SPOKEN WORD
The Actor Speaks
Volume 3
Jacqueline Pearce

MJTV
RRP 9.99
Available now


MJTV's The Actor Speaks series returns to Blake's 7 territory for its third volume, with Mark J. Thompson talking to Servalan herself, Jacqueline Pearce - though they also briefly cover her appearance in the Doctor Who adventure The Two Doctors.

Pearce is clearly an eccentric individual: she likes to be called Jackson, and says "darling" a heck of lot. She also has a refreshingly laid-back attitude to acting, basing her performances on the scripts she is given, rather than employing a Dustin Hoffman-style method to "find" the part.

Examination of the back-story of the villainous Servalan therefore goes pretty much up the swannie: Pearce's view tends to be that Servalan was the way she was because the writers wrote her that way! However, she and Thompson do find inspiration for discussion in the character's depiction during the revelatory episode Sand, written by Tanith Lee. Pearce has a great deal of respect for Lee, who has provided one of the two monologues that are included on this CD.

The debate gets more in-depth when the subject turns to gender roles and how they are changing in modern society... not necessarily for the better in the actress's opinion. Don't worry, though - things get much more light-hearted during the quick-fire question-and-answer session, which involves queries sent in by viewers and listeners of MJTV productions. Pearce and Thompson clearly have a good laugh during this segment.

The CD also features excerpts from the actress's roles in Ghostlands, Written Off and Soldiers of Love, as well as a poetry reading and a couple of the now familiar style of monologues. As I mentioned earlier, one of these, "His Brother's Keeper", is written by Tanith Lee. However, I much prefer the second one, "Eyes Down" by Mark J. Thompson, which is very moving.

"Jackson" retains an essential mystique about her, but nevertheless Thompson succeeds in piercing the surface.

Richard McGinlay