Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Emma Peel

Emma Peel

White Flesh Black Market: Spies in the House of Lust is about three super-duper mega-over-achieving spy chicks who thwart a villain so evil, no counties espionage outfit could stop them. The three women, Porsche Worthington Marlow, Mercedes Merlin and Aston Knight are modelled after three of my favourite super women:  Modesty Blaise, The Baroness and Emma Peel. Here is a little bit of wiki detail on the fantastic Emma Peel, easily the most famous of my three homages.

This image comes from Fan Pop - click on the image to be sent to the original site. 
(The below is taken directly from Wikipedia and is not my writing. I have left all the source numbers and links in to be directed back to the original source. Please read the full article at those links.)

Emma Peel was a fictional spy played by Diana Rigg in the British 1960s adventure television series The Avengers. She was born Emma Knight, the daughter of an industrialist, Sir John Knight.

The partner of John Steed, Mrs Peel was introduced as a replacement for the popular Cathy Gale, played by actress Honor Blackman, who left the series at the end of the programme's third season to co-star in the James Bond film Goldfinger.
Elizabeth Shepherd was cast as Emma Peel and production on the fourth season began. After filming all of one episode and part of a second, however, the producers decided that Shepherd was not right for the part, and she was dismissed. No footage of Shepherd as Peel is known to have survived.[2]
The producers scrambled to replace her and gave the job to Diana Rigg: the Shepherd episodes were subsequently re-filmed.

The character was notable for a number of characteristics. She is a feminist heroine, eschewing traditional "damsel-in-distress" portrayals of women (she is rarely bested in any fight and rescues Steed as often as he rescues her). She is a master of martial arts and a formidable fencer. A certified genius, she specializes in chemistry and other sciences. She is often seen in episodes engaging in artistic hobbies and had success in industry at the helm of the company of her late father, Sir John Knight. Her husband, Peter Peel, was a pilot whose plane disappeared over the Amazonian forest. He was presumed dead for many years, and Peel went on to work with Steed. She drove a convertible Lotus Elan at high speeds, and convincingly portrayed any series of undercover roles, from nurse to nanny. Her favourite guise was that of a women's magazine reporter, trying to interview big business tycoons and rich playboys. The name "Emma Peel" is a play on the phrase "Man Appeal" or "M. Appeal", which the production team stated was one of the required elements of the character.[3] However, an alternative explanation derives Mrs Emma Peel from Miss SM appeal.[4]
Peel's verbal interactions with Steed range from witty banter to thinly disguised innuendo. Regarding the question of whether they had a sexual relationship at any time, Patrick Macnee thought they went to bed on a very regular basis (just not in view of the camera), Rigg thought they were engaged in a very enjoyable extended flirtation that ultimately went nowhere, and Brian Clemens said he wrote them with the idea they had an affair before Emma's first appearance in the series.[5]

Her style of dress typified the period, and the character is still a fashion icon. John Bates was brought in as the costume designer for Emma Peel in the second half of the fourth series. He created a wardrobe of black and white op-art mod clothing and mini skirts. Before this, people had believed that lines, circles and other bold patterns would not work on the television cameras of the day. It was also filmed before the mini skirt had become mainstream. Bates even had to stop leaving hems on the mini skirts because the production team kept lowering them again. He also licensed his designs to several manufacturers under the Avengerswear label and these pieces were sold in various shops throughout the country. Diana Rigg is often remembered for the leather catsuit she wore early on in her first season. She in fact disliked wearing leather, so Bates designed softer stretch jersey and PVC catsuits for her instead.
For the colour season, the designer was Alun Hughes, who used bold colours and lurid, psychedelic patterns. Hughes also created the Emmapeeler catsuit, which was made of stretch jersey in bright block colours. The Emmapeelers and several other pieces from this season's wardrobe were also licensed and sold in the shops.

The character was revived and reworked for the 1998 film version of the show, with Uma Thurman playing Peel and Ralph Fiennes playing Steed. In the movie Mrs. Peel is a scientist working as part of the Prospero project - an attempt to influence the weather. When the project is sabotaged by someone who appears to be Mrs. Peel, she is investigated by Ministry agent, John Steed. They work together to investigate the sabotage, first questioning Sir August De Wynter, and then Wonderland Weather - a business that artificially creates weather. At Wonderland Weather Emma is attacked by an evil duplicate of herself, which is witnessed by Steed, verifying her innocence. Further investigation leads to Sir August who is now trying to blackmail the world's leaders with his control of the weather, but Steed and Mrs. Peel defeat him on his secret island.


  1. Nice try Uma but you are no Diana Rigg as Emma Peel; but not bad.

  2. Nice try Uma but you are no Diana Rigg as Emma Peel; but not bad.