Diana Rigg on The Sentimental Agent

About two years before starring as Emma Peel on The Avengers, Diana Rigg made her television debut in 1963 on The Sentimental Agent. The Sentimental Agent was a spin-off from another series, Man of the World, and starred Carlos Thompson as a sophisticated Argentinian import/export man who involved himself in various intrigues. The show only had 13 episodes.

The Sentimental Agent has the distinction of introducing Diana Rigg to the world of television. She had been performing on-stage since the 1950s, but in the early 1960s she decided to begin performing on TV. The Sentimental Agent was her first appearance, then she did a few teleplays before landing the role of Emma Peel on The Avengers.

Diana Rigg's Sentimental Agent episode, 'A Very Desirable Plot', was originally broadcast in late 1963. The episode takes place in the Caribbean, where a bunch of people have bought plots of land to build homes on. However, the land turns out to be unsuitable for building and the people are outraged to find that they may have been swindled out of their money. The suave Carlos Varela (played by Carlos Thompson) is the one who has sold these people prefabricated houses to put on their land and he is as surprised as they are to find out that the land is a swamp. After some of the landowners place blame on him for being involved with this scheme, he quickly sets about trying to rectify the situation. Carlos Varela must find the man who sold them the undesirable land and then lay a trap for him in order to rescue the large group of scam victims.

Diana Rigg plays Francy, the daughter of a retired British military man who has spent his savings to purchase land and a home in a tropical island paradise. Francy does not trust Carlos Varela and begins her own investigation. Of course, being as enchanting as she is, Carlos takes a liking to her and she appears to like him as well.

Its a bit hard to believe that this is someone's television debut because she acts so naturally. I guess being onstage for years previously had really paid off, because Diana Rigg is wonderful here. She displays all of the charm and understated exuberance that would make her famous a couple of years later in The Avengers. All in all, a very auspicious screen debut and its no wonder that she would become internationally known shortly thereafter.

Here are some images of Diana Rigg on The Sentimental Agent: