Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery on PBS, way back when Alistair Cooke introduced the various episodes and then Diana Rigg continued the role, were such a pleasure to watch. With distance of time, one is able to take a look back and truly enjoy not only the program content but the introductions themselves.
I have all the DVDs of the Brother Cadfael series that were aired on Mystery and I watch them on my big screen on the wall in my “tech” room. But in my bedroom, where I ride my exercise bike almost every morning now that winter is truly here, I watch tapes to take my mind off the workout, and as I sat there pedalling away the other day, it reminded me of how well-written the introductions were. For somewhere between three and five minutes, you got to listen to a fine speaker talking directly to you about the author, the background, the production itself, sometimes, and the mystery that is about to unfold. Some of these can still be found on YouTube.
I recently was reading an interview Rigg did with Stuart Jeffries of the Guardian and got thinking about how talented she is and what a varied career she has had. When I was researching the new Cutty Sark in Greenwich, England, I saw that she was doing a one-woman show in their evening theatre series based on her book NO TURN UNSTONED, a book of theatre reviews. I found that intriguing at the time and had wanted to get a copy of it. Listening to her introduce Monk’s Hood on Mystery reminded me, and so now it is on its way. (I love buying online. I love getting the email that says, “Your parcel has shipped!”) Can’t wait to read it.
In tootling around the web, I was delighted to learn that Dame Diana had only done one season of The Avengers when she learned that she was making less money than a cameraman, and so she held out for more before continuing to film. Way to go, Diana! Still acting and active, she is appearing this season in her continuing role of Lady Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones, a show I haven’t been following (since I gave up cable a couple of years ago) but am now definitely going to find a way to watch.
I’ve also discovered (better to arrive late than not at all) that she has starred in a British mystery series that has slipped through my radar called the Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, and in addition, there is a set of DVDs called Diana Rigg at the BBC. Great fare for mystery fans. There are many more DVDs available of movies and series starring Dame Diana that fans can browse through and add to their library; too numerous to mention here. Author Kathleen Tracy has written a biography of Rigg simply called Diana Rigg: The Biography, describing her as “one of the sexiest women ever to grace the television screen . . . a rebellious and outspoken woman who has always lived life on her own terms, defying both convention and authority.”