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Collins blasts BBC bosses

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Sep 10, 2010 | 5:00am EDT

The racetrack ace has spent the last seven years hiding behind a dark-visored crash helmet as The Stig on hit British TV show Top Gear.

He was forced to keep his identity a secret until earlier this month (Sep10), when the BBC failed to obtain an injunction preventing publication of The Stig's autobiography.

Opening up about his experience, Collins insists he was devoted to remaining masked but claims TV chiefs did little to reward his hard work.

He tells Britain's The Sun, "From the start of my time on Top Gear, I'd gone to every possible effort to ensure I wasn't discovered. I'd wear a balaclava to work and learned to hide my car. It was pretty intense. Between filming, I'd stay in the suit. When it came to food, I ate in a hut by myself. There was one key (race) when it became clear where my future lay... It was one of my dreams but... it was spelled out to me that I was expendable.

"I'd given the show my all. The money per episode was a tenth of what people suggested and my contract was often two or three months at a time. I'd have to pay for my own insurance and didn't even have a pension - yet the BBC were making millions from merchandising... Yet (Top Gear executive producer) Andy (Wilman) has since said I was the same as a Dalek (Doctor Who character) or the (U.K. children's TV show) Blue Peter dog."

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