Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Fast and the Curious ...

I've always been a fan of British television programs that have made the jump 'cross the pond to the United States. Among those currently at the top of my list is Top Gear, an imaginative and finely-crafted celebration of car and driver that is at times pointed and passionate ... and sometimes downright hilarious.

Discussions among Top Gear enthusiasts reveal different opinions on the show's strong points. Some like the vehicle reviews, while others prefer the "Power Laps," or the "Star In a Reasonably-Priced Car" segments, or the wacky races, or the even wackier challenges.

But one thing upon which we can agree is speculation over the identity of
The Stig, the show's mysterious "Tame Racing Driver" who drives various cars around the Top Gear Test Track in the "Power Lap" segments, and trains each week's guest for the "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment.

In all of his appearances on the show, The Stig wears complete racing regalia, including full helmet and darkened visor, covered from head to foot ... and completely incognito. The hosts of the program add a little more mystery - and more than a little humor - in their introductions.

"Some say he once wrestled an elephant to the ground using the power of his mind and an alarming hairstyle. All we know is, he's called The Stig."

The mystery of The Stig's identity was solved late last year for British viewers, and late last week for American viewers ...

... or was it? More than a few fans of the show, and followers of the industry have suggested that the 'revelation' was a joke - albeit, a brilliant one. As for BBC's production arm, they're being more than a little mum about the whole thing, even when talking with reporters from their news arm. According to this report from BBC News, "after the show, a BBC spokeswoman would not confirm whether or not Schumacher was the genuine Stig, or a stunt to mark the first episode of a new series of Top Gear."

Me? I have no idea. But I DO know that I'll be tuning in next week - and the following weeks in the year ahead - for more exhilarating rides with with Jeremy, Richard, James and The Stig (whoever he is).

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