I Love My...

...I love my...raunchy rag doll Renata 

Su Pollard, 52, formerly the madcap cleaner Peggy on Hi-De-Hi! and now a feisty Dick Whittington in panto, explains why she loves her wayward dolly. 

'Renata was given to me about 12 years ago, after Hi-De-Hi! finished. I was invited to a theme park at Longeaton and we were having a drink when they gave her to me. I love her. She has such a cheeky look. She's not a straightforward doll. You can tell by the way she winks that she's got guts and she's not afraid to show a bit of cleavage. 

'I named her Renata after Rene and Renata, who sang Save My Love. I thought the name was appropriate. It's European, quite racy and smacks of someone who's seen the world. 

'She lives in a room downstairs that I call my play area. It's where all my old
videos and nick nacks people have given me live. She sits in her own plastic chair and when I go down there, I'll always say hello. I talk to her all the time, which makes me sound barmy, but when you've had something for a long time, you do form a kind of relationship with it. 

'I've created an entire history for her. People say to me: "It's just a doll, what are you talking about?" But it's fun. I think she wanted to be an entertainer but her parents wouldn't let her so she ran away. She's learned how to be tough, having worked in brothels and been a madam. I think she's been married several times to no-good men - in fact she's probably shot one of them. But she's retired now and is perfectly happy on her own. 

'I do have a couple of other dolls, including a drag doll (which is a boy doll dressed up in women's clothing). She's called Olivia, has grand ideas and doesn't get along with Renata. Renata wears fishnets and Olivia thinks that makes her a trollop. I should write a series about them. 

'I don't actually collect dolls, mainly because collecting things for the sake of it is tedious. And I hate Barbie-type dolls - they're so boring. I want dolls that evoke a bit of controversy. If anyone gave me a toilet roll doll, I'd take a Stanley knife to my wrists.' 

M Magazine
December 2001