Observations made by cast and production staff at the time they were making The Avengers...

Julian Wintle (Producer)
Introducing Emma Peel in the form of actress Elizabeth Shepherd...
"She has terrific personality and good looks – all the ingredients for the series."

Daily Mail, 20th October 1964

Patrick Macnee (John Steed)
Initial reactions to the initial Mrs. Peel
...
"Elizabeth is very beautiful. She has a cleft chin and I love cleft chins."

Daily Mail, 20th October 1964

Diana Rigg (Emma Peel)
Her comments upon inheriting the role from Ms. Shepherd...

"After five years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, I want a change. I shall be playing the part in my own way. I am not remotely like Honor Blackman as an actress or a personality."

Daily Mail, 15th December 1964

Patrick Macnee (John Steed)
On his love of fine wine
...
"When the next series of The Avengers ends, my wife Catherine and I want to get into the car and drive to all the vineyards we love best. That would take us first to the Champagne district in the north of France... then we would motor down to the banks of the Loire to see the Pouilly Fuissι cellars. Across to Bordeaux and a taste of the Graves wines which are found there. If time permits, we would drive down to Portugal and the Douro region where they make port. Perhaps I might be able to locate a bottle of 1927 Quinta do Nuval. A real prince of ports, that one. John Steed would appreciate it to the full."

TV Times, 27th November-3rd December 1965

John Bates (Wardrobe Designer)
On Diana Rigg and the importance of the woman wearing the clothes
...
"Cathy Gale was not at all my type of girl. The clothes I have designed for Diana, anyone can wear – and short skirts as well. A girl must never rely entirely on a dress to make her pretty, or fragile, or alluring. She looks the way she feels, no matter what she wears – and it shows. If she is sexy, you see it in her face and body. If she is demure, you see it in her eyes, in the way she moves her hands. A dress can't do that for her. It can help. But it is for the woman to be expressive."

TV Times, 15th-21st January 1966

Diana Rigg (Emma Peel)
Commenting upon a typical Avengers day...
"It's the life of a mole. Alarm call at 6.30am. Car waiting for me in the mews. Off to Elstree. In the summer, I drove myself in the mini. Learned to drive especially for this part, y'know. But the traffic going home... ugh. Get to studio. Breakfast. A bacon sandwich, cup of coffee. Make-up. Get hair done for first time. Harry follows me around for the rest of the day, with brush and comb. On set, read lines. Never learn them. Memorise during rehearsal. Yes, it is a long day. But never dull. And I grab an hour's sleep at lunchtime. Just wrap myself in a shawl in my dressing room. Lunch for me is one mandarin orange."

TV Times, 26th February-4th March 1966

Patrick Allen (Reed in The Thirteenth Hole)
Recalling an unusual problem he caused director, Roy Ward Baker
...
"Roy had all the camera shots lined-up for right-handers – including that swinging girl Diana Rigg – but I just had to do it left-handed. I couldn't even hit a punchball the other way round and it's the same when I play cricket." 

TV World, 29th January-4th February 1966

Patrick Macnee (John Steed)
Summing up the reasons for the success of The Avengers...
"Of course, it's all due to the girls. Two completely independently-minded, absolutely wonderful females have been the success of The Avengers – or at least a great part of it. I mean it's fun to see a beautiful woman go racing around chopping people across the neck and getting away with it. Women love to identify with Emma Peel. She proves to them that they don't have to stay tied to the kitchen sink. On the other hand, Emma is still feminine enough to appeal to the men." 

TV Times, 23rd-29th September 1967

Diana Rigg (Emma Peel)
Her own perspective on the series' success
...
"Patrick has been marvellous. The series has been successful, I think, because we have broken away from the stereotype. We have inverted the usual ideas and added humor to the inversion."

