02 January 1972: Observer

A Word With Diana

What on earth is an intelligent girl like Diana Rigg doing being an actress? With few exceptions, like, say, Coral Browne or Eileen Atkins, actresses are a pretty pinheaded mob. A frost-bitter old drama critic called James Agate used to say barmaids were brighter - an actress could pull you a pint or give you the right change, but not both.

Anyway, there's no doubting Miss Rigg's intelligence. For one thing she's a friend of Penelope Gilliat, who wrote the film script, 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday,' which would call for a certain intellectual bull-doggedness in anybody. Next month, Miss Rigg opens in the National Theatre's production of Tom Stoppard's new play 'Jumpers,' his first full length play since the trendy success of 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,' and we dropped in after rehearsal to ask her about it.

Miss Rigg said sharply that we'd better ask the playwright what the play was about. She was wearing trousers which accentuated her near-six-foot frame and was smoking a cigar, so we didn't press her. (Later we learned she plays an ex-musical comedy actress married to a professor.) Next we asked about the plot. Miss Rigg said it was too difficult to go into but it was a whodunnit.

We moved on to her recent pulpit appearances when she debated before a lunch-time audience of City workers ethical points with the Rev. Joseph McCulloch at St-Mary-le-Bow. Miss Rigg touched on divine dictates and personal totality. But, we asked, would she do a series like 'The Avengers' again? The trouble with 'The Avengers', she said, was that you got pushed for permutations. I mean, "What do you say when you discover your hundredth dead body?"

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