Culture

Su Pollard is still on a Hi-de-Hi!

In our Summer Comedy Special, the biggest comedy legends of old share their favourite gags and funny stories

Why do we like to be by the seaside? Apart from the sun (occasionally) and donkey-strewn sand, it is the ‘end-of-the-pier’ stand-ups who stand out. These staples of summer seasons still populate the nation’s collective memory so we thought we’d bring together some of the greats for our Summer Comedy Special.

After years in working men’s clubs, Su Pollard’s big break came playing Peggy, the chalet maid who really wanted to be a Yellowcoat, in BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi! She has rarely been off TV or stage since…

Su says: “I must have been about five when I was first on stage in a school play. I really enjoyed the feeling of being able to convey something across to an audience. I enjoyed the fact that they enjoyed it. I still get that feeling today and there is nothing better. I think that’s why some people want to carry on working when they’re 90. If you’re passionate about performing, it’s the one thing that nothing else matches.

At 16 I began singing in working men’s clubs and pubs whilst working as a secretary. I went to one club with a friend of mine – one of the first drag acts at the time – I think they thought I was some sort of alien. I’ve always liked quirkiness in fashion, these hotpants, your Mary Quants, were the rage.

It was an all-in-one, but there was a bib attached to it and then shoulder straps. And pink tights. On the front of these black shorts, it said I love Mr Pink, because the boy I was going out with at the time was called Andrew Pink. Of course, they’d never seen anything like these hot pants, high heels, and pink tights.

I was the first woman to sing Ave Maria in hot pants in a working men’s club. It was the most marvellous moment. People realised you can’t judge a book by its cover. They were royally entertained, and we were asked back for a residency every week. The moral is you’ve got to go through life as yourself because it must be very, very tiring pretending to be somebody else.

Be yourself as much as you can, try to bring a bit of kindness into the world and that’s all you can do.

Su Pollard stars in Harpy at the Edinburgh Fringe, Underbelly Cowgate (White Belly), August 2-26

In our Summer Comedy Special some of the biggest comedy legends share their favourite gags and funny stories with us.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Anjana Vasan on We Are Lady Parts season two, Malala and why UK must open its doors to immigrants
Anjana Vasan
TV

Anjana Vasan on We Are Lady Parts season two, Malala and why UK must open its doors to immigrants

Benedict Cumberbatch: 'History judges us on how we treat those who are most vulnerable'
Benedict Cumberbatch in Netflix series Eric with his monster pal
TV

Benedict Cumberbatch: 'History judges us on how we treat those who are most vulnerable'

Question 7 by Richard Flanagan review – this literary quest is a transformative experience
Question 7 by Richard Flanagan
Books

Question 7 by Richard Flanagan review – this literary quest is a transformative experience

The Great White Bard by Farah Karim-Cooper review – a new way of seeing Shakespeare
The Great White Bard by Farah Karim-Cooper
Books

The Great White Bard by Farah Karim-Cooper review – a new way of seeing Shakespeare

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know