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Stoke SentinelSu's Talk Show, The Sentinel - October 2001 

Trying to get a word in edgeways when talking to Su Pollard is like tryingto stop an avalanche with a smallplastic fork.  This woman produces more words per second than the rest of the world combined and you feel sure that somewhere is a cable plugging her intothe National Grid.  But it is an energy she certainly needsfor her current role as Ruth in Pirates Of Penzance, which plays at Hanley's Regent Theatre next week, with Gary Wilmot as her co star.

"It's a fabulous part in a fabulous show", she says. "I get a great cossie - big boots, big belt. The director said to me, 'are you sure it's not going home with you?'. I love it to bits. Look out for me wearing it." 

One thing's for sure, this is not your traditional representation of Gilbert and Sullivan.  "The show's all tongue-in-cheek. Much more sexy than D'Oyly Carte. They're all gagging for it. The girls, the pirates, me. It's such a laugh. Real rollicking entertainment. But the music is as Sullivan wrote it. We're all good singers." 

It sounds the perfect manic role for Su who made her name as the ever-eager but forever-disappointed Peggy in Hi De Hi, but whose first TV experience was as a runner up to a singing dog on Opportunity Knocks.  But Su's still rabbiting about The Pirates Of Penzance. 

"You should see Gary Wilmot. He's got these great leather trousers. It's down to them that he's got his own fanclub. And they're not all nubile young girls. There's mums and matrons and grannies. And lots of kids. The kids love the show. It's like panto." 

Su has lost a stone during the run of Pirates Of Penzance - quite handy since she recently made a video called 'Sensible Slimming'. 

"It's so energetic", she says "But I just love it. And I love touring. I get to stay in nice hotels and I have a really good time. I like to talk to the other guests." 

I can well believe it. 

John Woodhouse 

 
Su Interview, Indie London - 2002

Pollard reveals a hunger for pantomime... and champagne! 

Meeting Su Pollard is like catching something that could be dangerous like dying of laughter. She is the epitome of the joy of living, and that she revels in it is extremely apparent. 

Even though she and I had never met, there I was, chatting to an old friend and having the time of my life. I started out by asking her how she was enjoying the tour. She is currently on the road with a production of The Pirates of Penzance with Gary Wilmot. Her answer was typical and almost childlike. "I love it very much. I particularly love staying in hotels, because if it's a town you have never been to before, there is so much of interest to discover, such as local places that are unique areas, landmarks, grand historic buildings and so on. I find all that exciting." 

She was equally disarming when I asked what she most disliked about it. She answered "Nothing". However, she did add that in this particular show, she has to sing in a bonnet and that makes it quite hard acoustically. It is particularly difficult to make sure you are being heard. 

I have often been told that the true professional stage artiste can gauge the quality of the sound of his or her own voice by listening to its echo as it were. 

Regarding television, having appeared on it more times than she can remember, it was, she said, difficult to say which current programme was her favourite. These days she hardly has time to watch TV anyway because she's always on the go. On her own favourite television performance she had to admit that it always depended on the team she worked with, but she was definite to confirm that she loved every single one of the episodes of the sitcoms in which she appeared. 

Her family, by the way, did nothing to influence her choice of career at all, but they did not dissuade her and, naturally, they are delighted at the result. 

Su Pollard prefers the stage to television. It is, she avers, infinitely more rewarding. When touring and arriving at a new theatre she finds it actually exciting discovering the situation and whereabouts of the dressing rooms and the acoustics of the theatre. Acoustics? There's the mark of a professional. 

One of her favourite forms of entertainment is pantomime. I had a record of six she had appeared in but she told me she had actually appeared in twenty-seven. 

Her favourite by miles is Aladdin, but she likes Dick Whittington and Jack and the Beanstalk. She loves playing Principal Boy and is particularly pleased when the kids cotton on to something that leaves the adults bewildered. That, she said rather wickedly, is great. 

In the West End she created the role of Suzette in the comedy Don't Dress for Dinner, and subsequently took the show to New Zealand as well as number one dates in this country. 

Along with recordings and the numerous and well known television shows, she has appeared in radio comedies, for example with Gordon Kaye in For Better or For Worse, and is the voice behind the popular children's cartoon Penny Crayon.

