Race car driver Perry McCarthy, 62, who was the original incarnation of the iconic character between 2002-2003, has now left the track behind to tour the world as a motivational and after-dinner speaker.
Telling the London Speaker Bureau: ‘I’m an ex-formula-one racing-driver and I was the original Stig on BBC Top Gear.
‘What I do now is talk about all my experiences as a racing driver, coming through the attitudes that are necessary and I provide those via, hopefully, an amusing speech, business speech or a motivational speech.’
‘With my career, believe me, you needed to be motivated.’
Moving on: Top Gear fans have discovered The Stig ‘s surprising career move
Shock: It comes following news the show would be ‘shelved’ following a horror crash which nearly killed host Freddie Flintoff (L in 2021)
After a decade of professional racing including competing in both the Brazilian and Italian Grand Prix, Perry joined the BBC show as the mysterious and mute driver as he test drove motors in his iconic white helmet.
Production of the long-running show had been halted since the former England cricket captain Freddie 45, was taken to hospital in December 2022 after he was injured in an accident at the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey.
Perry previously shared his opinion on the accident with Radio 4: ‘[The] thing in my mind is I’ve got no idea why they’re now looking to cancel filming because they’ve had an accident’.
‘What they should be doing is actually learning from that and implementing some better safety procedures.’
Following the crash, the BBC announced that it would pause production on the show, co-presented by Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness and automotive journalist Chris Harris, as it was felt it would be ‘inappropriate’, adding there would be a health and safety review.
Freddie is understood to have negotiated a £9million settlement with the corporation for two years’ loss of earnings as a result of the crash.
The father-of-four is still recovering from his ‘life-altering significant’ injuries, is reportedly preparing his return to TV to make a second series of Field of Dreams, the 2022 BBC documentary series that saw him introducing children in his home city of Preston to cricket.
In a statement, the BBC said: ‘Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future.
The Stig’s new gig: Race car driver Perry McCarthy, 62, who was the original incarnation of the iconic character between 2002-2003, has now left the track behind and embarked on a career as a motivational and after-dinner speaker
Behind the wheel: Speed racer: After a decade of professional racing including competing in both the Brazilian and Italian Grand Prix, Perry joined the BBC show as the mysterious and mute driver as he test drove motors in his iconic white helmet (pictured in 2009)
New role: He said: ‘What I do now is talk about all my experiences as a racing driver, coming through the attitudes that are necessary and I provide those via, hopefully, an amusing speech, business speech or a motivational speech’ (pictured on stage earlier this year)
Throwback: Pictured with former Top Gear hosts (L-R) Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson
‘The BBC remains committed to Freddie, Chris and Paddy who have been at the heart of the show’s renaissance since 2019, and we’re excited about new projects being developed with each of them.
‘We will have more to say in the near future on this. We know resting the show will be disappointing news for fans, but it is the right thing to do.
‘All other Top Gear activity remains unaffected by this hiatus including international formats, digital, magazines and licensing.’
The UK show is currently sold to more 150 territories and there are 11 local format versions including in the United States, France and Finland.
Top Gear magazine is the world’s largest monthly motoring magazine with 30 licensed local editions, including China, France and Japan.
Scary: Freddie pictured in September, scraped his face ‘horrifically’ after he rolled a three-wheel Morgan Super 3 while on the Top Gear test track
Recovery: The father-of-four is still recovering from his ‘life-altering significant’ injuries
Car: The Morgan Super 3, pictured, has three wheels and is open topped. Flintoff was travelling at 22mph when he flipped it
In addition, BBC Studios said a health and safety production review of Top Gear, which did not cover the accident but instead looked at previous seasons, found that ‘while BBC Studios had complied with the required BBC policies and industry best practice in making the show, there were important learnings which would need to be rigorously applied to future Top Gear UK productions.’
A statement added: ‘The report includes a number of recommendations to improve approaches to safety as Top Gear is a complex programme-making environment routinely navigating tight filming schedules and ambitious editorial expectations – challenges often experienced by long-running shows with an established on and off screen team.
‘Learnings included a detailed action plan involving changes in the ways of working, such as increased clarity on roles and responsibilities and better communication between teams for any future Top Gear production.’
Making amends: In a statement, the BBC said: ‘Given the exceptional circumstances, the BBC has decided to rest the UK show for the foreseeable future (L-R) hosts Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris and Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff in 2019
The investigation looked at series 32, 33 and production of series 34 up to the December 22 accident, the PA news agency understands.
There was a separate investigation into Freddie’s crash which was concluded in March of this year and those findings will not be published.
In September, the cricketer was photographed for the first time in public since the crash and had visible facial injuries as he joined up with the England cricket squad for their one-day international series against New Zealand.
He has since made a gradual return to the public eye and last week it was announced Freddie has been appointed as head coach of the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred, replacing ex-England wicketkeeper James Foster.
Freddie and Paddy made their debut as Top Gear hosts in June 2019.
The Ashes-winning sportsman and Take Me Out host McGuinness joined Harris from the 27th series of the BBC Two show in the main presenting line-up.
Crhis started as a lead host on Top Gear in 2017.