Emma Peel

Emma Peel, Catwoman role model

Role model for current Catwoman/Selina Kyle

Julie Newmar's Catwoman was not the only feline-suited female to make her debut on American television in March 1966. On 28 March 1966, The Avengers made its US debut on ABC television with the episode "The Cybernauts."

The third of ABC's crime-fighting triumverate to debut in 1965-66 (after The FBI and Batman), The Avengers actually made its debut on British television on 7 January 1961. Diana Rigg, who played Emma Peel, would not appear on the show until four years later.

But when she did, she made a major splash amongst the television audience. Mrs. Peel, in her earliest episodes, would wear a black catsuit; later on, she would wear more colourful outfits. And her fighting skills: She was an expert in karate and kung fu, usually defeating her male opponents. Compared to American leading ladies, Emma Peel was tougher and more formidable.

Ed Brubaker cited Emma Peel as a major influence when he revamped the Catwoman comic in 2001. By the same token, the "Webjefe" enjoyed Mrs. Peel when he saw her in the first US colour telecast of The Avengers. He saw that episode in his grandmother's apartment in Albany, NY, on 20 January 1967.

The 45th anniversary of the show's US debut was on 28 March 2011.


This page added on 28 March 2006, the 40th anniversary of the American debut of The Avengers. Updated 6 August 2011.

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