'Avengers' shakes up its spy team

And you see, chaps, Emma Peel's husband, the celebrated air hero, pops up from Amazonia.  So Emma busses Steed on the cheek and drives away.  Then, in walks this other..."

The transition that occurred Wednesday night in the British-made spy adventure series ‘The Avengers’ (ABC - channel 32), Louisville might thus have been kissed off in some most proper London club.

But we Americans are a nosy bunch and require more details. Emma, of course, is Diana Rigg, vis-à-vis to John Steed (Patrick Macnee) in the series that ABC has imported at mid-season three years in a row and at last has thought enough of to chalk in as a starter for next fall. Good show!


But Emma, in the person of the lean, graceful, boyishly-figured and mod-out-fitted Miss Rigg, won’t be around. Pity!

She’s quit to go back to Shakespeare and to do an English movie called ‘The Assassination Bureau".

And so it was Wednesday night, in the "Forget-Me-Knot" episode - the one in which we bade Emma goodbye. And she bades Steed goodbye, with a platonic kiss and a whisper. Steed, erudite and imperturbable, managed somehow to take it all veddy, veddy well.

Meanwhile, back at the spy school, as they say in American versions of this sort of thriller, a replacement loomed in the wings - a girl called Tara King. Lovely, energetic, winsome and all that. The girl’s real name is Linda Thorson. Her previous acting experience is non-existent.


After Miss Rigg said she was bowing out, two producers in a row quit during quarrels over what direction the show should take next.

The third producer’s description of Miss Thorson is probably as good as anybody’s. Says Brian Clemens (who also writes many of the shows): "She’s sexier, more pneumatic in build, with a bosom and hips."

Well, all right, whatever pneumatic as regards build, means.

Toronto-born Miss Thorson didn’t really get a chance to show whether her term or so at England’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art endowed her with sufficient acting credentials to fill Miss Rigg’s shoes.

Both wore sweaters Wednesday – and therein Miss Thorson filled sufficiently enough. But Diana Rigg, as show business people supposedly say, is a tough act to follow. Since "The Avengers" has a somewhat more sophisticated following than usual, one doubts that Miss Thorson can gain acceptance merely by the size of her clothes.

Linda Thorson came off in first viewing as just another pretty girl. Diana Rigg, on the other hand, has become something special, a girl whose appeal and femininity one doesn’t express in words or measurements but in wistfully vicarious smiles.

Once long ago, a fellow named Di Maggio vacated center field at a place called Yankee Stadium. And many said knowingly, "There’ll never be another Di Maggio." They were quite right, of course. But rather quickly there came a different fellow named Mantle, who’s still around.

Someday, maybe, they’ll be saying, "There’ll never be another Linda Thorson." Maybe. Just maybe."

From: The Louisville Courier-Journal, USA, March 22nd 1968.

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