& A with Su Pollard: by Kerry Ann
give you a taster of how Leisure's encounter with
Hi De Hi star Su Pollard went, let's just say the
conversation started with the actress mistaking
News Shopper for Happy Shopper.
"I've obviously got
the wrong bloody thing, the wrong end of the
stick," she laughs when I explain News
Shopper isn't a supermarket-owned magazine.
On hilarious form, Su was
in Bromley to promote her new show Shout, also
starring stage starlet Claire Sweeney, which
opens at The Churchill theatre this week.
Just like her legendary
character Peggy Ollerenshaw in holiday camp
comedy Hi De Hi, she's bubbly, talkative and very
Tell me a little about
It's great to acting in
something that's really feel-good, for the
performers as well as the audience. It's lovely
as well because loads of people can identify with
the 1960s. Even the younger ones have got some
sort of story which has been passed down from
I actually play an aunty.
Aunty Vonnie, Claire's character Ruby's aunty.
Ruby just wants to try her
luck in London. She gets restless and wants to
have a new adventure. So she rings her aunty
Vonnie and asks, can I come and stay with you
until I get sorted'.
What does your
character get up to?
It's set in a hairdressing
salon, because Vonnie's a hairdresser. Her salon
is called Best Cuts, which makes me laugh because
it's off her husband Bert, who's a butcher.
Aunt Vonnie decided when
she was Ruby's age she didn't want to kick her
heels in Mansfield, she wanted the bright lights.
fortunately, she met her husband who persuaded
her to stay in London. Basically that's the
premise of the whole piece. We're just having a
celebration really of the sixties and how
innovative it was.
Are you a fan of the
Oh, very much so. I was so
lucky because I remember nearly every single
number. So of course, it was great for me because
I had memory tunes in my head.
It was fantastic to listen
to all these numbers and think I remember that, I
love that song'. The nicest thing is even if you
didn't know this kind of music there is no reason
why you couldn't like it. It's not complicated;
they're good tunes and feel good.
And the show has great
choreography because it's all the 1960s stuff.
And it's fun. A lot of it is quite quirky. I've
already lost about 4lb.
Do you like the
outfits? (Our interview takes place straight
after a photo shoot and Su is dressed in full 60s
Yes, I must admit I do.
Although poor aunty Vonnie has to wear slacks and
a tabard in the salon. But the she goes on her
holidays and she transforms. I can't keep wearing
these, it would do me head in.
Just look at the colours.
You saw so many colours in the streets in the
1960s but now you look at people and, it's really
for practical reasons, but they're nearly all in
Look at those lyrics in
Colour My World, it's a Petula Clark song and
even the lyrics are full of colour. It was a
fabulous, fun era to be a part of. It was a great
decade, the 1960s.
Do you get to wear your
I've had to really wear
all these type of things (inspects her huge,
zebra-print specs). It's like secretary glasses,
that sort of shape. So I do have to stick to the
period. Yyou can't match the 1960s with something
Claire admitted to
accidentally calling you Peggy in rehearsals. How
does this make you feel?
I don't mind. Because the
thing is if you've been associated with something
which people have really liked and was popular
then I don't think there is any reason why you
shouldn't embrace that. It's nice. And people
still watch it now.
It's no good stamping your
foot and thinking oh god, I've done all sorts of
other things'. It's like Michael Crawford He
doesn't mind talking about Frank Spencer because
it was very good to him.
Do you have fond
memories of the Hi De Hi years?
Oh fantastic. I remember
just laughing so much. Every single day we
laughed and laughed. The camaraderie of it, it
was such a good team. It was a team effort and it
was just lovely to do such quality work. The
writing was all spotless.
My mum and dad would watch
the show sometimes with me and I would love to
see them rocking back and forwards. How lovely.
Are you still in touch
with your cast mates?
Oh yeah. I saw Ruthy about
two weeks ago, saw Paul, went to Jeff's wedding.
So we're all good mates, which is nice.
You went through so much
together. I mean I remember Ruth's children were
only about two and they're 30-odd now, married
with kids. So you go through life together. We'd
confide in each other. Friendship binds you
And none of us, and we
could have if we'd wanted to, never spilled the
beans on each other. Could you imagine if I was
to say something like, So and so had five
affairs'. No. We always vowed that we'd never.
