That’s the term used by Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson when he was asked about the actions of the show’s formerly secret ‘tame racing driver’, The Stig, who was last week unmasked as none other than former racing driver Ben Collins.
Little-known online TV channel Witney TV secured the exclusive scoop interview with Clarkson, and the chain-smoking Brit was surprisingly candid about his feelings over the events from the last few weeks.
“Put it this way, he’s history as far as we’re concerned; he’s sacked,” Clarkson told the channel.
When asked about a possible replacement for the masked driver, Clarkson was quick to rule out any of the show’s co-hosts filling the role, but added that there was plenty of interest from prospective applicants.
“Richard [Hammond] can’t drive, James [May] is too slow. We’ll get somebody, don’t you worry. Top Gear is damaged, but not out.”
“Trust me, we have many, many thousands of people queuing up to be whatever it is we create,” he added. “I’ve spent the last three weeks doing nothing but trying to work out what to do instead.”
Collins’ identity was revealed in a bitter legal battle through the London courts, where he successfully secured a book deal with HarperCollins without the knowledge or consent from anyone within Top Gear.
The BBC moved to block the unveiling of Collins’ identity via the book’s publication, but their application was rejected in the courts despite Collins clearly breaching the terms of his contract with the show.
HarperCollins was proudly touting the victory as one “for free speech”, although many have cynically suggested that the victory will be more for the profits rolling in to the publisher and its star signing when the book is eventually published.
“It was horrible, actually. I liked him. He came around to my house, and had drinks, and all that time he was writing the book,” a visibly agitated Clarkson said. “I feel a bit hurt, really.”
Collins was appointed to Top Gear in a role he held for seven years, following the “killing off” of the show’s original (black-clad) Stig, who was later identified as former F1 driver Perry McCarthy.
Many media outlets have attempted to draw parallels with McCarthy’s situation – his autobiography was published mere months after his departure from Top Gear, but actually without any reference to his role in the show at all.
However, most of the media outlets have erroneously reported that McCarthy’s Black Stig role was terminated as a result of his book deal, but McCarthy has been very vocal in correcting these assertions and claimed that his departure from Top Gear was entirely of his own volition.