Without knowing it, I first met Dame Diana Rigg on the afternoon of 23 June 2016, United Kingdom European Union membership referendum day. The day after, I described our meeting thus:
Later that afternoon another lady, who seemed vaguely familiar, came to sit next to me and rest a while and we got chatting. We must have spent 20 minutes covering English history, literature and culture till I finally told her she ought to go in and cast her vote. When she had done so she came out, handed me her card, flashed me a smile and said “I voted Communist”.
After 43 years the United Kingdom left the European Union and the Prime Minister tendered his resignation.
Dear Dame Diana Rigg, I am so very sorry I could not put a name to you until today, but I was in love with you in The Avengers, and next time you vote please come and sit with me again.
In fact, my next meeting with her was also unplanned, in the crockery section of Peter Jones department store, where we talked about the art of accosting women, and whether the presence of so many fragile ceramic pieces would inhibit the development of a passionate affair. My proposals were met with considerable mischief on her part.
Sir Tom Stoppard said of her: “For half her life Diana was the most beautiful woman in the room, but she was what used to be called a trooper. She went to work with her sleeves rolled up and a smile for everyone. Her talent was luminous”.
She was more than a trooper, she was a star.