The day after Su Pollard finishes rags-to-riches musical Annie in Bradford, she’ll be flying to Spain for her next role.

Su is making a cameo appearance in the new series of award-winning ITV comedy Benidorm, set against around the ‘all-inclusive’ world of the package holiday. “I’m playing myself, doing cabaret at a club in the resort,” says Su. “I can’t wait. It captures that whole scene perfectly; the way people spend two weeks on sun-loungers and barely move to get from the bar to the pool. They’re great characters and it’s beautifully written.”

Filming will be tinged with sadness following the recent death of actor Geoffrey Hutchings, who played Greater Manchester’s sun bed king Mel.

He and Madge, who spends her holidays whizzing around on a mobility scooter, were a core double act of the show and Su says Geoffrey’s sudden death from a suspected viral infection has had a devastating impact. “He’ll be missed,” she says.

Before landing in ‘Beni’, she’s touring the country playing gin-soaked Miss Hannigan, who runs the orphanage from where Annie begins her adventure.

Annie started life as American comic strip Little Orphan Annie, which first appeared in the Chicago Tribune in 1924. The show was staged on Broadway in 1976 and has been a family favourite ever since.

Its memorable score includes It’s A Hard Knock Life, Easy Street and showstopper and stage school staple, Tomorrow.

Living in an orphanage in 1930s downtown New York, Annie is hopeful that one day her parents will come for her.

When millionaire Oliver Warbucks offers to have an orphan as a Christmas house guest, Annie is picked, but initially refuses his request to adopt her, holding out hope of a reunion with her parents.

When Warbucks puts up cash for them to come forward, Miss Hannigan’s rogue brother hatches a plan.

Su says the show has a cartoon-like appeal. “It’s larger than life. It’s like panto, really; Annie is like Cinderella and Miss Hannigan is the Wicked Queen,” she says. “It’s about triumph over misery. I love that it has remained popular through the ages.”

Miss Hannigan’s shoes have been filled by the likes of Lily Savage and Su’s Hi-de-Hi stablemate Ruth Madoc, and each has brought something different to the role.

Su insists that despite being a bad-tempered old drunk, who treats the orphans in her care like slaves, Miss Hannigan does have redeeming features.

“When her brother’s plan to kidnap Annie goes wrong, she’s genuinely relieved that the child is okay. I think she has a flicker of conscience,” says Su.

“I don’t think she’s that bad, she’s just desperate. This was the Great Depression, when people resorted to desperate measures. I don’t suppose Hannigan has any joy in her life. She drinks to mask her unhappiness.

“It’s a meaty role with a couple of really good numbers. Every time I go on stage, I love it.”

Nottingham-born Su made her TV debut on Opportunity Knocks, coming second to a singing Jack Russell. She got her break playing Peggy, the luckless chalet maid with aspirations of becoming a Yellowcoat in BBC sitcom Hi-De-Hi.

“Hi-De-Hi was a marvellous thing, it’s held in people’s affections and that’s lovely,” says Su. “It had a post-war innocence; it was something people could identify with. Lots of people remember staying in holiday camps.

“When the scripts came through, we’d start the day at 10am with a cup of tea from a big urn, and we’d be absolutely killing ourselves with laughter.

“It was ten years of fun. David Croft and Jimmy Perry, the writers, believed in team effort – there was no room for egos. I’m still in touch with everyone from the show.”

Su starred in Croft and Perry follow-up sitcoms You Rang M’Lord? and Oh Doctor Beeching!

“Like Hi-De-Hi they captured a slice of social history. Sitcoms were allowed to breathe back then – now they’re taken off if they don’t make an impact straight away,” she says. Su is fun and chatty, and before I know it, we’ve been on the phone a good half-hour. She has a wealth of theatrical credits under her belt, having starred in countless shows such as Sweet Charity, Me And My Girl, Pirates Of Penzance and Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus. She’s recorded albums, performed as a cabaret artist in New York and toured one-woman shows.

“I started off singing in working men’s clubs, but there aren’t many left,” she says. “It’s all about TV talent shows now; kids just want to be celebrities, it’s a bit sad really. Where are all the plumbers and roofers going to come from if all kids want is to be famous?”

Annie runs at the Alhambra from August 24 to 28. For tickets, ring (01274) 432000.