Some basic facts about Top Gear
, the show, itself:
The show has been around since 1978, based on specials that starred ex F1 champion Graeme Hill (father of equally ex F1 champion, Damon) in 1972.
The longest-serving presenter of the show is Jeremy Clarkson, who has been with the show since 1988, though he spent some 5 years away from the show on other projects between 1998 and 2001, a period in which Top Gear's ratings tumbled and the show was canceled. For a few months. His two current co-presenters, James May and Richard Hammond, have been with the show since 1998 and 2002 respectively.
A number of the Top Gear
presenters that were with the show prior to the "cancellation", such as Tiff Needell (1987-2001), Vicki Butler-Henderson (1994-2001), Adrian Simpson (2000-2001) and Jon Bentley (1988-1997, better known as one of the presenters of The Gadget Show
), all moved on to Channel 5's 5th Gear
(when offered some commercial cash incentive), the style of which is similar to how Top Gear
used to be. This is why they can proudly boast about 5th Gear
's "famous shoot-outs" between different models of cars, because they used to do them on the old Top Gear
The Stig used to be ex touring and sports car driver (and F1 flunky, see here
for details) Perry McCarthy, in 2002 and 2003. I have no idea who he is today, but considering there was a fat Stig used in the episode featured in the US, he is certainly more than a single person.