Prime Minister Theresa May says Doncaster-born actress Diana Rigg is her TV heroine

Prime Minister Theresa May is a fan of Doncaster born Diana Rigg.

Prime Minister Theresa May is a fan of Doncaster born Diana Rigg.

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Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed that Doncaster born actress Diana Rigg is one of her TV favourites.

Rigg’s performance as a leather catsuit-clad crime fighter in 60s show The Avengers was essential viewing for a young Theresa, the PM has revealed.

Mrs May said Rigg’s character, the high-kicking Emma Peel, who embodied the spirit of the swinging 60s in the cult spy series, was the closest she ever came to admiring a female role model.

The stylish yet lethal Mrs Peel, who once adopted a dominatrix outfit to outwit a criminal gang, was succeeded a decade later in The New Avengers by another May favourite, Joanna Lumley.

Giving a special interview in the Christmas Radio Times about her television tastes, during which she rules out emulating Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing, Mrs May was asked who her female role models were. “I enjoyed watching The Avengers with Diana Rigg and then Joanna Lumley,” the Prime Minister revealed.

“But I don’t think I thought about it in those terms. I have never had a female role model – I’ve always just got on with doing what I am doing.”

Rigg was born in Doncaster in 1938 but spent her childhood growing up in India.

Asked if she had joined the nation in cheering Mr Balls on Strictly Come Dancing, the Prime Minister could not bring herself to repeat David Cameron’s endorsement of the prancing politician.

“I like watching Strictly but my Saturday evenings tend to be busy so I wasn’t really able to see Ed. Just snatches on the Sunday results programme.”

Was she tempted to sign up for Strictly? “I can’t dance. It’s not a good idea.”

Mrs May picked her perfect Christmas night television schedule: “I always like to see Doctor Who on Christmas night, if possible, and a nice Agatha Christie to curl up with. David Suchet was a great Poirot – he got him to a T.”

There is no Poirot this Christmas night but ITV’s new Maigret drama starring Rowan Atkinson may provide a substitute sleuth.

Of her current television tastes, Mrs May said: “I enjoyed Scandi dramas Borgen (about a female Danish Prime Minister) and The Bridge. Years ago I thought Das Boot (claustrophobic German submarine epic) was very evocative.”