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11 February 1966" Daily Mail

To Be Sexy In Private Is Quite Enough For The Englishwoman

In the following well-chosen words you may detect a particularly strong note of approval for the subject under discussion, so I'd better explain right away that there exists between Miss Diana Rigg and myself a unique bond.

Let me put it this way. Have you ever been in the Ladies with Miss Rigg standing guard outside the door on your behalf? No, of course not. Well, I am.

Admittedly this particular Ladies was (a) in the daytime seclusion of a theatre and (b) the only convenient convenience for miles and (c) there was positively nobody around to be offended by my presence there.

Actually, I'd gone to Stratford to see how she was settling down in Shakespeare again - Twelfth Night rehearsals in fact - after a longish stretch as the national sex-pot in The Avengers.

She said it was lovely and would I mind going to the accountants with her because she only had 7½d. and must pick up her £25 rehearsal pay.

So we got it and she said: "Perhaps I shouldn't have been so profligate with all that telly money. It's all gone.

"Still, I'm not sorry. I did enjoy spending it and, anyway, money's horrible. I keep getting offered large sums to open fetes and things but I can't do it.

"Imagine standing there saying 'I now declare this fete open' and holding out your hand for a brown envelope full of used £1 notes."

There then followed the incident at the Ladies and after that we watched Ian Holm beating David Warner at table tennis and then Miss Rigg, who had five years at Stratford before her TV days, said: "Coming back here is a sort of breathing space while I decided what to do next.

"Mine's the sort of career that goes wobble-wobble all the time. I never plan anything, just play it by ear and heart."

What she would like is to be a great big movie star with lots of that horrible money and the freedom to pick and choose that goes with it, though if this meant a permanent extension of her Avengers image, she would have her doubts.

"I'm not a sex-pot at all," she said. "It was agony at the studios when I had to strip and found myself surrounded by scores of little boggling men in caps.

"I don't think an Englishwoman finds it altogether satisfactory to be sexy in public. To be sexy in private is quite enough. She doesn't need a public exhibition to satisfy her ego or her femininity.

"Come with me," she said, "to the wig-maker." So we went to the wig-maker and he called her "daughter," too, and she said: "Everyone's so nice here.

"Really, this is much more my métier than TV, though I don't think I'll stay after Twelfth Night. One shouldn't departmentalise one's career too much. Onse should try everything. I wouldn't mind playing an old cowpuncher in a film next."

When we left the wig-maker, she said "I have to go and look at a cottage," so we went there in her mini, which she drove as if under the impression that minis don't operate properly unless all the components are white hot.

It was a nice cottage. Cherry blossom blossoming, a robin nesting in the garden shed, three bed., one recep., bath., kitch. and - because it was clearly the kind of day in which such things were fated to figure large - and outside lavatory.

Miss Rigg said she'd take it and that brought her total of homes to three - one in London, two in Stratford.

"I'm a woman of property," she said. "Three homes! No money - but three homes."

We stood in the road looking at the latest Rigg residence and this girl who despite a career that goes wobble-wobble manages the pretty difficult feat of combining TV stardom with leading roles in Shakespeare posed a rhetorical question.

"What," she asked, "is success? Ah, well, I'll tell you. Success is a cottage with an outside lavatory."


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