Strapped to the drainpipe: Emma Peel and the vinyl catsuit | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2045-5852
  • E-ISSN: 2045-5860


In 1965 Diana Rigg, aka Mrs Emma Peel, burst onto English television screens in the ‘spy-fi’ series The Avengers (Roy Baker, 1965) wearing, amongst other things, a skin-tight black vinyl catsuit. Her costumes offered a visual excess which reinforced the effects of the series’ highly stylized mise-en-scène. This visual excess was also played out in public life, where Mrs Peel’s clothes were available in retail outlets, and Diana Rigg as exemplary modern woman wore some of the styles both as public obligation and private pleasure. This article outlines the way the catsuit, as worn by Mrs Peel, is part of a technological nexus: its fabrication, its implicit and imminent activity and its sexual narrative. In her catsuit Mrs Peel represents and manifests the modern technological body, and this clothed body became central to conflict in The Avengers’ narrative. But despite being strapped to a drainpipe or bound into a catsuit Mrs Peel was always firmly in control.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): British television; catsuit; costume; Diana Rigg; The Avengers
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