David Parkin bids farewell to a Yorkshire dame and keeps up with the Kardashians

FAREWELL then Dame Diana Rigg, whose death, aged 82, was announced yesterday.

Her varied work as an actress over more than 65 years was known by many generations.

What I didn’t know until yesterday was that she was born in Yorkshire – in Doncaster – and educated at Fulneck Girls School in a Moravian settlement near Pudsey.

She trained as an actress at RADA between 1955 and 1957, where her classmates included Glenda Jackson and Sian Phillips, and won praise for early stage roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

As a talented actress with model looks it perhaps wasn’t surprising that she was picked to replace Honor Blackman when she left The Avengers to play Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger.

You could argue that with her wry sense of humour, self assured demeanour and high kicking self defence moves, Emma Peel was something of an icon to the growing feminist movement in the mid 1960s.

But for a generation of men it is the image of her in a leather catsuit that still burns bright.

Not me, I’m too young dear.

To be honest I always wanted to be Patrick Macnee as John Steed – those sharp suits, that bowler hat, the tightly furled umbrella – and if you watch the video below, the unique way in which he had the cork whipped off his champagne bottle.

She followed Honor Blackman into the Bond movies too, starring opposite George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969 and in the process becoming that perennial quiz question – the only woman to ever marry James Bond.

It didn’t last long, she was shot by Kojak, sorry I meant Blofeld, after the wedding.

After two such iconic and glamorous roles it would have been easy for Diana Rigg to settle for easy, well paid TV and film work, but she went back to her first love, the stage.

Her TV and film work in the years that followed won great praise and highlighted her many talents as an actress.

In recent years a whole new generation were introduced to her in the blockbuster HBO TV epic Game of Thrones where she brilliantly played the character of Olenna Tyrell, a wizened, scheming matriarch with a wicked wit and a sharp tongue.

She was like Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey – but with better access to poison.


Parky’s video clip of the week




TALKING of great TV performers, did you see that Keeping up with the Kardashian’s is to end after 14 years?

I hope they do a highlights show to mark this auspicious denouement.

Those 30 seconds will be brilliant.


I CAN’T help thinking that the socially bewildered ragtag bunch that call themselves Extinction Rebellion shot themselves in the foot with their latest protest.

By blockading several printing plants last week to prevent newspapers being delivered, the climate change activists said that they were highlighting how some mainstream media had failed to report accurately on climate change and said they were gathering to “free the truth”.

But isn’t one of the pillars of a democracy a free press?

And in stopping many newspapers being delivered last Saturday didn’t they affect a valued daily service for many older people (because let’s face it, they are the majority of newspaper readers these days) and the livelihoods of small business people who run newsagents shops?

Not surprisingly, the brunt of the action was against printing plants which produced newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch like The Times and The Sun but also The Daily Mail, the Daily Telegaph and the Financial Times.

Whether you agree or disagree with the political persuasion of these publications, they perform a valuable role holding a Government to account that has had the luxury of huge majority in the House of Commons and faces a pretty weak Labour Party only just sorting itself out.

If Extinction Rebellion can’t win hearts and minds by arguing their case then surely it is an admission of failure to try to shut down those you perceive as your opposition?

If I wasn’t so politically correct, I would have urged the police, who limply stood around and “assessed” the situation for several hours after the protesters set up their bamboo barricades, to tackle them with water cannons

From what I could see most of them looked like they could do with a damn good cold shower anyway.

But I’m not the type to say that.

So I won’t.


THE Duke and Duchess of Sussex have wasted no time in underwriting their new luxury lifestyle in Los Angeles by signing up with video streaming giant Netflix.

I don’t mean they are coughing up seven quid a month to stream endless box sets and badly made films.

No, unlike the rest of us, they are getting paid by the US media technology giant.

The deal, said to be worth $100m (£75m), will see Harry and Meghan involved in making documentaries, feature films, scripted television series and children’s shows.

On inking the new agreement, the couple said their programmes would “inform and give hope” through “powerful storytelling through a truthful and relatable lens” to “help us share impactful content that unlocks action”.

I won’t be watching that then.


THE return of this blog last week was greeted by some nice reactions, particularly to the news that I had a significant birthday and got engaged while I was away.

I’ve listed some of the comments below.

“Are you turning into Frankie Howerd?”

“I usually read the blog imagining a hubris of Frankie Howerd and Alan Bennett reading it to me!”

“Will you be wearing wellies at the wedding itself?”

“Congratulations David (and commiserations Harriet).”

“Wonderful to have you back to brighten up our Friday mornings and to read your latest ramblings and pontifications.”

And then there was the person who described the rather elegant slim-cut linen chemise I was wearing while pictured in Florence, as an “old 70s white see through cheesecloth shirt”.

And they were the people who enjoyed the blog…

Have a great weekend.

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