Monday 14 September 2020

Dearly Departed Dame Diana

Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg, was born in Yorkshire in 1938 - and lived in India till she was right. Then she was sent back to Fulneck, the Moravian Boarding School outside Leeds [She hated it!] She trained at RADA alongside Glenda Jackson and Sian Phillips. And she was brilliant, imho. Wonderful on stage with the RSC, fantastic on TV - and stunning on the big screen. Do you remember any of these?

How I would have loved to seen her on stage at Stratford. I first became aware of her when I was about 11, as Emma Peel ['M' Appeal = Man Appeal, in case you hadn't spotted it] I so admired the leathers, the hairdo, the motorbike - and the quick wit and the feisty attitude. She became the only Bond Girl to marry him - and Lazenby was the weakest of all the 007s in my book. 

Mrs Bradley, with Neil [DCI Barnaby] Dudgeon had crazy plots and wilder costumes. I never watched GofT so cannot comment - but it was so good to see her only last week being Mrs Pumphrey, with Tricky Woo, in All Creatures.

Did you know that when she was playing opposite Patrick McNee in the Avengers, she earned £90 a week - but discovered the [male] cameraman got £120. She made a fuss, and they doubled it to £180! Sadly a lot of people ostracised her for her feminist attitude. She was fighting the Gender Pay Gap 50 years ago!

But then she returned to the RSC for just £70 a week - "Playing in the Avengers is a commercial thing - appearing in Shakespeare means more than money"She contributed so much to theatre,TV and cinema - her daughter Rachael Stirling is also an accomplished actor. In interviews Diana always appeared to have a great sense of humour and zest for life - and a good solid Yorkshire commonsense and a strong faith. 

RIP Mrs Peel - thank you 

[btw, I did get the leathers, hairdo and bike in the end - but I had to wait four decades]

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