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12-18 August 1973: TV Week

Diana is back, but not as the avenging Emma Peel

Diana Rigg is the tall (5-8 1/2) and beautiful British actress who exploded with passion and fury on home screens across the nation with the March, 1966 debut of the adventure series, The Avengers. She returns this fall as the star of the new comedy show, Diana, to be aired at 7:30-8 p.m. Mondays on NBC.

Fans may find it hard to accept her in her new role. As the Avengers' Emma Peel, she was the Amazonian ideal of the liberated woman - a young, wealthy, internationally-educated swinger, whose striking beauty was well matched by the deadly karate kicks and judo chops she used in dispatching all kinds of evildoers. On Diana she will be a mere employee of a New York department store, living in an apartment given to her by her brother, and part of the comedy will arise from her being surprised by strangers - old friends of her brother - who wander, unannounced, in and out of her borrowed apartment at the oddest moments. How many of her old fans can sit there without expecting her to smash every single one of those intruders with crushing lefts to the jaw or over-the-shoulder flips?

To help project her superwoman image as ruthless fighter and romantic female, Emma Peel's wardrobe was especially created by a London designer. Newscaster Jack Taylor doesn't usually order his clothes from London, but his off-camera wardrobe does reflect aspects of his personality and lifestyle that viewers do not get to see in his on-camera image.

For actress Pamela Shoop, image is hardly a matter of concern at this point in her young career; she'd rather concentrate now on learning all she can about acting. For this, she should look up Diana who learned her craft at England's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon, and since then has compiled a long list of splendid credits in classical drama. But as television actresses, both Diana and Pamela could also learn from one Alphonse Karr who, says Petersen, ranks as the first television critic because of the profound understanding he clearly had of the medium - even before it existed!


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