Europe News

BBC Takes 'Stig' Identity Battle to the High Court

The BBC's bid to keep secret the identity of an anonymous test driver featured on the UK auto-themed TV show "Top Gear" began behind closed doors at the High Court, according to UK wire service the Press Association.

Steering wheel
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The British media organization is taking the legal action to protect "The Stig's" true identity to block the publication of an autobiography from publisher HarperCollins, which plans to reveal the driver's name, the report said.

The Stig, who has become famous in his own right despite being shrouded in a white helmet and jumpsuit, tests cars at top speeds on the popular show. 

Revealing the name could ruin viewers' enjoyment of the show, the BBC claims, according to the report.

The BBC's counsel, Richard Spearman QC, said the hearing should be held out of the public eye, the report said. But the publisher’s counsel argued that press representatives should be allowed to hear the case, but be subject to restrictions regarding the confidential information, the report said.

The judge ruled that publicity would defeat the object of the case and the case to proceed in secret, the report said.

The first Stig's identity was revealed as Perry McCarthy, who was dropped from the show after his name became public.