September 26, 2015


BBC's Desert Island Discs program began 75 years ago and has become a treasure-trove of deep insights into the lives and careers of people who have shaped our culture. Many of the shows have been lost; a dilemma familiar to fans of Doctor Who and The Avengers. But thanks to fans around the world who taped the program, lost episodes are still being unearthed! Presenter Kirsty Young (my personal crush) has announced that a long-lost interview with Diana Rigg was preserved on quarter-inch tape by a collector and has, at last, been added to the BBC's on-line archive. Rigg was interviewed in 1970 by Roy Plomley and the show offers an interesting glimpse into her perspective on her career. In our last Spy Vibe post we announced Diana Rigg is scheduled to attend a rare screening of The Avengers at the BFI to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her portrayal of Mrs. Emma Peel. The actress has famously shied away from Avengers events, which has caused disappointment and perhaps some resentment among fans. I've never given it much thought, as I simply love what she contributed to the series in the 1960s (and I mean LOVE), and I've appreciated her warmth and generous reflections on working with co-star Patrick Macnee. What her Desert Island Discs interview reveals is an actress who is forever passionate about Shakespeare and about her love of performing in Stratford. Where she speaks affectionately about Shakespearian roles and their deep insights into humanity, Rigg dismisses Emma Peel as almost a cartoony, "karate-kicking" confection. Perhaps what she never realized is that she infused Mrs Peel with so much spirit and humanity as an actress that we're still in love with Emma 50 years later. She must have done it right! Where she adored playing characters written by others, she was perhaps too close to her own creation to see how marvelous it really was. Maybe the series didn't offer the same range of emotion, but her creation was genius none the less. I hope Dame Diana can recognize this when she sees her magnificent work on the big screen next month at the BFI. The eerie House That Jack Built episode definitely maximized her skills within the conventions of the series and is a great choice for the event. Now go back in time to 1970 and get to know her better. Diana's favorite recording? Trois Gymnopedies by Satie. BBC link here. Below: a distressed Mrs. Peel in House That Jack Built, plus a newly unearthed photo of Diana Rigg in Twelfth Night 1966. Related posts: Shakespeare Spies Rigg, Shakespeare Spies I, Ian Fleming's Music, Rigg Birthday Tribute, Avengers Interview: Michael RichardsonRichard Sala Interview I, Set Countdown #7Enjoy! 

Selected Spy Vibe posts: Diana Rigg EventIan Fleming LettersNew Gillette 007 CoversPirate RadioSpectre Advanced PosterHonor Blackman at 90UNCLE SchoolIan Fleming MemorialRadiophonic ExhibitPortmeirion PhotosDoctor Who ExhibitFarewell SteedPussy Galore ReturnsDiana Rigg birthdaySherlock at 221BInvisible AgentSaint Interview: Ian DickersonSaint DoppelgängerFleming's TypewriterRare FlemingFleming's MusicIan Fleming's JapanJim Wilson Corgi InterviewFantomas DesignJeremy Duns on BondJohn Buss interviewAvengers Season 5 TitlesSaint VolvoMod Tales InterviewAgente Secreto ComicsDanger Man Comics 2Danger Man ComicsJohn Drake ComicsDer Mann Von UNCLEGolden Margaret NolanMan From UNCLE RocksteadyPussy Galore Calypso, Cynthia Lennon R.I.P.Edward Mann FashionLeonard Nimoy TributeShatner at 84Bob Morane seriesThai Bond DesignBond vs ModernismArt of ModestyTokyo Beat 1964Feraud Mod FashionGreen Hornet MangaNo 6 FestivalAvengers Interview: Michael RichardsonIan Fleming: Wicked GrinJane Bond Hong Kong RecordsRyan Heshka Interview, Comics Week: Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E.Comics Week: ArchieComics Week: Robots, Comics Week: Cold War Atomic, Comics Week: SPYMANComics Week: Jimmy Olsen, Shakespeare Spies: Diana RiggShakespeare Spies I, Rodney Marshall Avengers Interview, Richard Sala: Super-Enigmatix, Cold War Archie, Playboy Bunny InterviewThe 10th Victim Japanese and KindleU.N.C.L.E. Japanese Books, Trina Robbins InterviewCatsuits, Batman '66 Green Hornet Interview: Ralph Garman Ty Templeton.

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