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Why thank you, Mr. Steed!
It was the early Seventies; I must have been about three. I remember my mother in the kitchen, peeling potatoes or snapping peas, it was something ordinary, but appreciated. My father sat in the living room watching television, drinking either *Tab or a beer. They were his beverages of choice, outside his morning coffee.
As my little feet took me in the direction of my father, they stopped cold. I was frozen in front of the television. The illuminated magical box held the image of a beautiful woman, almost as perfect as Mom. She had lovely dark eyes and brunet hair, casually quaffed with a subtle flip that caressed her shoulders. She wore sensible yet feminine attire, which I imagined as pink. Since the show was in black and white, I was at liberty to make that decision. She sat in a car beside a distinguished looking man who sported a bowler hat and they spoke civilly as they drove along a winding road, drinking tea that was cleverly stored in the dashboard. I didn't think twice about the way they spoke, even at my young age, I had seen enough to know that most real American movie stars had British accents.
Yes, yes, I know this was TV and not the movies, but they held themselves like cinema legends and watching them was certainly a treat. Emma Peel and John Steed, the perfect couple who were never a couple. Patrick Macnee had quite a few attractive co-stars on 'The Avengers' series, but none were more mystically captivating then Diana Rigg.
What made the image of Mrs. Peel so alluring? Was it her intelligence, her cool head, impeccable manners or maybe it was that infamous cat suit? All of the above?! Oh, definitely! Mrs. Peel was the image of true feminism, even at her most seductive, she never sold out. She was smart without being cocky, sexy without being slutty and always an equal. She never resorted to the self-deprecating tactics of body piercings, tattoos or four letter words to stand on even terms with a man. She relied on wit, charm and an unflappable sense of self. Men wanted her and respected her and if they didn't, they received a karate chop and were flipped in to the next room. No, I don't advocate violence, but when a girl's dealing with dangerous types, she should always look to her talents.
What did I learn from 'The Avengers'? Well, to be fair, the lesson I learned was in part, a team effort. Mrs. Peel taught me that strength and confidence are even more feminine than finding the perfect outfit and Mr. Steed taught me that a man shines most brilliantly when he doesn't block the light of the woman sitting next to him. When both the light of man and woman shine together, nothing can match the warmth and clarity of such a balanced unity. These two characters respected each other, depended on each other and made even the most unbearable situations work out. They each had absolute confidence that their partner would always be there in the nick of time or, preferably, even sooner.
So, what do you say? Would you like a spot of tea? Sugar? One lump or two?
* A now extinct American soft drink.
Diana Rigg Brief Biography
Emma Peel, played by Diana Rigg, was the leading female character in the Avengers from 1965-67. Diana was voted in the top 10 of the 'Hottest Stars of All Time', in the August 1999 edition of the U.S. magazine, TV Guide.
Diana Rigg was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, in July 1938, and began her acting career at the age of 13, when playing Goldilocks at school. She was making a name for herself as a stage actress, when TV beckoned, and she was offered the role of Emma, taking over as Steed's female partner from Honor Blackman's Cathy Gale.
After leaving 'The Avengers', Diana went on to star in films such as 'The Assassination Bureau (1968)', 'Her Majesty's Secret Service (famously becoming the first Mrs. 007 - albeit briefly) (1969)', and playing Vincent Price's daughter in the ham horror extravaganza, 'Theatre of Blood' (1973). She also appeared in that British TV institution, 'The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show' in 1975, and her most notable TV role since 'The Avengers' was probably in 'Mother Love' in 1989. She won a Lifetime Achievement award in 2001, at 'The Women in Film and Television Awards'.
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
EMMA PEEL FACTS - THOUGH ONE IS A LIE...
The Emma Peel Avengers Episodes (in chronological order)
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