As part of her estate’s treasure trove, letters from top showbusiness stars were found that described their worst reviews. 

In response to Julie Christie’s requests to have lines taken from some of their best reviews, Ronnie Barker and Ian McKellen sent the original letters to Julie Christie.

These letters will be sold by the estate of Diana, who passed away last year at the age of 82, as part of an archive that includes scripts, photographs and awards, documents, scripts, jewellery, and other material. 

The Avengers actress was working on a book that would cover the worst theatrical reviews of all time. She reached out to celebrity friends and asked for their help.

Ronnie Barker, comedy icon and comedian extraordinaire, wrote one of the best letters. It was a review about his debut as a thespian at the Oxford Playhouse.

The Oxford Times review described The Cherry Orchard’s 22-year-old appearance as “the most monumental piece in mis-casting.” They added, “Never had anyone been at sea so much since Columbus.”

Letters from showbusiness greats to the late Dame Diana Rigg documenting the times they were panned by critics have been unearthed

A collection of letters from showbusiness legends, including the late Diana Rigg to document the time they were criticised by the media has been found

Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee are Emma Peel and John Steed, on the set of the TV Series The Avengers. In 1980, The Avengers star was putting together a book on the 'worst theatrical reviews in history' and reached out to her circle of celebrity friends for help

On the TV Series The Avengers, Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg are Emma Peel (John Steed) The Avengers’ star, Diana Rigg, was working on a book about the “worst theatrical reviews” and sought out help from her celebrity circle.

One of the stand-out letters was from comedy legend Ronnie Barker, who recalled a review of his performance as a fledgling thespian with the Oxford Playhouse. The review in the Oxford Times described the then 22-year-old's appearance in The Cherry Orchard as 'the most monumental piece of mis-casting.' It added: 'Never has anyone been so much at sea since Columbus.'

Ronnie Barker (comedian legend) was one of the most notable letters. He recalled his review of his debut as an Oxford Playhouse thespian. The Oxford Times’ review called Barker’s 22-year old appearance in The Cherry Orchard ‘the greatest piece of miscasting’. They added, “Never had anyone been at sea so much since Columbus.”

A Tony awards nomination certificate for My Fair Lady, 2018, an Emmy awards nomination certificate for Game of Thrones, 2013, and an Emmy awards nomination plaque for The Avengers, 1967 for Diana Rigg

An Emmy nomination plaque and a Tony Awards nomination Certificate for My Fair Lady (2018), an Emmy nomination certificate to Game of Thrones (2013), and an Emmy award nomination certificate in The Avengers 1967 for Diana Rigg

The Diana Rigg sale at the auction includes stills from her time in the 1960's hit The Avengers

The auction will include stills of Diana Rigg from the 1960 hit The Avengers.

Cleese, a Monty Python comedian wrote Rigg to tell him about the time that Rigg said that Cleese ’emits a sense of overwhelming vanity coupled with some unspecific cruelty’ onstage.

Ian McKellen was reminded by a critic who said something very harsh about his performance in Shakespeare plays: ‘The greatest thing about Ian McKellen’s Hamlet? His curtain-call.

Glenda Jackson said that her favorite critique was about her performance in Women in Love 1969. It read, “Gelnda has the face to launch a thousand Dredgers.”

Sir John Gielgud told of how he read once that he had the “most meaningless legs possible.”

Alex Guinness was the Oscar winner actor and wrote his review from Hampshire stating that the “hurtful” reviews had been written without a grain in wit. 

The collection, that is valued at over £75,000, also includes letters and personalised note cards from personalities including Laurence Olivier, Jon Voigt, Rex Harrison and Elaine Paige.

Olivier wrote a passionate letter saying that it was a pleasure to have worked with him. Olivier was talking about their 1983 TV version of King Lear.

In 1970, Tom Stoppard wrote 14 letters to Di discussing his theatrical productions. It is clear that he deeply cared for her in the letters he wrote to “Di”. One reads: ‘You were tremendously good last night, and you’re the soul of N & D [Night & Day].’

A plaque for Dianna Rigg's Emmy nomination for her role in the Avengers is part of the sale

Part of the sale is a plaque to commemorate Dianna Rigg’s Emmy nomination in recognition for her role as the Avengers’ Captain America.

Diana's collection of scripts from the theatre and TV form part of the sale at the auction

Part of the auction’s sale is Diana’s theatre- and television scripts collection.

The collection, that is valued at over £75,000, also includes letters and personalised note cards, as well as school reports (pictured)

The collection, that is valued at over £75,000, also includes letters and personalised note cards, as well as school reports (pictured) 

Diana has 23 film and theatrical scripts that she kept over the course of her career.

They were many times annotated and can be used to give insight into the act of acting.

Katherine Schofield is director of popular culture for London’s auctioneers Bonhams. She said that this collection was a fun, insightful one about the amazing Diana Rigg.

“Review letters are one of the best parts about the book. Diana set out to write a book, where she’d ask her friends to review it and share their favorite reviews.

“The overwhelming majority of respondents cited negative reviews, mostly because these are the ones that stay in your mind.

“But they’re hilarious, especially when you consider some of their names.

“Diana Rigg was such a British icon, and such an adored actor.”

Tomorrow is the day of the sale

She was a Yorkshire lad who became a Hollywood star and James Bond’s first woman.

Famous for her role as Emma Peel on Sixties TV Series The Avengers, then later as Bond Girl, Dame Diana was a recognizable figure.

However, she has also played many Shakespearean parts and had a long career. She was most recently Olenna Tyrell, the matriarch of Game Of Thrones.

Enid Diana Elizabeth Righ was born in Doncaster, July 20, 1938.

After completing her training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon (in 1959).

The role of the actress in The Taming Of The Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a key one.

Diana Rigg as the cutthroat matriarch Oleanna Tyrell in HBO's worldwide hit series, Game of Thrones, a show she admitted in 2019 that she had never watched

Diana Rigg portrays Oleanna Tyrell, the matriarch and cutthroat woman in HBO’s Game of Thrones series. This is a show that Rigg admitted she hadn’t seen before in 2019.

Rigg became the second Bond girl to marry 007 when she starred in James Bond 's On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969

Rigg became the second Bond girl to marry 007 when she starred in James Bond ‘s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969

She was a huge success in her role of Emma Peel (secret agent) in The Avengers with Patrick Macnee.

Diana, however, was not happy with the TV’s intrusion into her private life and also the treatment she received by the TV producers.

It was also revealed that her salary was lower than that of a photographer.

Variety reported later that actress ‘It wasn’t very intrusive during those days because it was immediately recognisable’.

“I was happy to have achieved success. But there was a cost to my happiness.”

She played Bond girl Tracy, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), opposite Bond actor George Lazenby. It was a complicated relationship.

She joined the National Theatre in 1970, and played key roles in Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers, The Misanthrope.

One critic described her as looking like a brick mausoleum, with inadequate flying buttresses, in a nude scene in Abelard And Heloise.

In the end, No Turn unstoned was her book on worst theatre reviews. This book was a huge success.