The Making of Moll Flanders

Mrs Golightly ~ Diana Rigg

On Moll and Lemuel's arrival in Virginia, Lemuel's formidable mother, Mrs Golightly, is initially disappointed that her daughter-in-law has no fortune, but she quickly puts that aside and resolves that they should live as one big, happy family, and Moll obliges by bearing three children.

But the dream is shattered when Moll learns that Mrs Golightly is her mother and Lemuel her brother. Eventually, after making life hell for Lemuel, Moll reveals the truth to his mother, who is delighted to have found her daughter but agrees that Moll must return to England by herself.

Diana Rigg, who plays Moll's mother, is forever destined to be remembered on television as John Steed's karate-chopping sidekick Emma Peel in The Avengers, which is still repeated around the world, although she actually appeared in it for only two series.

Emma Peel, dressed in catsuits, hipster pants and thigh-length skirts, became an image of the sixties and the programme was at its height during her time in it, with a worldwide audience of thirty million. Diana came to the role after working with the Royal Shakespeare Company and returned to the stage after the 1967 series, as well as starring in the James bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Her subsequent television appearances have included In This House of Brede, King Lear, Bleak House - as Lady Dedlock - the TV movie A Hazard of Hearts and Mother Love, the series written by Andrew Davies in which she portrayed the obsessive mother of a composer played by David McCallum, winning the actress a BAFTA award.

Her early roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company included Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Adriana in The Comedy of Errors, Cordelia in King Lear and Viola in Twelfth Night. In the West End, she has played Heloise in Abelard and Heloise, Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion and Ruth Carson in Tom Stoppard's Night and Day.

Of her sexuality, Diana once said, 'I cannot define it, I am not aware of it and I certainly don't peddle it. I cannot flirt. It makes me laugh.'

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