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Avengers on the Radio designed, maintained and Copyright by Alan and Alys Hayes.

The Avengers is Copyright CANAL+IMAGE UK Ltd. No attempt to infringe this copyright is intended. 


Diane Appleby

British-born Diane Appleby commenced her acting career on stage in London's West End and in repertory theatre. She had also appeared in a television series, The First Lady, a BBC1 production from 1968/9 which, in time honoured fashion, the corporation duly destroyed not long after transmission. In 1969, Diane was lured to South Africa, initially for a twenty-week run at the Academy Theatre, Johannesburg, of the comedy Chase Me Comrade. The engagement lead to other theatrical work and Diane decided to stay in South Africa. An actress with a talent for comedy, she went on to feature in many further productions at the Academy and other theatres.

In 1971, Diane made the break into South African radio and ended up playing in many series. Her first roles were in the play series, such as Lux Radio Theatre and Playhouse 71, before landing the regular role of secretary Sally Walker in Jessica Marlowe. In late 1971, she was offered the role of Emma Peel in The Avengers, which she described in SAUK-SABC Bulletin as "a super part", noting that it had been very helpful to her to have been able to see screenings of the British television series upon which it was based. The series made Diane Appleby a household name in South Africa. Undoubtedly, her most memorable role in radio drama was in Jet Jungle, a long-running Springbok Radio adventure serial for children, in which she played the female lead, Samantha Muller, to Brian O'Shaughnessy's eponymous hero. She also provided the voice of Zack, an eight-year old boy.

A dependable and talented performer, Diane is also well-remembered for a bizarre recording session for Jet Jungle. At the time, she was heavily pregnant, and unable to stand for any length of time. Rather than miss the recording, Appleby asked if she might lie down to record the episode. Her request was granted, but this of course meant that the rest of the cast had to join her on the floor around the lowered microphone!

Diane went on to enjoy a successful career as a Dubbing Director in the South African film and television industry.

Sadly, Diane Appleby suffered a series of strokes in early November 2006, and died suddenly and unexpectedly on Thursday 9th November 2006, aged just 64. Diane was a major contributor to South African radio, television and film over four decades, and will be fondly remembered by many South Africans, and by Avengers fans throughout the world.


by Alan Hayes with Donald Monat and Frans Erasmus