Peggy And Potty Pollard!
the marriage that seemed destined to hit the
rocks - daffy Su and quiet Peter. The snipers
said it couldn't possibly last. But it has. Three
years on they're still together, still smiling
and still very much in love. And they've got
great plans for the future.
minutes was all anyone gave it, and they weren't
talking about boiling eggs. Even as show business
marriages go, this one seemed weighted with
concrete, and all ready for the divorce lawyers
to get rich on. The celebrity and the primary
school teacher - it didn't seem like much of a
match, more like a walkover. Su Pollard, mad
Peggy of Hi-De-Hi! Daft, daffy, gorgeous,
loveable Su and...Peter Keogh. Peter who? Ten
weeks they'd known each other and then they were
laughed. Then the troubles started and they were
living with the curtains drawn, the draw bridge
wasn't much of a start to a marriage, hiding from
the newsmen and reporters, but a very good
beginning for a divorce, with him standing in the
dock, his past raked over in a daily dose of
headlines, while she looked pale and exhausted,
as though she were about to break into a thousand
then it was over. He was in the clear, his gay
past was out in the open and no longer news, but
what lay ahead?
cuddled and slimed and went home to open the
curtains and lower the drawbridge, while everyone
waited for the split. And they're still waiting -
two weeks ago, on April 22, they celebrated their
third "impossible" wedding anniversary.
long back from a seven week holiday, which
included a spell in Bali, the "unhappy"
couple were clearly getting on as
"badly" as ever, chatting, laughing,
smiling, teasing and touching. Although, to be
absolutely truthful, she was doing the talking,
while he was waiting for her to draw breath and
get a couple of words in, before she rattled off
all know Su and we all know what she's like as
Peggy. And, let's face it, it's hard to spot the
difference. They both talk an awful lot, and
they're both overflowing with energy and
enthusiasm. But we don't know, and we don't see,
what she's like when she's with Peter, nor what
he's like and how their marriage ticks.
much has been said about him without his ever
saying a word, you can't help but wonder what to
expect. And then when you do see them together,
you wonder just who all these stories were about.
He's tall, broad and good looking and, most
obvious of all, deeply in love with our Su. As
she chatters on, leap frogging from one subject
to another, changing conversation faster than
Peggy causes chaos, he looks at her with complete
warmth and affection.
she's fiercely protective of him. "Please
try to leave the past and all that stuff about
the trial out of it," she says. And you want
to for her sake - for both of them - because
they're such a happy, lively couple. But you
can't because what happened in those tough, early
days of their marriage had such a profound effect
on their relationship.
years, can you believe it?" asks Peter,
smiling. "It was the marriage that nobody
gave a chance, and I admit that I had my doubts,
too, yet we couldn't be happier. After all, we'd
only known each other for a few weeks. I was 39
and Su was 34, and after being independent for so
long, both of us had to learn to share.
all that business happened with me in
court," he says, referring to when he was
charged with - and cleared of - stealing £4200
to pay for a boyfriend's holiday, "it put
our relationship under a lot of pressure.
Afterwards I think we both felt that as we'd got
through that we could handle anything life threw
the most surprising aspect of the whole affair
was that instead of the publicity wrecking her
career, as many had expected, Su included, the
upshot was the exact opposite.
demand for her services doing personal
appearances, advertising, in fact, almost
anything - increased dramatically. There was a
very obvious and sudden change," Peter
still finds the support she received from her
fans, and the general public, touching. Suddenly
she was more than just potty Peggy, the chalet
maid. And from such an awkward start, marriage
too, became easier and more comfortable. Their
recent seven week break was the longest time
they've spent together - what with Peter working
in school and her touring and travelling.
suppose we were just like any couple spending a
lot of time together. We had our disagreements.
It was quite hard to adjust at times, but it was
lovely having the time together, just being able
to relax," Su recalls, with all the
wriggling, jiggling and frantic mannerisms that
make her both so appealing yet so exhausting.
Quite simply, there's never a pause or quiet
moment when she's around.
dressed in her usual chaotic ensemble. Mismatched
earrings, a skirt which she keeps hitching up to
the top of her thigh to show off her mosquito
bites, shoes colour co-ordinated to absolutely
nothing, bright yellow rimmed glasses, and her
only recent concession to convention, matching
socks worn outside her tights rather than the
clashing colours she used to go in for.
how you expect Su to dress - or even Peggy if she
got it together to wear anything apart from her
uniform. Peggy, dear Peggy, Su looks sad at the
mention of her name. Sad because soon, Peggy will
be no more. After this autumn's filming of
Hi-De-Hi!, there'll be no more Maplins, no more
holiday camp capers.
though she's had people shrieking
"Hi-De-Hi" at her from Perth to Miami,
Los Angeles to Scunthorpe, and even though she
groans when people shout it at her in streets,
shops and restaurants, she sounds gloomy when she
talks of the show's demise.
such a shame, I've adored everything about the
programme," she says. "the safety of
working with people you know, Peggy herself and,
of course, knowing that whatever happens you
still have that contract.
