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