Dame of stage and screen: A tribute to Diana Rigg

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Photo by Victuallers (CC BY-SA 3.0)

On Thursday 10th September 2020, the film and TV industry received the extremely sad news of the passing of Dame Diana Rigg at age 82 – a formidable actress who played a huge role in the cultural memory of the last fifty years. She defined the female action hero as Emma Peel in cult landmark The Avengers, became James Bond’s wife in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and delighted audiences as Olena Tyrell in HBO titan Game of Thrones. It’s safe to say her credits are impressive to say the least, and she certainly proved she still had charisma and talent as a veteran of her craft.

Her death was confirmed by her daughter, actress Rachael Stirling after being diagnosed with cancer in March. The two had shared screen appearances several times in shows such as Doctor Who and The Detectorists. She said: “my beloved ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family.” There have been many tributes online to the actress’ iconic career and legacy, which has been illuminated by a cast of varied roles. As well as picking up several Emmy and BAFTA awards, she has recently appeared this month in the new adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small as the eccentric Mrs Pumfrey. The show marked her passing in what became her final screen appearance in episode 3, but the legacy of this creative talent will certainly last for a good while to come. She will be remembered fondly as Dame Diana Rigg, an actress who entertained audiences until the very last.

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James Tanner

TV Editor | 19-21

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