I think it's right to go out at the top. You
can't have Peggy cleaning chalets when she's 60
and Gladys still trying to chat up the men. I'll
be sad when it's over because Peggy changed my
life. In the first episode I only had 10 lines. I
was so nervous, I'll always remember them" -
and to prove her point she goes on to recite
every word of those 10 lines.
didn't become like Peggy, you know, I made Peggy
into me. The scriptwriters used to listen to us
chatting in the canteen and slip something they'd
heard you say into the next series.
always be typecast as Peggy because I talk like
her, I look like her and I'm half like her
anyway. I think that whatever you do, you'll
always be known for one particular role and
there's nothing wrong with being remembered for
someone who was really liked. I'd sooner be known
for Peggy than unknown."
is going to be a year of change for Su, and a
time of upheavel for Peter. She's trying to build
up a reputation for her one woman show - doing a
bit of dancing, a bit of singing, and a bit of
this and that - while Peter, after a year of
supply teaching in different schools, is going
back into full time work in a Roman Catholic
might only earn in a year what she can pick up in
a week, but he's clearly happy to be returning to
full time employment.
was helping Su a lot, and I got very involved in
her career, too involved in fact. I was getting
very tense and uptight about it. I didn't realise
it at the time, but it put a lot of pressure on
our marriage because all we ever talked about was
work. In bed, in the kitchen, the conversation
was always work. It certainly doesn't do anything
for the relationship if in the end everything is
nods in agreement. "In the end you stop
talking about one another. Your feelings towards
each other, everything, are based around
work." It was a mistake but, fortunately,
not a disaster, and certainly something they have
no intention of repeating.
she'll keep appearing in front of millions and
he'll be in front of 20 children.
feel very good about going back to
teaching," he says, "because the way
things were going I was in danger of losing my
identity, just being in Su's shadow. I have to
have my own career. It doesn't matter that it's
low key compared with hers. Schoolteacher or
window cleaner, it makes no difference, I learnt
that I could never be Mr Pollard or Mr Manager.
quite strange, and rather disconcerting, when you
discover that people are only being nice to you
in the hope of getting through to Su. Well, now
I'm out of it and back teaching and I'm very
happy to be Peter Keogh again."
just by the enthusiasm he has for being back in
the classroom, you can tell he won't miss hanging
around backstage one bit.
only part of teaching he doesn't enjoy is games,
particularly football. "Can't stand
it," he says. And Su, who's gulping down her
third cup of tea in half an hour, laughs at the
thought of her husband on the sports field.
"Can you imagine him in shorts chasing after
a matter of fact, yes I can. Whatever his past,
there's nothing remotely limp wristed about
Peter. But football, he underlines with a firm
voice, is not for him. Neither is the idea of
having children. "I get quite enough of
children at school. I like them very much but I
don't need them at home."
who begins by saying that she doesn't really want
them either, softens when pressed. "I'm
getting a little old for it," she says
pointing out that she's 37. "If it happens
then great, but at the moment I'm busy with my
career. I don't think that I could keep my career
going and have children. I've seen some people do
it, bringing their children on set, they do it
brilliantly, but I think that's a miserable place
to bring children up.
then I never wanted a cat. Yet now we've got one,
I wouldn't be without it. She's completely
neurotic, just like the rest of the family. So,
who knows, perhaps it would be nice to have
shakes his head and gazes at the ceiling while
quickly chipping in that it's not a good idea
atall and, anyway, there are all those things she
still wants to do.
dear, but I think I'd be a very good mother and I
do love children..." and Su's voice trails
off as she considers the prospect.
face, which is already feminine and friendly, and
warmed still further by her tan, softens a little
more. "I think I'd like to have children. It
would be nice, but not yet, we're not
Peter will never be ready if he can help it, you
get the feeling that if it's what Su wants, then
it's what he'll want, too.
couple of teenage girls tap on the window and
shout "Hi-De-Hi!" and Su waves back and
mutters "Hi-De-bloody-Hi!" under her
breath. One more series, but how many years of
having the world thinking of her as Peggy?
for what she might do apart from her one woman
show, the future's a bit vague. She says she'd
like to appear in a musical like South Pacific.
always want to play someone who has fun,"
she says, jiggling some more, hitching up her
skirt and pouring another cup of tea at the same
time. "I don't think that I could play
someone like Alexis because I don't think it's
fun clawing someone's eyes out and ripping
everyone to shreds. That's not me. And if I was
going to be Hilda Ogden then she'd have a new
wardrobe immediately. I'd not wear those
as Hilda or Peggy in a soap, what fun! She could
save Crossroads single-handed. It's not going to
be the easiest of years for her, trying to make
her way on the cabaret circuit with her one woman
show, trying to prove there is life after
Hi-De-Hi! and Peggy. But with Peter back at
school, at least there's one thing she can be
sure of, one piece of consistency in her life,
and that's her "five minute" marriage!