Annie at The Alhambra, Bradford

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YES, she’s back, the artiste formerly known as Peggy Ollerenshaw returns as everyone’s favourite drunken orphanage owner, Miss Hannigan.

And why does Su Pollard get the chance to continually reprise one of the most sought-after parts in musical theatre? Because at 61 she’s still one of the best singers in the business.

Which may come as a surprise to anyone who has yet to see the touring version of Annie, which comes to Bradford in six weeks time, not least because most people over the age of 35 remember her as Hi-de-Hi’s favourite yellow coat wannabe.

But Su insists her longevity and popular appeal rests in more than just being held in high esteem among theatre producers.

“I like to think that I’m very approachable,” she says “I allow myself to be approachable because if it wasn’t for people out there I wouldn’t have a career.

“I’ve sold thousands of pounds worth of tickets just by talking to people at bus stops – it’s just so nice! I think people like the idea that they feel they’re just like you and would like to do what we do, bringing pleasure.

“And they bring me a lot of pleasure just by talking to me, so I like to think you should reciprocate.”

Her career began in the 1960s and 1970s with starring roles in big stage shows like Godspell and Grease, but it wasn’t long before TV fame beckoned which launched a whole new chapter in her life.

During the 1980s Su Pollard became a huge household name with some of the most unlikely of fans – and although Hi-de-Hi! was an unexpected launch pad she never regretted it.

That was partly because she’d started off at the bottom and valued being at the top. After all one of her earliest experiences came in 1973 when she lost out on an appearance of the BBC’s Opportunity Knocks show to a singing (howling) Jack Russell.

“I actually started out my career at 11 years old in the amateurs” she recalls. “I was appearing in the Desert Song playing Susan.

“Then I managed to get hold of a copy of The Stage newspaper and saw an ad for people to appear in Desert Song in London and I got the part.

“I was only in the chorus though and felt very disappointed because I got a proper part in the amateurs – still you have to start somewhere don’t you?”

Long after the holiday camp sitcom ended Su continued to surf on the back of her personal popularity.

After Hi-de-Hi! the TV work continued into the late 1990s with spin-off sitcoms also written by David Croft and Jimmy Perry, firstly with You Rang M’Lord and Oh Dr Beeching!

The last decade has seen her spend an increasing amount of time featuring in pantomimes, musicals and shows such The Pirates of Penzance, The Vagina Monologues, the 1960s-inspired Shout!

But her enduring identity is one which is not only fuelled by her personality but also her eccentric taste in clothes and, in particular, zany glasses. That continues to this day.

“My outfits are still inspired by anyone – anyone that has an imagination!” she laughs. “And it doesn’t have to anybody famous, it could be somebody in the street, or someone I’ve just spotted in Tesco.

“I’ll just think ‘how fabulous is that?!’ and put something together from that inspiration – I just have a bit of a flair for it really. Even if it’s bizarre, I don’t mind because I always fall in love with the bizarre.”

Which would explain why Su is so in love with the manic character that is Miss Hannigan. She’ll always have a soft spot for her alter ego.

“Although Miss Hannigan’s seen as this evil person I always try to give her a bit of a sympathetic edge, ” says Su.

“Yes, she’s not exactly a fuzzy maternal figure but she has a lot of problems and many of them have been a result of being treated badly herself.

“So she’s turned to drink and that’s caused her even more problems. I actually do feel sorry for her, though I know not a lot of other people would – and you can’t really blame them.”

As for the future?

She says: “I really want to do a most fabulous musical that everybody is going to be gobsmacked by, something with a fabulous story that makes you cry and laugh and you can sing in.

“The only person who’s ever achieved all that is Barbra Streisand and the nearest I could get to that is maybe doing a duet with her.

“So, Barbra, if you’re reading this article please take pity on this poor old soul would you?”

September 6 to 10, The Alhambra, Morley Street, Bradford, 7.30pm, Wed mat 2pm, Sat mat 2.30pm, £11 to £27, Tel. 01274 432000 www.bradford-theatres.co.uk