Dame Diana Rigg yesterday accepted almost £40,000 in libel damages from a newspaper that portrayed her as a lonely, embittered woman who held British men in contempt. The actress, best known for her role as Emma Peel in the television series, The Avengers, (pictured, right) sued Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Mail, over an article that claimed she had “low regard” for British men, and had left the country to retire and live a reclusive existence in France. The central question remains: How does she view British men?

Her solicitor, Tom Amlot, told the Court that the article was based on an interview Dame Diana had agreed to give the Mail to raise awareness of the Children With Aids Charity, of which she is a patron.

However, the article published in September last year, made it appear as though the whole interview had been about her private life. It falsely suggested that she had talked about the break-up of her second marriage and had discussed her first marriage.

Dame Diana, 65, who was in the High Court in London to hear the settlement, said: “I’m deeply relieved it’s all over and only sorry it took so long and so much money before justice and the truth prevailed.”

Matt McKenzie, for the newspaper, said that it was happy to set the record straight and apologised. The publisher agreed to pay £30,000 damages and £8,000 for violating Dame Diana’s privacy, plus her costs.

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