29 September 2002: Sunday Mail

Diana's Girl Is A Golden Great

A week after her mum was voted the sexiest-ever star on the box, Scots actress Rachael Stirling is set to become TV's new golden girl.

Rachael is the daughter of Dame Diana Rigg, who rose to fame as the leather- clad Emma Peel in the hit 1960s adventure show, The Avengers.

Now the 25-year-old looks certain to make a dazzling impression of her own when she is covered in gold spray for a steamy new BBC series.

Rachael plays Victorian-era music hall star Nan Astley in Tipping The Velvet, which is based on the acclaimed novel by Sarah Waters.

In the three-part series, which starts on October 9, she has a lesbian affair with stage partner Kitty (Keeley Hawes), then becomes a sex slave to wealthy widow Diane Lethaby (Anna Chancellor).

She was painted in gold for a raunchy party scene. Rachael said: "It took hours to paint me. One of the make-up artists asked, `Are you embarrassed?'

"I just thought, `God, if my dad could see me now'."

Her father is Scots laird Archibald Stirling of Keir, who owns an estate in Perthshire. He was married to Rigg until 1990, but they divorced after his affair with screen star Joely Richardson.

Rachael, who has a degree in art history from Edinburgh University, knows the new series is sure to shock some viewers.

She said: "I hope that once the controversy dies down, it should be really fun to watch."

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