Su Pollard is basically a national treasure. A star of stage and screen, she is a funny, lovable ball of energy who was made to be a star. This Christmas she is taking on the role of Queen Rat in the Wolverhampton Grand panto Dick Whittington, once again linking up with her Hi De Hi co-star Jeffrey Holland. I got a chance to chat with Su at the Grand on Wednesday, and she was a whole lot of fun.
Fashion-Mommy: You’re playing the baddie in this years panto, can you tell me anything about Queen Rat?
Su Pollard: She’s trying to get one over Jack – it’s good versus evil. I’m sort of saying I’m the big deal here, I’m not having Dick Whittington take over, so she’s using her power to do dastardly deeds. She sets Dick up for a crime he has not committed, the stealing of a ring. Of course she’s defeated at the end. I think most people would love to play the baddie role, evil has so much scope for fun!
FM: You’re reunited with Jeffrey Holland again, why do you think the chemistry has always been so good between you two (and Paul Shane.)
SP: I think David (Croft) and Jimmy (Perry) could always see exactly how we would play these things and that we gelled as a unit, we always had a great laugh off stage too. They created similar characters for us in the different shows because it worked.
FM: You played Peggy in Hi De Hi for 8 years. Why do you think people loved Peggy so much?
SP: I think it was because she was a bit of a fighter. She just needed to be given a chance, we all know people like Peggy. She always tried to be optimistic so people just routed for her. She tries to help people. I just loved playing her. I think David and Jimmy did such a good job of casting their roles, they took time about it.
FM: Hi De Hi is now regarded as a classic British Comedy, why do you think people still love it?
SP: I think for a lot of people it just captured their imagination. Billy Butlin was a genius and there was a market for what he created. So Hi De Hi was nostalgia, good clean fun. I also think if you are lucky enough to be in a longstanding sitcom people get to know the characters, and get to really like them too.
FM: You started out as a singer on Opportunity Knocks and then the West End, did you always plan to move into comedy?
SP: Well basically I’d always done a few bits and pieces at school, but I had the same agent as David and Jimmy and they sort of pulled me into comedy. I learned from them how to do comedy, how to get comedy.
FM: You are known for your unusual style and love of bright colours, where did this come from, any inspirations?
SP: I always loved Phyllis Diller the American comedienne who had a quirky style. I guess I’ve always had the sort of imagination that would wonder what yellow tights would look like with an outfit, even when I was 6 years old. I loved to put things together, I tied chiffon scarves around my wrists, thought about what would look nice together. I was never a fashionista, but I’ve always loved style.
FM: You support Nottingham Forrest, do you still get the chance to watch them now?
SP: Not seen them play for about 10 years but I try to follow them. I live near Arsenal and the fans tell me about Forrest’s games. I still keep my eye on them, the Arsenal fans don’t mind as long as I don’t support Spurs. (Su then booed and hissed in true panto style when I mentioned I was a West Brom fan as we beat them first match of the season.
FM: What is your proudest achievement of your career?
SP: My proudest achievement…I guess that I’m still here, still working, still doing stuff. I’ve been in some lovely shows with some lovely people. One of my loveliest opportunities was Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday celebrations, in a stunning world renowned theatre, in front of the Queen, it was just the loveliest moment.
Dick Whittington tickets are on sale now.
Saturday 7 December 2019 – Sunday 12 January 2020
Performance times vary, please see website: grandtheatre.co.uk
Tickets from £16.50*
*A £3 booking fee applies to all purchases.