Of All Trades
The Stage: Su Pollard Interview
Look who's talking; Performances on
stage, screen and radio, tours to New Zealand and
even a couple of appearances aboard the QE2 - Su
Pollard has done it all
Su Pollard claims she was the first girl to sing
Ave Maria on the club circuit wearing hotpants.
She is probably the only one.
The effervescent actress has literally turned her
hand to every kind of performance from cabaret to
pantomime and television to summer seasons.
Perhaps best known for her role as Peggy in
Hi-De-Hi! Pollard is currently reunited with two
of the hit comedy's stars, Jeffrey Holland and
Paul Shane, in the BBC's Oh Doctor Beeching!
She plays Ethel, the booking office manageress at
a sleepy, rural railway station in the sixties.
And although the character has a different,
slightly more glamorous, physical image to
Pollard's usual roles, the basic trait is still
there - she is on the lookout for a man.
"Ethel's husband disappeared during the war
and she was left with a lad to bring up, so
really she could do with someone to look after
them," explains Pollard. "It was
fabulous fun to film, though. The outside
location was marvellous. It was a little village
near Kidderminster where The 39 Steps was filmed
and was so lovely it was almost like going on
your holidays for three weeks."
Pollard also enjoyed getting back to work with
some old chums. She starred alongside Shane and
Holland in You Rang M'Lord, another David Croft
project, and said it was just like old time.
"Altogether it has been three months of very
concentrated work, learning a lot of lines and
doing lots of comedy, but you don't mind hard
work when it is such fun. We all like each other
and have a brilliant working relationship, so it
has been such a nice experience."
Next month Pollard is off to New Zealand for a 20
week tour of the Good Sex Guide with You, which
she describes as a mix between the Benny Hill
Show and saucy seaside postcards.
"It's full of sketches and parodies of well
known numbers, more structured than a cabaret,
though, with plenty of dialogue. It is most
certainly not soft porn, just a bit of fun,"
she stresses. "Most people in the world are
curious about sex, especially when it involves
other people. So it should go down well
especially in New Zealand where they don't have
any theatrical overkill."
Pollard has toured New Zealand before, in the
cast of Don't Dress for Dinner, and says she is
looking forward to returning to such a friendly
place. But adds: "Life there is so slow and
laid-back. After a while I just needed some
stress and angst!"
The lively entertainer began her career in
touring musicals and more recently starred in a
nationwide tour of The Little Shop of Horrors.
However, seasonal work has always remained a
favourite of Pollard's and she recently completed
a summer season at Blackpool's North Pier.
"I'll be pulling on my tights again for
panto this Christmas," says Pollard, one of
the country's most popular principal boys. This
time it will be as Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk
in Cardiff. Her cabaret acts have taken Pollard
from the London Hippodrome to two stints aboard
the QE2. She has also performed in New York and
toured with the Su Pollard Show all over the UK.
"I would like to start doing more
cabaret," she admits. "I really enjoy
the work and would love to fix up some dates at
venues as diverse as the Green Room and Halifax
Another area Pollard would like to dive back into
is recording. Her single Starting Together
reached No.2 in the charts and she is proud to
admit that the accompanying album went silver.
"The trouble is sometimes it is so difficult
to have parallel careers," she says.
"But I don't like to limit myself. I have
always been up for anything and believe that one
of the great things about showbusiness is the
diversity and the fact that you can take a
Pollard is about to begin recording a fifth
series of For Better or for Worse for radio along
with Gorden Kaye. Radio is a medium she really
enjoys but, if pushed, the actress confesses that
live work gives her an unbeatable buzz.
"I think I really do prefer the theatre
because you get more than one stab at a job. If
you lose a laugh one night you can get it back
the next time. Although the experience of working
in front of a live television audience is
exciting, you always know there will be the
opportunity for one or two takes. I suppose it
boils down to the fact that there is more
responsibility on a performer to get it right the
By Lisa Vanoli
18th July 1996