Schrodinger’s Stig

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Much like Schrodinger’s Cat, the BBC and Top Gear have put Ben Collins in a strange place between existence and non-existence. Collins is the author of his own biography set to hit the stores in two weeks in which he sensationally reveals his identity as Top Gears most popular cast member, perpetually-incognito racing driver ‘The Stig’, who is forever concealed behind a white helmet and never speaks a word.

Until now.

The problem is, Top Gear very much don’t want the identity of ‘The Stig’ – a mystery that has surrounded and formed an important part of the immensely popular BBC Two show for years – to be revealed, and persued legal action in an attempt to prevent Collins from revealing his identity.

As logic would dictate, the court ruled in Collins favour and the book will be out, un-censored, as planned this month. But then Top Gear did something very weird – they refused to confirm or deny that Ben Collins was in fact the man behind the famous white helmet. According to Collins he was the man, according to Top Gear he neither was nor wasn’t.

He was, in effect, Schrodinger’s Stig.

But one has to ask what did Top Gear and the BBC really hope to achieve through this legal action, what was the best that could happen? That Ben Collins would be forced to take his real life identity to the grave, like some kind of Superman character?

Top Gear claim they will pursue the case further, but it’s hard to see what dignity they will rescue from this situation now. The only thing anyone has an inkling towards is that, next time around, it might just be a new face under the famous white helmet of The Stig anyway.

Paul Williams is a freelance writer and Illustrator who graduated in 2010 with a Degree in Creative Arts For Employment, earning a Distinction. He has an interest in environmental, activist and ethical issues and is also passionate about music, film and humour. Recognised by the Association of Illustrators as an emerging talent, some of Paul’s Illustration work can be found on the web.