The Stig unmasked as Bond stunt double

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The High Court has refused to ban a book which reveals that Top Gear's The Stig is racing driver Ben Collins.

After more than a day of legal argument in private, Mr Justice Morgan said he would not grant the BBC a temporary injunction blocking publication of Mr Collins's autobiography.

Shortly before his ruling, Mr Collins left the courtroom to return home to Bristol where his wife has recently given birth.

Asked by the media if he was The Stig, the 33-year-old James Bond stunt double said he could not talk about it.

It was widely reported that The Stig was Mr Collins after his company's financial reports listed Top Gear among its work.

A spokesman for the BBC, which claims the book would breach confidentiality obligations, said today: "The Top Gear audience has always made it clear they enjoyed the mystery around the identity of The Stig. The BBC felt it important to protect that anonymity.

"The BBC brought this action as we believe it is vital to protect the character of The Stig, which ultimately belongs to the licence-fee payer."