The Stig has some surprisingly sexual origins...
“Top Gear” as we know it is gone forever, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look back and laugh at all the ridiculousness. In fact, a stroll down memory lane is what “And On That Bombshell,” a book by script editor Richard Porter, is all about. Porter worked on the motoring program for 13 years, so he has more than a few stories about Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. The following excerpts were given to the UK’s The Sun and provide a hilarious look behind the scenes.
For starters, monkeys driving cars was almost a thing. Yes, Porter and show researcher Jim Wiseman once came up with the idea of having monkeys drive cars, automatics, of course. The plan hit the skids when a well-known monkey sanctuary that they had phoned torpedoed the idea. “If I find out that you’re attempting this,” the monkey lady said angrily, “I will SHUT YOU DOWN.” One weird footnote is that The Stig was originally set to be called The Gimp. That name was canned because the original tame racing driver, Perry McCarthy, didn’t like it due to, well, if you don’t know just Google “Gimp” and find out. So what does The Stig mean and where did it originally come from?
The Stig name came from Clarkson and producer Andy Wilman and was apparently the term they used for new kids at their school. Also, the show had a rating system for celebrity guests, grading them on everything from driving themselves to the studio to the size of their entourage and if they hung out afterwards. A few celebs that did well include Matt LeBlanc (he never stopped talking Porsche engines), Simon Cowell (he drove himself) and Sienna Miller (she hung out afterwards). At the risk of sounding like paid shills, which we aren’t, “And On That Bombshell” sounds like a must-read for “Top Gear” fans. Hopefully the new Chris Evans version of the show will one day warrant its own book filled with wacky stories.