Speaking breathlessly among sips of tea, Su Pollard is speaking about her degree debut, which took place at the age of six. She became gambling one of the Angel Gabriel’s sidekicks in a nativity play and, for some cause, had been made to stand on a cardboard field. “I become telling Mary, ‘Fear not! Angel Gabriel will –’ And then I disappeared into the container. The instructor hadn’t made it robust sufficient.”
Little Su, demonstrating the professionalism that could come to outline her profession, climbed out and finished her line: “– be coming to provide you a sign.” As the target market howled in satisfaction, she realised that it become her future to make people snigger. Or at least so she says, with the benefit of hindsight. There is something very Chumbawamba approximately Pollard: the female high-quality recognized for gambling Peggy, the chalet purifier within the BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, continues getting knocked down, however she receives up once more. She’s so dogged in her relentless cheerfulness, so unstoppable as soon as she gets going.
Sitting contrary me at a lodge in London’s Covent Garden, Pollard is ready to tour the usa in one of the few directly roles she has taken on since that debut sixty four years in the past. Fingers crossed, she won’t be upstaged or injured by the surroundings. But it stays a possibility due to the fact she is playing an excessive hoarder known as Birdie who lives on my own in her flat, surrounded with the aid of an entire life’s tat, of which extra later.
Hopefully Pollard received’t go all Mrs Malaprop as she did in the course of her expert debut in 1972. Appearing in a musical referred to as The Desert Song, she became meant to inform John Hanson: “Come one step closer and I’ll hearth!” But alternatively she said: “Fire one step nearer and I’ll come!” She carried on regardless, starring in panto, TV, more musicals and her personal one-female journeying show.
Second location to a dog … Su Pollard on Opportunity Knocks in 1974.
Second location to a canine … Su Pollard on Opportunity Knocks in 1974. Photograph: Fremantle Media/Rex/Shutterstock
Fast-ahead two years and she or he’s inside the very last of TV talent show Opportunity Knocks, simplest to be beaten into 2d area via a canine. The Jack Russell terrier, Pollard remembers, turned into being held inside the palms of a person who sang Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin. At positive notes, the dog could howl in tune. Britain had talent in the ones days, but not an awful lot. One concept about what was occurring become advanced via Pollard’s ex-husband Peter Keogh in his memoir My Hi-De-High Life: Before, After and During Su Pollard. Keogh speculated that the dog handiest howled due to the fact, at key moments, the singer placed a finger up its bottom.
But Pollard reckons her rendition of I’m Just a Girl Who Cain’t Say No (additionally from Oklahoma!, curiously) failed to win her first vicinity due to the fact she had eliminated her glasses and so sang into a speaker instead of the digital camera. “Plus the reality that the canine became owned through a headmaster who got his students to vote for it. If simplest I’d sung I Don’t Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar – it’d had been a special tale.”
Then there was that traumatic incident at the set of Hi-de-Hi! While Pollard became gambling the again end of a horse. Unaccountably, there has been a real horse on set that took a shine to the fake one’s rear quit. “Help! Help!” she might be heard screaming from within the gown as it tried to mount her.
‘Help! Help!’ … with the forged of Hi-de-Hi!
FacebookTwitterPinterest ‘Help! Help!’ … with the cast of Hi-de-Hi! Photograph: Ronald Grant
But possibly Pollard’s maximum heroic moment came in 1965 whilst, aged 15, she performed Basford Hall Miners’ Welfare Club in her local Nottingham. She and her 3-piece had been making hardy miners sob into their pints with My Way and You Don’t Love Me. When Pollard got here off level, she become requested if she’d like a lager. Which, sensibly, she did.
Then the patriarchy reared its unpleasant head. “I was at the bar,” she says, “and the chairman came up and stated, ‘This is a men-best bar. You can’t drink right here.’ I said, ‘This is prehistoric.’ He said, ‘I’m not having it. You can drink over there.’ And he pointed to a place outdoor. I stated, ‘I don’t want to drink there.’ He said, ‘It’s no longer seemly.