The Gimp Becomes The Stig
The Stig was first designed to be a voiceless racing driver, because according to Clarkson, racing drivers are boring. No one cares what they have to say, they only care about the lap time. So, when they were putting together the character of The Stig, they decided that it would be voiceless and faceless. He would be known as… The Gimp.
Yeah, things were strange back then.
Andy Wilman, executive producer of the show, said that if anyone found out who The Gimp was, they’d be fired. Eventually, we all found out that the first guy was Perry McCarthy. But he didn’t like being called The Gimp, because that’s a synonym of s*x slave. So, the name was changed to The Stig.
This name came from what Jeremy and Andy (they went to school together at Repton High) called the new kids in school.
Porter wrote the following in his book:
The man we didn’t know was Perry would keep his crash helmet on throughout the day, no matter what. Watching him trying to eat was hilarious. He had to sneak off and slide his lid up just enough to quickly shove in a sandwich.
Whenever he spoke, The Stig put on a French accent. Remarkably, the unconvincing subterfuge of an Essex man giving it the full Inspector Clouseau actually worked. Whisper went round the wider world that The Stig really was French.