While the BBC’s science fiction output of the 1970s and 1980s, Dr Who, Blake’s 7 and the comedy show Red Dwarf, always had budget-restricted creaky sets and low-rent special effects, they did the best with what they had, and their inventive story lines and interesting characters often made up for their low production values. One of these characters was Servalan, a kind of hard-as-nails villainess commander of the evil empire side in the Terry Nation-created Blake’s 7 TV series. She was memorably played by Jacqueline Pierce, who, we are sad to report, has just died at the age of 74 after suffering from lung cancer.

Jacqueline Pierce as Servalan in the BBC’S Blake’s Seven. Courtesy: BBC

Pearce’s sexy dominatrix-like ruthlessness in her “Servalan” bi**h persona may have kept many a teenage (and older) chap thinking hard, but, as your correspondent once found out, actually working for someone like that is not so fun in reality!

Nevertheless, we at Seradata salute Jacqueline Pearce for her performance and give our condolences to her family and friends.

Seradata is also sad to report the death of Hollywood actor Burt Reynolds at the age of 82 from cardiac arrest. Looking like a cross between actors Marlon Brando and Stanley Baker, at his peak Reynolds looked like the very symbol of sexual virility in the 1970s. In fact this egocentric beefcake of a macho fighting machine was even convinced to pose nude for a women’s magazine.

It may be significant that while Reynolds originally rose to fame in the tough-to-watch survival thriller Deliverance (1972), he strengthened his career via amusing car chase films including Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and The Cannonball Run (1981). For while the normally moustachioed Burt might have looked a tad too mean and serious-looking at times, actually he had a very good sense of humour and was known to be very nice to his fellow actors and stuntmen on set, even if none of his multiple relationships and marriages worked out off it.

By the 1990s, Burt Reynolds’ physical powers and acting career had started to falter. However he finally gained deserved critical acclaim for his tongue-in-cheek performance as an adult film producer in Boogie Nights (1997). Burt Reynolds continued to work up right to his death and we give our condolences to Burn Reynolds’ ex-wives, family and friends.

Burt Reynolds in Deliverance (1972). Courtesy: via Rogerebert.com

We are also sad to report the death from post-operative complications of the British actress Liz Fraser at the age of 88. She became the glamorous but unworldly blonde character in many of the British comedy films of the 1950s and 1960s, usually playing opposite Peter Sellars, Ian Carmichael or Sid James. Her best films include I’m All Right, Jack (1959), Two Way Stretch (1960) and Carry On Cruising (1962).  By the mid 1970s, her film career had started to wane, as, had the British film industry in general, and Liz Fraser found her self in some not-so-good sex comedies which were neither very sexy nor very funny. However, Liz Fraser continued to work on and off in television drama and comedies right up to her death. Our salute to her and our condolences to her family and friends.

Liz Fraser in I’m all right, Jack (1959) Courtesy: Studiocanal

We are also sad to say goodbye to Fenella Fielding who has passed away at the age of 90. While the amusing Fenella Fielding did not have a long film career – she was originally a classical stage actress – her vampish nature and sultry voice became famous in the spoof horror British film comedy Carry on Screaming (1966).  She also amused in Doctor in Clover (1966) and other film and TV appearances. We recommend Carry on Screaming especially.  We salute Fenella and give our condolences to her family and friends.  See Fenella’s famous “Do you mind if I smoke” scene here.

Fenella Fielding has a smoke in Carry on Screaming (1966). Courtesy: Peter Rogers Productions

Post script:  And it is a sad goodbye to Denis Norden who has passed away at the grand old age of 96.  Norden was a well known British comedy writer who worked with the late great Frank Muir, and who also presented the TV outtake show “It will be Alright on the Night”,  a long running and much copied favourite.