ENTER EMMA PEEL, wearing lace and lame catsuits, thigh-high Op-art dresses, white shadow-striped nylons.

Gun-toting Emma Peel replaces Cathy Gale, the black-leather-girl who fought her way to fame alongside John Steed in ABC-TV's The Avengers.

When the fourth 26-episode series begins this month on ABC-TV, all eyes will be focused on "new girl" Emma, played by Yorkshire actress, Diana Rigg.

She's quite a different cup of tea from Honor Blackman's Cathy Gale. She's gayer, wittier and even brings fun into her fight sequences with underhand tricks that Cathy Gale would have deplored.

Emma Peel is the daughter of a shipping magnate and the young widow of a test pilot. She drives a fast European sports car and, like Cathy Gale, lives in a luxury penthouse and is a judo and karate expert.

She's a fighting girl in the best Avengers tradition. But she's also a feminine girl - and even a funny girl. And her clothes!... mostly they're nothing short of sensational.

When work began on this series, Emma wore the tailored leather-look which Cathy Gale made famous - at the request of American TV stations.

Then world fashion changed - and to keep the avant-garde reputation of The Avengers, Emma Peel's wardrobe underwent a big change, also.

London fashion designer John Bates, whose gear is always a rave with forward-looking girls about town, was called in.

From then on, Emma's victimes had more to combat than her fighting strategy.

What man wouldn't be overcome by an Amazon in sex-kitten's clothing?

Take Emma's white lace over flesh-fabric catsuit - what could be sexier? Only, perhaps, her blue lame bra and matching hipster trousers, which she wears for scenes in an old Scottish castle.

Of course she does wear clothes of a more "butch" type. Like her black stretch jersey fighting suits for daytime. Or even a black leather fighting suit with a side-buckled waist and gun-pouch.

But even the black-leather number is softened by a white crepe blouse. And it fits like a second skin.

Diana Rigg, what's more, is just the girl to get away with murder in this gear - even if she never lifted a finger.

She's a statuesque, auburn-haired beauty who stands 5ft. 9in. in her bare feet and measures 36-24-26 - a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a one-time fashion model.

"On Diana everything looks good," said her admiring co-star Patrick Macnee, always rated a "best-dresser" himself.

And it's a certainty there'll be lots of Australian Emma Peels in the months to come.

For John Bates clothes will be selling off-the-peg in countries where the series is shown.

Photo-caption One.

BELOW: Diana in a John Bates-designed Op-art outfit, called Hill. It's a white wool coat with a black cross and matching dress (called Calvary). Completing the outfit are Avengers gloves, shadow strip stocking and sling-back shoes. The coat sells in Britain for 22 guineas and the dress for eight guineas.

Photo-caption Two.

LEFT: Diana in Emma Peel's catsuit. It's very feminine - white lace over flesh pink. It sells in Britain for 13 guineas. The grey suit being worn by Diana's co-star, Patrick Macnee, he designed himself.

Photo-caption Three.

RIGHT: Diana in another John Bates outfit, a black leather trouser suit. With buckled crossover, it sells for 24 guineas in Britain. The white crepe blouse is six and a half guineas.

From TV Week, Australia, January 8, 1966. Written by Roslyn Owen in London.

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