Ex-Stig gets back behind the wheel for Kettle Chips - yep, really
So Top Gear is back with a new Stig. From what we've seen so far he's the size of a schoolboy, is prodigiously quick and, if early indications are anything to go by, knows a thing or two about how to instruct a celebrity.
But what about the old Stig? What about Ben Collins, the man who gave up all that unprofitable anonymity to publish his book and step proudly into the limelight of international fame?
Well, while the latest version of the tame racing driver lapped the track in a Ferrari 599 GTO, his predecessor was preparing himself to drive a super-sized bumper car through the streets of London as part of promotional campaign for Kettle Ridge Crisps.
Yep. Crisps. And novelty dodgems. Apparently Collins was the ideal candidate to front the First Kettle Ridge Dodgem Derby, a competition which offers fans the chance to win a place on a bumper car convoy set to start at Middle Wallop in March.
Reading from the corporate script, the racing driver said: "Whether you're a van driver or a rally driver, everybody loves a dodgem. London may not have a Grand Prix, but we now have the world's first Dodgem Derby and anyone can win a spot in one of the cars and join in the fun."
Apparently that fun will include the chance to take the ex Stig on in a series of speed and skill based challenges. If those include employing a ghost writer and circumventing contractual obligations in court, we can't see anyone knocking Collins off the podium.
Professional dignity is a difficult commodity to protect in the glare of public attention, but Collins' agent probably reassured him that becoming the face of Walkers Crisps never did Gary Lineker any harm. Of course, he did score 48 goals for England in over a decade of top flight football, but the Stig thing can compete with that, can't it?
Well, not when you allow this kind of cringe-worthy quote to come fumbling out of your mouth. "We're bringing the bumper cars from Wallop to London to deliver some much needed Extra Wallop to Britain and drive away the doom and gloom. I quite fancy my chances of taking first place on the podium, although I'm a bit worried about some of the challenges on the way!"
Yeah, we'd be worried too. Still, it's nothing that a large bag of Kettle Chips and a giant cheque can't help.