London's High Court today refused to grant the BBC an injunction blocking the publication of racing driver Ben Collins' autobiography, in which he claims to be the mystery man known as The Stig in Top Gear.
Legal action against HarperCollins, the book's publisher, began last week as the contents of the book became known. Yet the BBC refuses to confirm or deny that Ben Collins ever was (or still is) The Stig.
It is widely known that Mr Collins worked on the Top Gear show. The BBC argued that the book simply breaches confidentiality obligations. A BBC statement said: "The Top Gear audience has always made it clear that they enjoy the mystery surrounding the identity of The Stig and the BBC felt it important to do all it could 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. Today's judgement does not prevent the BBC from pursuing this matter to trial and the BBC will not be deterred from protecting such information from attack no matter when or by whom it should arise."
This is not the first time that Ben Collins' name has been linked with the mystery racer dressed in white. Rumour also suggests that there have been several Stigs through the years, with stand-ins including the likes of Damon Hill and even Michael Schumacher.
Stig originally was dressed all in black, but once his identity was uncovered in 2003, as Perry McCarthy, he was replaced and the current Stig was born.
James May, on hearing the ruling, told BBC London: "Obviously I'm now going to have to take some legal action of my own, because I have been the Stig for the past seven years, and I don't know who this bloke is, who's mincing around in the High Court pretending it's him."
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