Diana Rigg, 1960s icon of TV, film and stage, is best known for playing Emma Peel in the Avengers and Tracy Di Vicenzo, the only woman whom James Bond married. What is less well known about her is that she grew up in India, the daughter of a railway engineer in the final days of the British Raj. In Episode One of Empire’s Children she retraces her family’s journey to India to discover more about their life. Her father was employed by Maharaja Ganga Singh on the Rajasthan railway and was to work there for more than 20 years. But the Indian independence movement was already gathering pace. British rule, which had been maintained in India for over 300 years, would soon be swept away, forcing Louis and his family to return to a changed Britain.
Jenny Eclair is an award-winning comedian and novelist, regularly seen on the TV programme ‘Grumpy Old Women’. Jenny was a ‘Forces’ child, born in post-colonial Malaysia while her father, Derek Hargreaves, was posted there.Derek, now 82, was first posted to Malaya in 1952 as a lieutenant fighting the communist uprising in the jungle. Jenny wanted to retrace his footsteps and unravel his part in the Malayan Emergency, a 12-year guerrilla war fought by Malayan Chinese communists against the British. As military strategy turned to winning over the Malayans, the Emergency was to become known as the ‘Battle for Hearts and Minds’.
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