Jacqueline Pearce

Interview on the net at irc.scifi.com on Sat Nov 1st 1997.

This session has been edited for clarity and continuity.
QuestionJacqeuline's Answer
Why was Servalan absent from the final episode, "Blake"? Basically because the schmucks decided not to put me in it!
Do you still get recognized for the show after all this time? Yes and it's becoming even more frequent now. A new generation of young people have discovered the show on video.
Was it fun being that evil? Yes, of course. It was great fun!
What do you recall as your favorite moment on the show? I very much enjoyed the seduction scene that I did with Steven Pacey in the episode Sand.
Jacqueline, thanks for all the pleasure you've given us with your portrayal of Servalam; what other series work or films have you done? My recent films include White Mischief, Princess Caraboo. Recent television has included The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and I did a previously unperformed play by Arnold Wesker called When God Wanted a Son earlier this year.
You were in a Wesker play? Wow! Actually, I've always thought you'd make a wonderful Lady Macbeth - have you had the opportunity? No I haven't yet but I know what you mean. There were elements of her in Servalan...
What was it like to work on Doctor Who, with Patrick Troughton and Colin Baker on the same set? I had a ball on Doctor Who, and I loved being on the same set with both those men.
Pardon me if this has already been asked, but is there any chance of a Blake's 7 return? I have just recorded a 90 min radio play which is going to be broadcast on BBC radio in January. Already it's generating a lot of interest.
Jacqueline: will the radio play be on the World Service, or available elsewhere in the world? It will indeed be transmitted on the World Service (for which we recorded an extra 10 mins) and it will be released on cassette in January.
Jacqueline, do you enjoy working in television over radio? No, I preferred radio to television. I find it much more stimulating both for the performer and I think also for the listener. I would actually like to see Blake's 7 continue on the radio rather than tv.
Jacqueline, do you see the BBC having any further interest in B7 on radio? They'll wait and see what the response is to the one in January.
About the recent radio drama, does it take place after the series or during? If after, which characters are involved? It takes place during Season 4 and involves most of the regulars featured in Season 4.
Hello Jacqueline, no questions about your work, just like to know who your favourite poet is, and favourite novel writer? My favourite novel writer is Charlotte Bronte because she wrote my favourite book, Jane Eyre. I find Mr Rochester the most attractive man in literature but alas that's where he remains. My favourite poet is Charlotte's sister Emily who wrote No Coward Soul is Mine.
What sort of training have you had as an actor? Drama school, RADA, RSC, repertory...? RADA, and I am a member of the Actor's Studio in America.
You and Paul Darrow had great chemistry on the show. How much of that was script and how much was you and Paul? I would say that initally it was Paul and I, and the better the writing we had to work with enhanced the relationship.
I've seen a few a few episodes of Blake's 7 on PBS a few year ago and found it interesting. But didn't know much about the story. Could you give us "less enlightened" a brief synopis? It was basically Robin Hood in space and I was King John!
Hmm, Robin Hood in space. Another question, what do you find more interesting to work on, science fiction or regular drama? It really doesn't matter as long as the part is emotionally challenging.
How many episodes and/or seasons were there to Blake's 7? Four seasons and fifty two episodes. I did twenty-nine.
Blakes 7 has a huge fan following here in Australia, especially among those of us who saw it on its first run; any plans to visit Australia, or are we going to have organise a special convention to get you out here? I have done a convention in New Zealand and I stopped off in Sydney, which I adored, on the way home. But do feel free to organise a special convention!
For the most part, Servalan was evil to the core, but every once in a while we saw a bit of humanity peek through. What kind of woman do you think she was? A very damaged woman.
Do you think you will ever play Servalan (or Sleer) again? It wouldn't surprise me. I know that the BBC want to do something with it. Quite what remains to be seen.
If they bring back Blake's 7 in any form would they recast roles or get the original actors for as many as possible? They did their best to get everyone back for the radio play. Josette and Glynnis were unavailable so their parts were recast.
