WCW: Rachael Stirling


I had no idea that Rachael Stirling was Diana Rigg‘s daughter until I went to research this post, y’all. I just knew her as the dark-haired beauty with the really interesting voice who knocked my socks off in Tipping the Velvet, and who every time she pops up in something I get excited. Onwards!


The Triumph of Love (2001)

A super meh attempt at cross-dressing and crossed-lovers in a vague 18th-century setting. Stirling plays a ruler’s daughter who falls in love with the kingdom’s rightful heir.

2001 The Triumph of Love

The costumes are all “fine,” from what I remember.


Tipping the Velvet (2002)

Cross-dressing late 19th-century vaudeville performers fall in love! Such a wonderful series! Stirling plays Nan, a shy oyster girl who ventures out onto the stage and learns a whole lot about herself.

Tipping the Velvet (2002)

Cute hats!

Nan embraces her new identity.

2002 Tipping the Velvet


2002 Tipping the Velvet

There’s some girly too.


Poirot: Five Little Pigs (2003)

One episode of the famous 1930s-set Belgian detective, based on the Agatha Christie novels.

2003 Poirot- Five Little Pigs


Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage (2004)

More Agatha Christie, this time in the 1950s!

2004 Agatha Christie's Marple- The Murder at the Vicarage

That’s a great ensemble on Stirling! Black & white ftw!


Riot at the Rite (2005)

The backstory on the premiere of Stravinksy’s “The Rite of Spring,” performed in 1913 Paris by the Ballet Russes. Stirling plays ballerina Marie Rambert.

I’m so confused.

2005 Riot at the Rite

I guess it’s Russian folkloric?


The Haunted Airman (2006)

Robert Pattinson is a wounded RAF pilot during World War II; Stirling plays his aunt-in-law in this psychological thriller.

2006 The Haunted Airman

ROBERT PATTINSON, RACHAEL STIRLING & JULIAN SANDS.in The Haunted Airman.rob.*Filmstill – Editorial Use Only*.CAP/PLF.Supplied by Capital Pictures.


The Young Victoria (2009)

In this story of Queen Victoria’s early reign, Stirling plays the Duchess of Sutherland, who was a lady-in-waiting to the queen. When Victoria refused to dismiss Sutherland (and other ladies) after an election changed the ruling party, the Bedchamber Crisis of 1839 returned the previous party to power.

The Young Victoria 2009

Nice lace!

The Young Victoria 2009

Love the sheer striped tiers.


Centurion (2010)

What sounds like a very “meh” movie about Romans soldiering in Scotland. Stirling plays the Roman Governor’s daughter.

2010 Centurion

Did someone get confused while wrapping gifts?


Women in Love (2011)

Based on a novel by D.H. Lawrence, Stirling plays one of two 1920s sisters who “try to find sexual fulfillment and love in a painful, overly intellectual way,” to quote my own review.

women in love 2011
2011 Women in Love

Nice hat!


The Bletchley Circle (2012-14)

A series of World War II codebreakers, now in the 1950s, join together to solve a murder mystery. Stirling plays the independent Millie.

The Bletchley Circle (2012-2014) 2012-14 The Bletchley Circle 2012-14 The Bletchley Circle


Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror (2013)

The Doctor travels to 1890s Yorkshire where people in a utopian community are dying. Stirling plays a victim of her mother’s (Diana Rigg) character.

2013 Doctor Who The Crimson Horror


Churchill’s Secret (2016)

In 1953, Churchill has suffered a stroke. Stirling plays his daughter, Sarah.

2016 Churchill's Secret



Their Finest (2016)

During World War II, the Ministry of Information is producing propaganda; Stirling plays an executive at the Ministry.

2016 Their Finest 2016 Their Finest


The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (2018)

The Bletchley codebreakers travel to 1950s San Francisco to solve more murders.

2018 The Bletchley Circle- San Francisco The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (2018)


What’s your favorite Rachael Stirling historical costume role?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

14 Responses

  1. mmcquown

    In the Triumph of Love pic she looks most like her mother; her left side seems to favour her. Unfortunately, most of these shows haven’t appeared here. Lovely that she got to work with her mother in the Dr Who episode. “Breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never to himself has said, “Mrs Peel, we’re needed.” From a fan magazine called “Rigger Digger.”

  2. Roxana

    I didn’t know she was Diana Rigg’s daughter either, but looking at that header image I can see the resemblance.

  3. Frannie Germeshausen

    We recently re-watched “Five Little Pigs.” She was great in that. What a glorious voice she has!

  4. Brandy Loutherback

    Appearantly Robert Pattinson is good, outside of those godawful Twilight movies?

  5. J Lou

    Churchill’s daughter Sarah was also an actress, best known for playing the love interest of Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding (1951). She was 37; he was 52.

    Back to the subject at hand: I adore The Bletchley Circle, and want all of the clothes! I loved Rachel as the independent one.

  6. Andrea Makes Things

    The navy pantsuit in Bletchley. The cropped jacket, the wide legs, the orange blouse underneath – all perfection!

  7. Ellen

    In The Triumph of Love, Rachael Stirling plays the lady’s maid to the ruler’s daughter chasing the gentleman around, I believe.

  8. Aleko

    Those costumes in ‘The Rite Riot’ are close copies of the ones in the original production that caused the riot: in fact that shot was created as a copy of an original photo – see here: https://theartsdesk.com/dance/still-shocking-rite-spring-100-years. The costumes were by Nicolas Roerich and are not so much ‘Russian folkloric’ as an imagination of what pagan medieval Russian peasants might have worn, very heavily stylised.

    • MoHub

      Precisely. You beat me to the explanation. Also, it took some time, but the original choreography of The Rite of Spring was recreated only a couple of decades ago.


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