It's - Oooooh..!
Some see them
as an odd couple, yet Su Pollard and her husband
Peter don't find anything odd in their two years
of happy marriage...and Su's new pop career isn't
doing too badly either! Brickbats in the press
and threats in the post have only brought them
closer together, they say.
the day before, a reporter had knocked on Su
Pollard's door and asked her husband Peter Keogh
if it was true he was having an affair with
another man. Not long before that, says Peter,
the same thing happened to Su herself.
years married this month, to all intents and
purposes happily, yet sometimes it must seem to
them that they are the only ones in the world who
just say: 'Here we go again, doll'" says Su
in her throaty voice, while Peter is
what can you do? I guess they're doing their job.
I just say it's not true as reasonably as
possible. But it's always happening." It's
not the sort of problem that confronts most
marriages, but Su and her husband are hardly your
one thing, Su is famous and likely to become more
so. She is so well known for her portrayal of the
tragic chalet maid Peggy that passers by chorus
'Hi-De-Hi!' while Su, always the trouper, gamely
responds 'Ho-De-Ho!'. A starring role in the West
End musical Me And My Girl and a hit
single Starting Together has broadened her
audience. Add to that the LP due out this Summer
and an Australian cabaret tour at the end of this
year and you have someone who is rapidly making
the jump from personality to celebrity. She is
quite open about her ambition to become Britain's
singing, dancing, joking answer to Shirley
a teacher, is famous not just because he married
Su but because of a court case, hard on the heels
of their honeymoon, in which he was cleared of
theft charges but which revealed that he had in
the past had boyfriends.
the sort of equation that would divide less
devoted or determined couples apart within
months. And yet Mr and Mrs Keogh, jammed up tight
together on the sofa in their North London home,
insist that it's brought them closer.
marvellous to see things getting better and
better every day," says Su in a voice which
for anyone else would be a small shout.
quietly dressed (for her) in matching sweatshirt
and pedal-pushers, rainbow spectacle frames and
diamante earrings. A nice pink ribbon keeps
dropping off her head and being shoved back.
"In fact, it's scary, we're almost
chips in: "So often I'm just about to talk
and she says the exact same word!" He's a
big Australian with male model good looks and
longish high lightened hair. He's nearly as
talkative as Su, though his voice is quieter and
slightly stuttery, so that it's a bit like being
fired at by two machine guns, one booming and
Nottingham and the other soft and Sydney.
conversation is peppered with small detonations.
"Oooooooh! Bless him!
- and a few unmentionables. She addresses her
husband as "doll" but his nickname is
Janice Jackboots because, apparently, he's so
bossy. They're great mates, giggling and nudging
as if in some private game, and as the glare of
the spotlight intensifies they may need all the
matiness they can get. It's not just the
newspapers, and Peter not wanting to be Mr Su
Pollard ("I've got my own career which I'll always
keep," he says resolutely). There are also
the loonies and death threats.
there was that person on the phone who said he
was going to slash my face, " Su reminds her
continues, eyes blinking behind the rainbow
frames, "Someone wrote to us suggesting I
chose a gun and used it. Perhaps I attract
weirdos and mental cases because of the sort of
character I play in Hi-De-Hi!..." she muses.
of her fan mail is, of course, adoring - and none
more so than the letters from Su's huge gay
last week this bloke came up and said, 'Oooh,
Miss Pollard' - they're ever so polite and
discerning you know - 'I just want to say thanks ever
so much for all the pleasure you've brought me
and my boyfriend.' And then he gave me this
chocolate egg. Ooooh, bless him! I put it
in my pocket and it bloody melted," and she
and her husband dissolve into laughter.
camp, showbizzy and over the top has been Su
I was 19 I used to accompany my friend John who
did a drag act. I did hid hair and corsets,"
I was given a choice of a transvestite club or
the local palais, " Su goes on, as her
husband holds out his palm to be tickled, a
personal treat, "I'd go for the
transvestites. I don't fit in with sitting round
a dancefloor, clutching my handbag."
certainly doesn't. Su Pollards idea of a fun time
has so far included screaming
"knickers!" in the Ritz, mooning on the
motorway, and wrapping her legs round a clearly
distressed Michael Aspel's neck on his chat show.
less sympathetic observer might call it plain
attention-grabbing, but Su's having none of this.
like to see other people enjoying it," she
says, madly tickling Peter's hand while Peter
tickles their kitten, Dulcie Gray, named after
the actress. "Sometimes I go berserk on
purpose because people can be so boring, so
staid. But there's no high like making people
Peggy, whom she may or may not continue to play
after the Autumn series, is as yet the perfect
comic vehicle. At 36, she's paid her theatrical
dues, from amateur dramatics back home in
Nottinghamshire to provincial touring in The
was already in her thirties when fame really
struck - and acting is still the centre of her
life. Her one personal fear - just as 42 year old
Peter's is of death - is of losing her career:
"If for any reason my career was taken away
from me, that would be...Ooooh...it wouldn't be the
end, but I think really I'd be a bit
I do want to be successful. But I never want to
forget that I'm a person as well."
first it was hard for me, Su being famous,"
says Peter. "But not now."
seems that each has taken a small stake in the
other's life. Peter acts as Su's business manager
("a supportive role," he says). She, on
the other hand, offers full decibel advice on his
teaching job. Over two years, and perhaps against
the odds, they say they've grown together.
made me much more confident," says Peter.
is more private then me," adds Su. "He
susses people out first. I mean, I would tell
them how many times I'd been to the toilet. He's
made me much more confident," she continues
surprisingly. "I'm calmer inside now. I
mean, I just love the idea that someone
loves me enough to marry me. It's - Ooooooh! If
you haven't got one person to trust then you
haven't got anything, doll, have you?"
got lots of friends," says her husband.
"But they all combine in Su."
household seems complete without the patter of
tiny feet in day-glo bootees and rhinestone
rompers. "Well, I don't really want
one," Su says flatly.
not desperate," agrees her husband loyally.
Then they both change their minds.
they're far more enthusiastic about their second
anniversary celebrations in Paris (this month):
"I'm dead excited," says Su,
sounding rather like Peggy as she snuggles up to
her husband. But this is a side of Paris that
Peggy Ollerenshaw would die before visiting:
"I want him to take me to all the really
seedy places. I want to see the transvestites. I love
all that, doll."