It is well known that the Lustrian goddess Rigg in early Warhammer was inspired by the British actress Diana Rigg. Some years ago Zhu Bajiee suggested that specifically her appearance in a 1979 BBC TV adaptation of the Oresteia might have been an influence. The adaptation was The Serpent Son, and was notable, amongst other things, for its distinctive costumes. The programme has rarely been repeated and few images exist of it. However, I have found several photographs and stills from it that were apparently unavailable to Zhu Bajiee. I thought I would share them here, including colour images of Helen Mirren’s “punk hairstyle the colour of raw carrots”.
A restoration of the cover of Radio Times 2886 (3-9 March 1979), featuring Diana Rigg as Clytaemnestra
2012 promotional poster, featuring Diana Rigg as Clytaemnestra
Diana Rigg and Denis Quilley as Clytaemnestra and Agamemnon
Denis Quilley as Agamemnon
Images of Denis Quilley and Terrence Hardiman as Agamemnon and Aegisthus, from Radio Times
Stills of Helen Mirren as Cassandra
Helen Mirren and Diana Rigg as Cassandra and Clytaemnestra
Promotional still of Dennis Quilley, Diana Rigg and Helen Mirren as Agamemnon, Clytaemnestra and Cassandra
Sylvia Kay, Siân Phillips and Linda Thorson as Furies
Although the Serpent Son costumes seem to blend ancient and futuristic elements in a fashion not dissimilar to that of Halliwell’s Lustria, there are no specific details in these costumes that are repeated in the illustrations of the goddess Rigg or her Amazon followers. Instead, the illustrations seem to combine punk, classical, Mesoamerican and native north American influences.
This does not, of course, prove there was no connection. The influence might have been less direct. Moreover, the illustrations were drawn not by the creator of Rigg and the Amazons, Richard Halliwell, but by Tony Ackland and John Blanche. It is possible their inspirations were different from Halliwell’s. Halliwell’s only comment on Rigg’s appearance describes her as “giant… at least nine feet tall, red hair and eyes”. We might very tentatively connect the “red eyes” with Diana Rigg’s eye make-up in The Serpent Son, but ultimately we have very little to go on.
Illustrations of Amazons and the goddess Rigg from the second Citadel Compendium (1984)
Internal art by John Blanche and Tony Ackland. Images used without permission. No challenge intended to the rights holders.