New Stig appears - new rumours begin

So it begins. The debut of the new Stig on Top Gear's latest series has kicked off a fresh round of self-perpetuating rumours, myths and hints at who the man is behind the iconic tinted visor.

We say man, because unlike the bizarre story posted on the Daily Mail today pitching Sabine Schmitz as the racing driver in question, we're fairly sure that to be a woman you must have breasts. And the new Stig doesn't. We looked.

Nevertheless it would seem that the Stig is small. Very small. Clarkson quipped that he made Hammond look like a giant, which makes him even shorter than the presenter's 5ft 7in stature.

That counts out Tiff Needell who once again subbed in for a current Top Gear presenter when May had to take on a motorbike with the new V8-powered Ariel Atom.

That's a shame because the sentimentalist in us would love to see Tiff return to the BBC fold. He did voice his appreciation of the new guy though, tweeting last night: "Have to say I like the look of the new Stig's style..."

We do too. The power lap conducted in the Atom was not only the quickest yet (beating the Bugatti Veyron Supersports) but revealed the kind of aggressive, balls-to-the-wind style that is likely to make the Stig highly watchable for the rest of the season.

He seems to be able to instruct, too – the Liverpudlian comedian, John Bishop, went straight to the top of the celebrity board with a vastly quicker time that Tom Cruise managed last season.

On that evidence it seems just possible that the BBC could have taken a big step in quality since Ben Collins was dispatched.

Talented though he undoubtedly was, Collins was not a top flight racing driver. The new Stig might just be. Our outside bet? There's only man we can think of who fits the bill.

Anthony Davidson. Diminutive, brilliant, ex-F1, current Le Mans driver, already works for the Beeb as a Five Live commentator and very professional.

If it is the British racing driver that professionalism is already on show as he moved to quash the inevitable rumours by tweeting this morning: "Woah, just seen all the @antdavison the new Stig' comments!... Guys, seriously, it's not me!"

He then added: "Oh my God, I feel under pressure!! You guys really don't take no for an answer! Perhaps I should just say it IS me to keep you happy!!?"

No, that wouldn't keep us happy, Anthony. We like people to obey the stipulations set out in their contracts. Plus we prefer the guessing games.

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