By Ika Willis
A woman crash-lands alone on a hostile planet in the middle of an intergalactic war. She's wearing a spotless, floor-length, white evening gown, pearls, and high heels. Over the next few hours, does she -
A: Cry/plead/get captured and wait patiently for rescue?
B: Have a blistering snog with a wanted criminal, flirt shamelessly with her host's daughter - then steal a weapon, shoot her host in the back, run off, and attempt to start up an arms trade with the natives?
If you answered B, well done! You have witnessed the phenomenon that is Servalan, President of the Terran Federation, Ruler of the High Council, Lord of the Inner and Outer Worlds, High Admiral of the Galactic Fleets, Lord General of the Six Armies, and Defender of the Earth.
Across all four series of Blake's 7, Servalan demonstrates for our edification and delight the skills that won her this impressive array of titles:
- Running In High Heels Across Quarries and Sandy Terrain;
- Gloating Over Captured Enemies (Rather Than Killing Them);
- Over-Elaborate Planning (Including Sufficient Loopholes To Let The Enemy Escape);
- Maintaining The Psychological Advantage Through Out-Dressing Enemies And Colleagues Alike.
Servalan: She's the High Admiral of Camp and Lord General of the Six Plot Devices.
But, of course, in a programme where the line between good and evil is blurred at the best of times, Servalan is never just a bad guy (or gal). Her confrontations with Avon and the rest are played for maximum (emotional) power by the astonishing Jacqueline Pearce, so that she is always a force to be reckoned with, always complex, always human.
From her very first scene in the episode Seek-Locate-Destroy, Servalan's increasingly desperate struggle to extend - or just hold onto - her own power is as compelling a storyline as Blake's ongoing rebellion against her regime.
Yet even when she's lost everything, bruised and teary, chained to the cellar wall of her own palace with Avon pointing a gun at her, she loses none of her unique strength and style. Breaking down? Revealing her feminine vulnerability? Blow that for a game of soldiers. Her scene with Avon sizzles with Servalanity and five minutes later she's back to the fray: on her feet with a gun in her hand.
Madam President, we salute you.
Visit the Servalan Gallery for more fashion tips and video clips >>
See a picture of the author in her Blake's 7 costume!
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