When you were chosen for the role of Servalan - apart from it being regular work - did you think "Oh dear, a science fiction tv show, this is the end"? No, I was very unfamiliar with Science Fiction so it was a whole new world to me.
Do you believe the optimistic (Star Trek) or the pesimistic (Blake's 7) view of our future is more realisitic? Someone said to me once that a pessimist is an informed optomist. I think we are probably living in one of the most exciting times in history. Anything could happen, which I personally find exciting. It would be nice to think that this time we won't destroy ourselves, as I believe the Egyptians did, with the technology that we've developed. This depends, I think, on the degree of our spiritual evolution.
What sort of preparation did you find useful in preparing to play an arch-Machiavellian queen of the cosmos? It was as easy as falling off a log!
Do you have a favorite line of dialog as Servalan? It was from Sand: "There are no women like me, I am unique. That makes me rather dangerous."
When you aren't busy working, what do you like to do ( hobbies, activities, etc)? Sex, drugs and rock and roll!
How deep in your own personality did you have to dig to find Servalan? I think she was my alter ego, but it was great shock when we met!
During the time you were playing Servalan, did you find men in your life reacting to you differently? Perhaps some of the image of the role being transferred to you in their minds, and them reacting? Yes, I think men found her/me very challenging! And still do...
Do you have a husband, kids and ?(lost in transmission) No to all three really.
Have you ever done any directing or are you an acting only actor? I've no desire whatsoever to direct!
Servalan is one of the few strong female roles in SF, and in popular culture overall; are there any other strong female roles you'd like to play? I'd like to play Maria Callas. But, I don't sit here yearning to play parts that I never have. I love surprises so I wait and see what comes my way.
What persuaded you to become an actor in the first place? Persuasion had nothing to do with it. It's something I can do. It sounds extremely pretentious to say that it chose me, but I think it did.
What was your first job as an actor? It was a television play by James Saunders called Watch Me, I'm a Bird in 1964. I played a waitress with John Hurt and Ian McShane.
What do you like/dislike about a "cyberspace convention" compared to a "real convention"? This is a first for me and I'm loving it! Tonight I lost my virginity to cyberspace!!!
Did I see you in an episode of Mr. Bean or was I just halucinating? You were just halucinating honey - big time!
Have you worked with Blake's 7 cast members on other projects since it ended and what were they? I worked with Paul Darrow on a computer game called The Eye which Queen wrote the music for.
Pearce, Darrow and music by Queen? Gotta get it! Can you tell us who distributes The Eye? It's being released as we speak but alas I don't know the distributor. I know that Paul Darrow has written the novel based on the game and that is being published by Boxtree.
Jacqueline, have you given any thought to writing a Blake's 7 book from the perspective of Servalan's character like Paul Darrow did with _Avon_? Never, is the short answer. I'm interested in playing her not writing about her.
How did the rest of the cast react to the decision to retain the title after Blake was written out of the show? No one gave a f*** as long as they were in it!
If Servalan lived in the twentieth century, what kind of job would she have? She would be a very high-class courtesan!
Did you feel it was a bit of a cheat that Blake's crew usually got out of trouble by using 'alien' technology? It was lazy writing. Therefore, it was a cheat.
How come Avon couldn't kill Servalan in the basement of the palace? Was there too much admiration for her? Yes, I think there was and his life would be seriously diminished without her.
Why do you think that they didn't have Servalan triumphant in the final episode? Because the line between Servalan and Jacqueline Pearce had become very blurred to the Powers that Be within the BBC. I felt that their decision not to have me in the last episode was made for personal, not professional, reasons. They felt threatend by me/Servalan.
Are you coming to the US in the near future? Not to my knowledge but you never know. That could change tomorrow. I hope I will go soon, I love America.
I want to thank you so very much for taking the time to be here Jacqueline! It was great "talking" with you... I've absolutely loved it! Thank you very much for inviting me. Lot's of love.

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Last updated on 17th of October 1999.