dancing, the Monster Raving Loony Party and
cheese rolling actress Su Pollard, with her
distinctive voice and trademark giant glasses, is
something of an eccentric British institution,
writes Jason Goodyer.
Since making her start in
show business singing in Nottingham working men's
clubs as a teenager she has lent her
Labrador-like enthusiasm and distinctive
personality to a bewildering variety of TV and
Her latest part sees her
transported back to the heady days of her youth
in 1960s-themed musical Shout! The show is set in
a swinging London hair salon and follows a group
of ladies on a journey that captures the
rebellion, liberation and free spirit of the
"It was such a
fabulous time. It's nice to have been a part of
an era that was so exciting," she enthuses,
"There was so much freedom, you had girls
taking the pill for the first time, hippies and
the ban the bomb business. There were lots of
life-changing things going on really."
Despite nearing 60 Pollard
still speaks with the wide-eyed excitement of a
child on Christmas Eve and gesticulates like she
has just downed 9 double espressos each
containing 4 sugars.
given her own unique take on fashion she
confesses to being fond of the bold retro prints
and bright colours the actors wear in the show.
"I remember wearing
all the so-called kinky boots and the peaked
caps. It was marvellous. It was so much better
than wearing the boring 50s stuff. Colourful
clothes brighten up the streets up a bit and
cheer people up.
"In a way it was
quite daring and rebellious. Suddenly you had a
bright green or orange mac that nobody had seen
in their life before. It was great to be able to
walk down the street and to be able to shock and
the men on the building sites would whistle. It
Pollard is equally fond of
the show's groovy soundtrack and says she
remembers many of the songs from her youth.
"We've got Dusty
Springfield and Petula Clark, all the old
classics. It just shows you how the songs have
stood the test of time. Even people who have
never heard them before because they weren't even
born then say 'oh, I love that music'. Because
it's so feel good and so up beat."
Despite being most widely
known for her role as the ditzy chalet maid Peggy
from 1980s sitcom Hi-de-Hi the actress is no
stranger to the stage and has starred in
successful runs of countless musicals and plays.
"I started in theatre
and musicals so it's always been a part if my
Actually, I could have
been better known for musicals. Elaine Paige and
I both used to go for the same auditions but I
got my break in a sitcom and she got hers in a
"I'm really pleased I
can do musicals because they are a special part
of me. The ideal is to do a musical with singing,
dancing and a good story to make people laugh and
make them cry a bit and I think there are a few
elements of that in this. It's good stuff."
With the rehearsals in
full swing the actress has plenty to keep her
busy but says she is itching to get out there and
do what she loves best - performing.
"It's quite intense.
I learned a dance yesterday and I've got another
to do this afternoon so it's full on. You have to
focus and I haven't really got any time for
anything else but all the tunes are good and I do
have fun singing them so I'm enjoying it all.It's
great to work with some younger girls with all
their enthusiasm and stuff. They are all so
talented there are some great voices and I can't
wait to get cracking now."