Stig?”: Why you don’t want to know

“Who is the Stig, really?”

From the beginning this has been one of the most asked questions about Top Gear. In interviews, through e-mail, during guest appearances and on the numerous online forums. And one of the most researched too. Just go into Google and type in “Who is the Stig?” and you’ll get more than a half a million entries. It seems that people everywhere want to know the answer to one of TV’s most elusive question. When I try to explain the show to my friends who I’ve recently introduced to my collection of DVD’s, it’s one they ask me all the time.

I’ve explained that the Stig is well, The Stig.  His true name and background is a mystery, and even with recent rumours to the contrary, one I hope will never be revealed. I don’t want to know who the Stig is, and believe it or not, neither do you.

Let me explain why.

To do so, I have to go way back to 1977 and my introduction to one of the all time menacing movie villains of all time: Darth Vader.

One of the most iconic movie moments in history is the image of Darth Vader striding through the blown bulkhead of that Alderaanian cruiser, his breath wheezing in the background. That image used to give me goose bumps and when I was younger, a few scary dreams. He was The Dark Lord of The Sith. One of the most badass dudes who ever existed. Even if it was just in a movie.  He was so badass, he could choke the crap out of you just by thinking it. People trembled in his presence, feared him even from across the quadrant, and probably drew straws just to deliver his mail.  He was… evil personified.

And a lot of that image was due to the fact that he was concealed behind that mask. You knew who he was now, and yes, that he was once Anakin Skywalker. But now, without a doubt he was Darth Vader.

But how did he get that way? No one really knew back then. What went on in his past that was so bad that it caused him to turn to the Dark Side? Well, Obi-Wan didn’t leave a diary or even a blog so we had to guess.

And that was it really. Part of the allure was the guessing part of it. He could have been anyone. Maybe he was once a really nice guy. Maybe not. Who knew? Even at the end of “Return of The Jedi” when the mask was removed, all we really got was a glimpse of a scarred old man. Everything that led up to it was still a mystery. And we loved it.

Many years later and we get “The Phantom Menace”. Finally, we get to see how Vader became Vader.  I looked foreword to it as much as any other fangirl out there and stood in line for hours to get my seat. And I sat there in the movie theatre and watched a huge part of my childhood frankly…go down the drain. What a disappointment.

Let’s be real. After 20 some years of fearing Darth Vader, the Dark Lord himself, we learned that he was nothing more than a whiny momma’s boy who was nicknamed Ani. The kid who probably got beaten up at lunch and had his lunch money taken every day at school.

And it got worse. As a teen, this whiny self absorbed kid turned not to the Dark Side as Yoda feared, but to the Goth Side instead. Even Obi-Wan left his emo butt on Geonosis.

To sum all of this up and to finally get to my point, I can no longer take Darth Vader seriously. Re-watching the old Trilogy, I see Vader striding down the halls of the Death Star, and all I can think is; “Oh Ani…you need a hug from your mommy? You whiny smug little emo-wannabe”.  Knowing who he really was, and his whole back story absolutely ruined it for me.

As it would for The Stig. Yes, we know that there’s probably more than one person to don the Stig suit, but that doesn’t matter. Not to me at least. I like to think that whoever he is at that moment, as soon as that white suit goes on, he assumes the identity of the one and only Stig.

Is it this person? Or what about that guy? Maybe…maybe not. Lets be honest, it could be one of a hundred different people. It keeps us guessing, and I for one don’t want to give that up. I mean, can you imagine if some guy came forward and revealed that he was the Stig? Even if he was a talented race car driver, I don’t want to know.

Maybe he was one of those people who never made it to the big leagues for one reason or another. Maybe someone who simply wanted to drive just for the love of it.  But what if it was just some bloke from Springfield with a bad combover? What if during his off days, he works in a burger stand or sells shoes in a discount store? I mean really?

Even if he comes forward and is revealed to be someone along the lines of Michael Schumacher, the mystery would be gone. And for me, that would just kill it.

Please Top Gear, please, if at all possible, don’t let us know.

“This just in…  The BBC officially announces that The Stig really is…”

*puts fingers in ears*

“La la la… I can’t hear you…”


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