Taking The Plunge

As potty Peggy the chalet maid, Su Pollard never got to wear frocks like these! But now she's hosting a show fo her own, she can really dress to thrill. Mary Fletcher reports...

Teeth flashing, eyes sparkling, the unquenchable Su Pollard kicks up her shapely legs for the umpteenth time. Spending two hours having pictures taken in a variety of outfits is not everyone's idea of fun, but it certainly suits her. "How about another twirl and a leg out, like this?" she asks oozing energy.

"Tired? Not me. I keep fit, take me vitamins, eat carefully, and the only time I feel down is if I start thinking daft things. Then, all I do is remember how lucky I am. I've got lovely friends, a fantastic family, great husband and work I love. What more could I want?"

From dotty Hi-De-Hi! chalet maid to outrageously dressed Take The Plunge quiz show host, Su's been a firm TV favourite for years. And one thing's for sure - whether it's doing her show or staying at home with her husband, she's never been more content.

It's more than five years since she married Peter Keogh, attracting lots of the wrong sort of publicity. "People wondered how I could marry someone who was gay." she says. "No one reckoned it would last five minutes. But I loved him. Anything else was irrelevant and he'd put his past behind him. We're so happy together."

Would a child make life complete? "No, I'm 40 now and I've never really wanted children, although I think they're brilliant. I'm away so much that Peter and I don't spend as much time together as we'd like. You have to give your life over to children.

"Take The Plunge has been time consuming, but it's great. I just love all these outfits that were specially made for me, don't you? I didn't want to look like Bob Monkhouse, so I got a friend to design them all. They each come with different coloured glasses so I've got 56 pairs now!

"The series finishes this week and it's been a big success, real fun. I like the idea of having no script, just responding to whatever crops up. It's a bit like me one woman show which I take round pubs - real off-the-cuff stuff.

"It lets me be myself too, and I've always insisted on that - even if it was a bit of a drawback when I first started! I used to have green hair and different coloured socks and shoes, even scarves on me wrists. I looked like a Morris dancer. Me mum used to despair, she used to walk a few paces behind me when I met her from work. Some people thought I was a freak.

"I refused to compromise though. I thought that if I was talented enough, people would eventually get used to me. And over the years I've mellowed a bit.

"In fact, there's only one person who's ever told me I should refine my vowels, and that was the producer of a telly commercial. I told him that if he wanted Dame Peggy Ashcroft he should have asked her. I'm Su Pollard and I'm not going to change now, am I?"

Woman's Own 1989