There are a lot of things, what we got up to when
we went out and had a few bevies for a start. We
all do whatever job we've got.
All I remember it was the
most fantastic fun of the whole era. Fantastic.
Do you feel you've been
lucky career wise?
I can't grumble. I've been
very fortunate to work with some very good people
whose standards are very high. So they teach you
there's nothing wrong with the diamond standard,
either. I've had good fun always doing it and
hopefully I will carry on in the same vein.
Anyone in particular?
I liked Simon Cadell when
he played Mr Fairbrother; he taught me a lot
about cameras. He was extremely helpful. There
are lot of people along the way you learn from.
But really, a lot of people don't know about
directors, but there are so many good directors
who really help you when they see that you've got
So I suppose you learn
from each person. I've been dead lucky.
Have you had chance to
work with any of the Hi De Hi cast since.
We've done a couple of
sketch shows together and some charity work. And
then of course a few of use went on to do You
Rang M'Lord? But mostly we don't work together so
much now we just socialise really. It's really
nice we can still do that. We've done pantos
Did you do panto this
Yes, I was in Malvern
playing the Wicked Witch in Snow White.
Unfortunately, I don't get asked to do principal
hall any more. I've moved on, darling.
What is it you look for
in a role?
If I feel a script's good
and I like what I've been offered, I think yeah
great that sounds nice. I'll give that a go.
I look for good dialogue.
You've got to say the same thing twice a day for
X amount of weeks. It's got to be well written.
It's got to be a good story.
And when you know you've
got the basic things to start from then it's
marvellous to take off and create something
within that piece. Otherwise, you're only as good
as your tools, you see. If you've got something
you feel gives you something back, that's half
Do you ever get the
chance to collaborate or offer your input?
Yes, especially on
something like Shout which is not a play, not
really a musical, it's almost like a revue. If
you wanted to suggest something for your
character or say to the writer, I've just had a
thought, can I run this by you please?'. They may
say yes we'll use that, it's not bad' or they
might say thanks for the offer darling, but it's
not going to quite work'.
Certainly in panto they
welcome your input. Because it sounds more
natural if you say it in your own speak, as it
Have you got any
exciting work in the pipeline?
I think Shout is exciting
because I think they want it to come to the West
End and I've also got a couple of things I've
been asked to do but I don't want to say too
We're not allowed. We
can't. I haven't signed on the dotted line yet.
Once I got in terrible
trouble. It was a TV thing we were doing, it was
a game show and all hush-hush.
And I just happened to
blurt it all out and of course the producer
called me into the office and said excuse me,
we've not even done the pilot yet, so what do you
think you're doing?' I got cleaned which, in
theatrical speech means I really got into
That's a good term,
Yes it's good. Cleaned.
Wiped the floor with somebody.
Have you been offered
any reality TV shows? Will we be seeing you on
I'm a Celebrity?
I've been offered five
times now, I'm a Celebrity. But I'd be no good.
I'm the wimp of the world. I've only got to look
at a grub I'd be no good.
I'd never get any meals.
I'd be starving within a day.
I think you'd be
But you'd have to try and
be bubbly to get through, however long you're on
there, a bloody month or however long it is. She
gasps No make up, no eye shadow, no mascara, I'd
You could always
smuggle some make-up in?
I would. I'd have to shove
it in one of my orifices in my body.
You'd get cleaned for
Yes, I'd get cleaned. Ha
Did you know both you
and Claire are Rear of the Year award winners?
In that case we've got to
be pictured with our bums. That was about 20 odd
years ago. It was marvellous; you get a nice free
pair of jeans. It's great, fabulous fun.
And you get this little
plaque with an outline of your bum on. This
gold-plated plate, like a tray. So when you offer
guests a drink you can say here's my bum on the
tray'. Ha ha. I'll mention it to Claire. Show us
your bum, darling'.
Any parting words of
The only thing I want to
add is about this show. You'll come out and
however fed up you are or depressed life is for
you, you'll come out and a great cloud will be
lifted. You'll have a fantastic time.