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PEEL, Mrs. Emma
(The Avengers)
Penthouse Flat
Hampstead
[later at a studio flat
at Primrose Hill]
London, UK

Emma Peel [née Knight] is a widow. She is athletically fit, 5'-8½" in height and has an IQ of 152. In her spare time,  Mrs. Peel ("a talented amateur") works as a karate-kicking spy for the British Government. Her partner is the dashing Major John Steed.

Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel - 'The Avengers' © STUDIOCANAL and CANAL+ IMAGE UK Ltd.
 

When in need of a firearm Emma uses an Italian Beretta 7.65 pistol. To get about London, Mrs. Peel drives a white 1964 Lotus Elan S2 and later a powder blue 1966 Elan E3. [license: HNK-999C & SJH 4999D]. Emma is also the author of “Better Bridge Through Applied Mathematics,” a magazine article written for the June issue of The Bridge Players International Guide and she has researched an article for Science Weekly.

Emma’s father was Sir John Knight, the owner of Knight Industries. When he died, Emma, then 21-years-old, took over the helm of Knight Industries.

One of her first executive decisions was to sack Professor Keller, the Head of Automation because Keller wanted to take “automation to the ultimate degree. Replace man with machine. Subjugate him to it. Equate man with machine.”

Years later, a dying Keller forged a letter from the Emma’s family lawyer [H. W. Pennington of Pennington & Co. Solicitors] and lured Emma to a mansion in the country at Seven Pines in Pendelsham Hampshire near Route B31 with the promise of inheriting a mansion from her late uncle Jack [a bogus relative].

Filled with elaborate mazes, the solar-powered mansion was designed to imprison Emma for life to prove Keller’s theory that machines were superior to man or woman. Luckily, Emma short-circuited the computerized house of horrors and escaped.

During her stint with Steed, Emma offered her assistance on a variety of cases, including:

  • Finding missing scientists and diplomats
  • Investigating the death of man killed with a 300 year old bullet
  • Cracking down on a marriage bureau (Togetherness, Inc.) whose clients quickly learned the meaning of "till death do us part"
  • Escaping the deadly talons of a crazed comic book character called 'The Winged Avenger'
  • Being kidnapped by a mad movie director who wanted Mrs. Peel to star in his latest but deadly film production
  • Battling karate-chopping killer robots called Cybernauts.

Before each assignment Steed showed up at Emma's apartment and simply stated "Mrs. Peel – We're needed." Both Steed and Emma reported to a grumpy, wheelchair-bound male supervisor known as "Mother."

Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel and Patrick MacNee as John Steed - Photo courtesy of the TV series 'The Avengers' © STUDIOCANAL and CANAL+ IMAGE UK Ltd.
Emma and Steed track down the bad guys

After a happy association with Steed, Emma learned that her presumed dead husband, test pilot Peter Peel was alive (thought killed in a plane crash in an Amazonian jungle). Consequently, Emma departed Steed’s company.

Emma's final words of advice: "Always keep your bowler on in times of stress, and a watchful eye open for diabolical masterminds!" A compliant Steed replied, "I'll remember." Emma then kissed him on the cheek and said "Goodbye Steed." As she neared the door, Steed called "Emma," paused and then said, "Thanks."

Upon leaving Steed's apartment, Emma encountered his new incoming partner Tara King on his apartment staircase. There, Emma imparted these words of wisdom. "Ahem. He [Steed] likes his tea stirred anti-clockwise" [miming a stirring motion with her finger].

As Steed looked out his apartment window to see Emma one last time, she glanced back in a final goodbye gesture. Coincidentally, Emma's husband who greeted her at the car, looked surprising like Steed.


"Crimes against the people and the state
have to be avenged by agents extra-ordinary.
Two such people are John Steed, top professional…
and his partner, Emma Peel, talented amateur…
Otherwise known as — The Avengers."


TRIVIA NOTE: Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel dresses in tight but comfortably fitting outfits of black leather and other assorted colored jumpsuits which fostered lustful gazes and smiles. Her outfits came to be known as "Emma Peelers" Many were made of stretch fabrics with a recurring motif of buckles, links and braiding.

Marie Donaldson, the studio's press officer for THE AVENGERS series is credited with creating the character name "Emma Peel." She simply played around with the phrase "Man Appeal" [a trait truly part of the character's style] then shortened it to "M-appeal" and finally to "Emma Peel."

Elizabeth Shepherd was the original choice to play Emma Peel in the 1960s television series. However, she was replaced by Diana Rigg after filming just two episodes.

In the 1990s actress Andrea Parker played the role of Miss Parker, a cruel, domineering woman who relentlessly chased an adult genius named Jarod on the NBC series THE PRETENDERS. She was dubbed an evil ‘90s version of Emma Peel with dark hair and an alluring figure that wore tight micro-mini skirts and slacks.

In 1998, sultry actress Uma Thurman played the role of Emma Peel in the movie remake The Avengers co-starring Ralph Fiennes as John Steed.

Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel

Andrea Parker as Miss Parker - THE PRETENDERS

Uma Thurman as Mrs. Emma Peel - The Avengers Movie

The Good, the Bad and the Yummy!


THE AVENGERS/ABC/1961-69

Patrick Macnee as John Wickham Gascone Berresford Steed
Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale
Ingrid Hafner as Carol Wilson
 Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel
Arthur Hewlett as One-Twelve
Douglas Muir as One-Ten
Patrick Newell as Mother
Rhonda Parker as Rhonda
Diana Rigg as Emma Peel
Jon Rollason as Dr. Martin King
Julie Stevens as Venus Smith
Linda Thorson as Tara King


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