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Avengers Girl Emma Peel

Updated on September 17, 2016
Emma Peel
Emma Peel

Diana Rigg as Emma Peel
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Diana Rigg
Diana Rigg | Source

Diana Rigg is The Avengers' Emma Peel

Although Honor Blackman's Cathy Gale was the prototype Avengers girl, it was her successor Emma Peel, as portrayed by Diana Rigg, who became the most popular of the leather-clad heroines.

An ultra modern and ultra stylish female, she took The Avengers series to new heights of popularity and into the realms of cult television status.

Debuting in 1965, Emma Peel was probably my first schoolboy crush. What red-blooded male could resist this beautiful, self-assured woman with a wit that would not quit? Even her name would exude her effect on the male population - M-Appeal (Man Appeal) - hence Emma Peel.

Occasionally dressed in black leather, she was the equal of her partner John Steed, and was able to dispatch the baddies with the flick of a wrist or a well directed kick. She was a woman most men wanted and one that many women aspired to be.

Introducing Emma Peel: The Avengers Opening Credits

A Little History

Honor Blackman, the actress playing Cathy Gale - Emma's predecessor, had decided to leave The Avengers after two series, so it was now necessary to find her replacement.

There are reports that sixty actresses screen tested the new role with the producers settling on blond beauty, Elizabeth Shepherd. However, after filming one and half episodes, she was fired. No reliable explanation has ever been given for her dismissal, but some sources state that she lacked the necessary humour to carry the role in the direction the producers wanted.

This left the door open for another actress to fill Honor Blackman's leather boots. She was found via a then recent broadcast of a television drama. Her name was Diana Rigg.

Beautiful and gifted, her screen test with Patrick Macnee (John Steed) demonstrated the chemistry the producers wanted from their two leads...and Emma Peel was born.

Diana Rigg's introductory Avengers episode, The Town of No Return, was broadcast in the UK during September 1965. The impact of her appearance was almost immediate. Men wanted her while women wanted to be her.

Emma Peel's styling was noticeably different to that of Cathy Gale. Instead of judo, Emma was proficient in karate and kung-fu and while she wore the occasional leather catsuit, there was a move to softer and more flexible outfits for Ms. Rigg. Nevertheless, Emma was as equally as emancipated as Cathy.

Such was the popularity of The Avengers in Europe that it was not long before the USA was able to appreciate Emma's attributes. The series was now produced on film allowing for broadcast in the States, and with American money, made the transition from black and white to colour.

As a result, Emma and her show become a global phenomenon. A clothing line was introduced across Europe and Diana Rigg was now a star, recognised wherever she went.

It was not to last, however. Diana was neither fully comfortable with the fame the role brought, nor the relentless filming schedule, and decided to quit the role. After two seasons she was gone, but during her tenure she carved out an indelible place in television history.

The Colour Intro

Diana Rigg of The Avengers
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Emma's Appearances

The Emma Peel Debate - What Are Your Thoughts?

Was Emma Peel the Best Avengers Girl?

Yes, definitely

Yes, definitely

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    • Gilberto Colon 23 months ago

      Out of all the girls sad to say,but my favorite has always been Dame Diana Rigg,still watch the reruns of the show to this day and enjoy it immensely,like Patrick McNee would say in his John Steed Character voice Mrs. Peel we're needed.Thank god for reruns indeed.

    • John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      For me yes - but up against stiff competition.

    • JaneEyre9999 5 years ago

      When I was 14 I wanted to BE Emma Peel....became me instead. Still a huge fan!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      she is the most sofisticafed , whit a sexy voice, the best expressive face and humour sense. Is the kind of woman the men really wants!.

    • christopherwell 5 years ago


    • Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

      Half of the appeal of the Avenger's was Emma Peel.

    • GetSillyProduct 5 years ago

      of course!

    • Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      She is the best, and only one in my opinion!

    • Kaafscorner 6 years ago

      Of course! Was there any other Avenger Girl?

    • KokoTravel 6 years ago

      Indeed, Emma Peel... don't even think of any others

    • KokoTravel 6 years ago

      Indeed... Emma Peel... don't even think of any others.

    • Mark Falco 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Easily the best

    • Addy Bell 6 years ago

      I never watched The Avengers (a bit before my time) but I LOVE Diana Rigg.

    • MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Well she's the only one I know of, so yes

    • thesuccess2 6 years ago

      She was the best female heroine ever

    • the777group lm 6 years ago

      You dared to ask?

    • Jimmie Lanley 6 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA


    • Ellen Brundige 6 years ago from California

      I shouldn't really answer since I turned off the Avengers about 1 episode into the Tara King years and never saw the gal before Diana Rigg, whom I hear was excellent. But for me, Diana Rigg / Emma Peel IS the Avengers.

    • Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I was a huge fan of the series and Diana Rigg. Just hearing the theme music on the video took me back to those days when I wouldn't miss an episode.

    • Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Emma Peel was my favorite, and definitely a woman I aspired to be! I truly admired her.-

    No, I preferred one of the others

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      • anonymous 6 years ago

        Why ask? Far and away it is Emma. And damnation that Peter was found alive!

      The Other Avengers Girls

      Cathy Gale
      Cathy Gale was John Steed's original female avenging partner in the early years of the British adventure series, The Avengers. It was 1962 when Cathy walked...

      Tara King
      Tara King of The Avengers TV series first appeared on television screens in the Spring of 1968. She was to be the new crime fighting partner of John Steed (p...

      The Avengers: The TV Show
      The TV show The Avengers is a blend of espionage, fantasy and occasional science fiction that has appealed to those who enjoy witty, off-beat television. Wh...

      What do you think of Emma Peel? - The Emma Peel Poll

      What's Your Favorite Emma Peel Characteristic?

      See results

      The Actors

      Diana Rigg
      Mention the name of Diana Rigg (born July 20, 1938) to most people and they conjure up a picture of the sexy, leather clad agent, Emma Peel, of the 1960s TV ...

      Linda Thorson
      Linda Thorson (born 18 June, 1947) came to international attention in 1968, when she won the role of Tara King in the 60s cult classic TV show, The Avengers....

      Joanna Lumley
      Joanna Lumley is one of Britain's best loved actresses, having been acting for what is now more than forty years. Originally, her career started as a photo...

      © 2008 Richard

      Are You An Emma Peel Fan?

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        • Richard-H profile image

          Richard 2 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

          Avengers girl in the same way 007 has his 'Bond girls' :)

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          Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

          Dislike the title 'Avenger's girl' wouldn't 'Avenger's Lady' be more applicable? Logicly a girl reaching puberty becomes a woman and we only have tongue in cheek references such as 'girl's night out', 'lets here it for the girls' etc. Lady makes us aware she is a Lady as are all of the female sleuths of the Avengers.

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          Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

          Emma Peel's greatest attribute is she can beat up male adversaries with such nonchalance like she hasn't made any effort to do so, and without any of her hair out of place too.

        • Paul Ward profile image

          Paul 4 years ago from Liverpool, England

          Ah, the snake. Made an impression on me as a young boy - I have no idea why.

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          grannysage 4 years ago

          I asked my husband what he thought of Emma Peel. He said emphatically 'Loved Her!" It was a great show. I had to laugh at the Twitter feed, most are talking about their tan peeling, lol.

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