Fired-up TV stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond got revenge on Ben Collins last night’s Top Gear – by using The Stig as target practice.
In the first episode of the new series, the trio each drove a supercar up the eastern side of the USA with Jeremy driving a Mercedes SLS Gullwing, James in a Ferrari 458 Italia and Richard behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
As part of the supercar tests, the threesome had to demonstrate their car’s ride quality by taking part in a mock drive-by shooting – where they choose the target.
Unsurprisingly they selected a cardboard cut-out of the The Stig, who was played by stunt driver Ben Collins.
Stepping up first was May, who calmly emptied a cartridge of handgun bullets at the three, full-size Stigs. Hammond then went up to his targets and turned them around so he could “shoot them in the back.”
Finally it came to the theatrical Clarkson, who fully opened one of the Merc’s gullwing doors and unleashed fury – with a semi-automatic rifle.
The furore around Ben Collins exploded in the summer when the BBC went to the High Court in a bid to prevent The Stig’s identity being revealed. The 35-year-old James Bond stuntman wanted to cash in on his role as the faceless show star in an autobiography published by Harper Collins.
Despite spending more than £75,000 on legal fees the Beeb was unsuccessful and the book was published with Collins subsequently fired.
In last night’s episode it was revealed that former Top Gear presenter Tiff Needell was used to teach film director Danny Boyle how to drive round the show’s track for the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car feature – a role previously undertaken by The Stig.
The trio are back on Boxing Day when they attempt to tackle the route of the Three Wise Men. VIEW TEASER IMAGES FOR THE EPISODE HERE
Last night’s episode is available on the BBC iPlayer