TV Times, 7th-13th January 1967

Ray Austin (Stuntman)
On the stuntman's demanding workload on The Avengers
...
"When Steed meets trouble – and that's almost every step of the way – he does so unarmed, in the usual sense of the word. But the ruthless streak in Steed's character allows him to stop at nothing in his methods. Steed's fights are staged extravagantly and always with a sense of humour. His partner in adventure is a much more conventional fighter – guns, judo, wrestling, boxing – the lot. The vital difference is, of course, that all these arts are employed not by a tough guy but by a highly delectable and intelligent woman, Mrs Emma Peel – Diana Rigg. In this series, there are occasions when Emma gets some of the worst of it – being thrown down flights of stairs or hurled through plate-glass windows."

New Zealand TV Weekly, 21st November 1967

Patrick Macnee (John Steed)
Commending the work of stunt arrange
r, Ray Austin...
"I am most impressed with the way we have worked out the fights so far. Ray is tremendously efficient. He has a quick brain for the job and is full of good ideas. He is also an excellent teacher and can work out the fights as little story sequences – a great help for those involved."

New Zealand TV Weekly, 21st November 1967

Richard Montez (Colonel Josino in Escape in Time)
Wishing for a role where he doesn't die a death
...
"Sometimes I have to remind myself I really am still alive. I have died more than 300 times and in many spectacular ways. What else can you expect with my face? I never get the girls. I'd love a part where I could play a gigolo with lots of beautiful girls. Then I'd show 'em I could make love as well as die."

TV World, 28th January-3rd February 1967

Patrick Macnee (John Steed)
On something of a different vintage
...
"I wanted Steed to drive a Bentley Continental or a Maserati, or something modern and lovely of a different make. It was put to the office. So what do I end up with? This so-called beautiful old car which is nothing but a nuisance...you can't change gears in it, you have problems with the clutch, you go backward instead of forward, and apart from that, it doesn't go far."

TV Times, 4th-10th November 1967

Diana Rigg (Emma Peel)
On the trials and tribulations of her career...
"I'm really nothing like Emma Peel at all. I can't wait to get out of this gear. I hate being the centre of attention. I'm my own worst fan. I'm much too critical to look at myself. I hate being a star and all that it entails. I am jealous of my private life. My ambition is to be a free agent. I want to be able to interpret a part without limitations. I want to be free of the one dimensional world of television."

TV Times, 23rd-29th September 1967

Patrick Macnee (John Steed)
On the dangers of typecasting
...
"I know the part of Steed was created for me, and it was developed from my own background and personality, but I'm still a long way from being typecast. I suppose, though, that you could describe me as an unashamed romantic. I really think I'd have enjoyed the life of a Regency buck."

TV Times, 7th-13th January 1967

Diana Rigg (Emma Peel)
Discussing the downside of fame
...
"I had become paranoid with an underlying urge to pack and run. It is a very curious thing. I can only describe it as a sense of panic that seizes you when you are Diana to yourself and you are walking down the street. An instant later, you are somebody else to a lot of people who behave as if you belong to them. If you are quite a private person, which I am, this seems an intrusion on my privacy. I just have to run. Mind you, I am not ungrateful. I will be the last to minimise what television has done for me. It is a phenomenon, a miracle medium that can accomplish in six months what takes six years on the stage. Suddenly, everybody knows you. The point is though, that you are not yourself. Only the other person you portray in the series. That person is of a necessity imposed by television, one-dimensional. So you ask–is it worth it?"

TV Times, 14th-20th October 1967

Patrick Macnee (John Steed)
Getting to grips with a knotty problem
...
"I want to outlaw ties. Useless garments. Nasty, dangly, stringy things. Serve no purpose at all. I wear them as little as possible. And I hope the men of Great Britain will follow my example. Cravats were in there first, you know. Wasn't until 1840 that a few traitorous eccentrics abandoned 'em for those dreadful ties. Ties are simply symbols of conformity. Cravats have flair, masculinity. You won't find a tie in my wardrobe."

TV Times, 18th-24th March 1967

 

Compiled by Alan Hayes
Expanded from version previously
published at The Avengers Forever
and used with permission

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