Mail sued over 'Diana Rigg to retire' article

Actress Diana Rigg is suing Associated Newspapers for libel damages after complaining about stories in the Daily Mail and Evening Standard.

She is suing over a story in the Mail written by Jane Kelly headed "Diana Rigg attacks British men – and announces her retirement. My husband’s affair with Joely Richardson left me mourning for years. Now I’m finished with marriage and men."

Rigg claims the story, published on 19 September, meant she had chosen to reveal herself as a lonely, embittered, rejected and vengeful woman, by attacking British men, by talking about not having a man in her life, and of her bitterness about her husband’s adultery and her failed marriage.

The story also meant she was so desperate she was now looking abroad for love, while bizarrely and pathetically claiming to be finished with marriage and men, and likes to brag about her charity work, according to a High Court writ.

She claims she had agreed to give an interview to Kelly as the basis for a 1,500 word piece about the charity Children with Aids, of which she is a patron, but says she was tricked.

The resulting 45-paragraph story contained only two references to the charity, one of which said she would not go to the charity’s ball because she had no one to go with. The other, she says, was a footnote giving details of tickets for the ball.

The actress says the story included various deliberate lies, and that after her letters of complaint to the Daily Mail, the paper sent journalist Peter Scott and a photographer to her house in France and questioned neighbours, as well as taking surreptitious pictures of her.

She is suing over a second story in the Mail, published on 21 October and headed "For Diana the lone Avenger, happiness is a French village where nobody knows your name", and a story in the Standard headed "Sleepy French hideaway Diana Rigg calls home".

Rigg claims the Daily Mail behaved dishonestly, tricking her into an interview, and published false words, with the motive of enriching itself. The suggestion that she was retiring was calculated to cause her financial damage as an actress, she alleges, and was published maliciously.

The Mail’s lawyer, Eddie Young, said this week the writ had only just been served and the legal department was looking into it.


By Sarah Limbrick

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