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Servalan

The last couple of weeks I’ve been watching my way through the four seasons of classic 1970s British science-fiction TV show, Blake’s 7. I’m sure I watched at least one episode—Series C, Episode 10’s Ultraworld—when I was a kid, but only one scene in that, where Cally is about to be fed into the gargantuan brain, I remember; that and the theme music. All the rest is as if I’m seeing it for the first time. I remember Blake and Avon of course, and the Liberator, and naturally Servalan, whom I think is the most perfect sociopathic villain I’ve ever seen, in TV, film, or book, sci-fi or otherwise. Villa also is familiar, as are Cally and Jenna, though Dayna I seem to have forgotten, despite her being also one of the best roles.

I’ve been watching it while paying attention to the new Doctor Who, the delightfully foul-mouthed Scot Peter Capaldi, who has caused some renewed interest in another show from my childhood, though the quality of the previous Doctor’s seasons have been fairly dismal and by comparison to Blake’s 7, well, really there’s no comparison. Blake’s 7 is to TV sci-fi as Bladerunner is to cinema.

Anyway, here’s an image of Servalan chained to a basement wall while offscreen Avon discovers he’s been betrayed for years by the only person he ever trusted. It’s superb, perverse, morally questionable fiction often as good as the best of Iain Banks, and amidst all the current rebooting of old TV shows and films it’s a real pity something as superior as this is languishing.

Servalan in Blake's 7 Series C, Episode 8: Rumours of Death
Servalan in Blake's 7 Series C, Episode 8: Rumours of Death