One of the highlights of her career was a night at the Royal Festival Hall singing with the eighty-strong BBC Radio Orchestra. The concert was broadcast live on Radio 2 and she received enormous acclaim for her performance. You can add to this her CD of Little Shop of Horrors, her single, Starting Together, which reached number two, and her first album which went silver. 

She is no stranger to cabaret either and has her own show, A Song, a Frock and A Tinkle and she has appeared in cabaret on the QE2, the London Hippodrome and in New York. 

This all brought me to asking whether she preferred musicals to plays. She told me that she really didn't have any preference but the dread is that something could be mediocre and that could make life very difficult. 
As to preference for songs or composers, her only thought is that the song should have a good hook, by which she meant a tune, a lyric or a basic idea that drives the song along its way and makes it memorable. The outline of her cabaret act illustrates this. In it she is able to do anything. There is no strict rule. It could be a song from a show, or a good Barbra Streisand number for instance. "As long as I enjoy the song I'll sing it". 
Regarding her future singing plans, there is an idea for a new musical for next year on the cards, as yet top secret, and she is thinking of taking material from a show she appeared in last year, Viva La Diva, and adding it to songs from her cabaret. "Nothing big, just a trio perhaps, and me. You can't beat a live band." 
As I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Su Pollard, I asked her what was her idea of having a good time. The answer was direct, charming and intelligent. 

"Enjoy the Now! Enjoy knowing you're not hankering after anything. Going out at lunchtime with a friend and having a good time and not getting home until about 8pm. 

"I remember about four years ago going to the Escargot restaurant with Carmen Silvera for lunch and we had two bottles of champagne. At the end of the day, it was quite late, we didn't remember much except what a good time we had!" 

In the beginning, trying to break into show business, she took part in Opportunity Knocks coming second to a singing Jack Russell dog. I asked what did the dog do? 

"The dog was on the man's shoulder and he sang Oh, What a Beautiful Morning and the dog yapped to the tempo of the music. 

"They were obviously looking for novelty acts. I met the man much later and asked him how he had progressed from there. He told me the dog had died but that he now had another one, which was just as good. 
"Later I also found out that the headmaster of a school persuaded 1200 pupils to write in, voting for the dog, and much later I met the headmaster too. He apologised to me, but then I told him the dog had died and I'm still here." 

So what did Su Pollard do on Opportunity Knocks? 

"I sang I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No, and they believed me." 

I still believe it, in a strictly professional way.

 
Cambridge News -April 2002

SU'S READY TO SWASHBUCKLE 

HI De Hi's dippy chambermaid Peggy will doubtless go down in the history books but Su Pollard has done much more besides. JANE DENNY found out. 

Set for swashbuckling shenanigans aplenty Su Pollard will burst onto Cambridge's Corn Exchange stage as Ruth the nursemaid to Frederic in the forthcoming show The Pirates of Penzance. 

The show, which is currently touring Britain, sees Su fulfilling one of her dreams of a high-energy live action performance which also allows her to wear outrageous clothes. 

Famed for an odd dress sense it is said that when auditioning for Hi De Hi Su, who lives in Islington, London, wore odd socks. 

Readily admitting to having an eye for colourful attire Su said: "My pirate uniform is all red and gold and big boots and showbiz I may wear it to Sainsbury's." 

This would not be too surprising as she once wore a beaded dress made especially for her one-woman show by the BBC in the supermarket. 

The dress cost 5,000 and is the most extravagant purchase Su has ever made. 

Su, 52, is single and need not worry about the expense too much because an almost 30-year career in the entertainment industry has feathered her nest quite nicely. 

Hi De Hi, which attracted audiences of 15 million, ran for 58 episodes until the late 80s. Su has recorded numerous singles including You've Lost That Loving Feeling in 1986 and a compilation album, The Collection, of songs last year. 

A first book called Hearts and Showers, all about "how men have got their heads in the clouds", was published and somehow Su also found time to record a fitness video Sensible Slimming, too. 

Happily single Su has slimmed her life of a significant other but says "men are fantastic, know what I mean". But "women," said Su, "just have so much to do that they just get on with it." 

Perhaps just getting on with it explains the nationwide success of her one woman show A Song, A Frock and A Tinkle which followed the 1987 tour of the Su Pollard Show. 

For Su it's about "being quite happy to swan about and do what I want when I want", and that might, after Pirates finishes, mean being in a film. 

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