Professional actress, singer, comedienne, writer, and Su Pollard, the woman herself is delightfully camp, renowned for her outrageous dress sense, and the owner of a Wikipedia entry full of priceless “facts” – including “when filming one episode of Hi-de-Hi, Peter Keogh proposed to her while she was dressed as an insect” and that in 1995 she released and album called Famous Su Raincoat: Pollard Sings The Hits Of Leonard Cohen (there appears to be no other evidence of this, but it’s funny either way).
But apart from honing that big, bubbly personality, the bespectacled sitcom legend and former Rear of the Year (really), has been best known in recent years for her lengthy on-off stint as surly, luckless orphanage boss Miss Hannigan in the touring production of Annie. Not that she’s sick of talking about it. “It’ll cheer me up, actually,” she trills. “It’s a bit dismal and drizzly here today.”
“I still love it, still love the songs, and I don’t think it’s ever going to lose it’s appeal, because the storyline itself is lovely and in these times people need a bit of a lift in our lives,” she says.
As for Miss Hannigan, played to perfection in the 1980 film in an iconic turn by Carol Burnett (although Pollard says she has never seen it), well, she’s just a “poor cow really”.
“I like her. She’s a bit queen of mean, but I feel sorry for her. Plus, it’s the first time I ever got to dress dismally. I can get ready in three minutes.”
It’s been about 18 months since this production came to the Empire, and after that it did a stint at the Floral Pavillion in New Brighton, which Pollard remembers enthusiastically and without prompt. “New Brighton! Babe, I loved it. We went to that fantastic club – Tallulah’s. We were strutting our stuff, there was a drag act on that sang Tomorrow dressed as Annie, it was great fun.”
Pollard is now 61, although she sounds (and dresses) like someone half her age – and can party like one too. She’s done a variety of touring productions in recent years, and still finds life on the road a hoot. (“I am very very drunk x Su” was one of the more recent messages in her rather cute Twitter feed).
“I like to call myself a work enthusiast,” she says. “I’d work every day of the year. I just really enjoy what I’m doing. Some might say that’s sad, but not necessarily. I will turn stuff down if it’s not good enough. I’ve got to thoroughly give my all.
“And I love life on the road. I think you have to have a certain personality to enjoy it, but I’ve always been a little bit of a gypsy. I enjoy the various hotels, and if you don’t like a place, well, you’re only there a few days and march on. And you make friends over the years that you can catch up with. And not only that babe, living in London – I really enjoy it, but it’s nice to get away sometimes.”
Annie returns to the Liverpool Empire from March 15 – 19.