From Celebrity Magazine, July 31 - Aug. 6, 1986

Hill's Angels Rule OK!

King Of Slapstick's Bawdy Humor Outstrips All Rivals

by Tom Barrett

His humor is straight from saucy postcards - indecent but not dirty. Playground comedy with great chunks of early silent movie action. It's Buster Keaton with his pants off.

Benny Hill is probably the world's top TV comedian. His shows are seen in more than 90 countries around the world, with America out-stepping all of them. Not a day passes without his features appearing on TV screens somewhere on that continent.

Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds and Jack Lemmon are among the famous fans who have elevated the "cheeky chappy" to cult status in a country that has never really taken British comedians to its heart.

Cold sweat

It's said that the former Woolworth's stockroom clerk and milkman is so popular on the other side of the Atlantic that he's been offered "telephone numbers" to appear in cabaret in Las Vegas.

Not that there's any chance of him accepting. Apart from a brief appearance in a tribute to Eric Morecambe at the Palladium, Benny hasn't appeared on stage before a live audience for more than 20 years. Indeed, the very thought of it brings him out in a cold sweat!

It's in television that Benny excels and feels comfortable. He was the first big comedy star to have been made by TV, having immediately recognized its potential and exploited it to perfection.

But he admits his gags would be nothing without his girls - and yet for years Benny deliberately avoided using leggy lovelies to decorate his shows. He says, "I thought they might upset the mums watching. I was afraid they would be embarrassed by hubby ogling the TV set."


It was TV and radio personality David Hamilton who prompted Benny to bring on the girls. He was working as an announcer for ITV and introduced a Benny Hill Show by saying Benny must be the luckiest man on TV to be surrounded by so many gorgeous girls.

"That's really how I got my Hill's Angels idea," Benny says. "I thought that if I made that kind of impression on David, then viewers probably felt the same. Until then, girls on my shows had been used just as dancers. They hadn't appeared in any of the sketches."

Benny's beauties all have one thing in common. They are young and sexy and they all have a habit of losing their clothes as they scamper through saucy sketches.

"I'm not chauvinist or sexist, though," he maintains.

"What makes people laugh is that I always lose out on the girls. I never catch one."


Being a Benny Hill girl is a bit of a stepping stone to stardom. That is why there is such fierce competition among budding young actresses to get on the programmes. As well as being talented, a Benny Hill girl must be prepared to work hard, have soda syphons squirted all over her, and be prepared to parade in skimpy stockings and suspenders.

Stunning blonde Sue Upton has been an automatic choice for Benny Hill Shows for over 10 years. She says, "Nothing embarrasses me now. I'm completely unshakable. I've worn everything from a St. Trinian's gymslip to a strapless waspie. The women who object and say we are too hot for TV are just jealous."

"When Benny chose me to work for him, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Mind you, I've had some funny moments - like the time I wore a pair of satin pants that were so tight they split in the cheekiest of places!

"I know some of our clothes are a bit way out, but we are never forced to wear anything that we don't want to. Being one of Benny's girls is great fun. And he can be so very kind. He remembers our birthdays and things like that."


Another lovely blonde, Sue Bond, stepped from Benny's shows straight into a star role in the recent TV revival of the hit comedy series Mind Your Language.

"Working for Benny was lovely but hard work," she says. "Once we were filming a Spanish holiday scene - in England. I had to dance in a bikini in a field and they had to melt the ice before we could start!"

In another sketch, Sue, who has no head for heights, had to slide down a 50-ft. pole. She recalls, "There was a technical hitch and I got stuck at the top. There I was with my skirt up round my waist, clinging on for dear life!"

French actress Anne Brusac soon found out all about the comedian's sense of fun when she had to take part in a sketch where he was pushing her on a swing. "Benny didn't tell me the dress I was wearing was a trick one. Suddenly the whole thing came off and I was so surprised I couldn't say my lines!"

But lovely Leigh Miles, who won her way on to the show at the age of 16, reveals she had no qualms about taking part in those eye-popping routines of Benny's. "What we do is more cheeky than sexy. And even the briefest of costumes in no more daring than the bikini you can see on the beach."


Benny turns down hundreds of girls who simply have not got the talent to go with their curves. To look good in skimpy underwear doesn't alone qualify them to become a Hill's Angel. They have to be able to act, dance and sing - and have a sense of humour.

Benny's choice is based on a formula that has held him in good stead over the years. His rule is that his girls must turn the men on without making the wives switch off. Huge television audiences all over the globe prove that Benny has got it absolutely right.

He says, "What is nice is that I have remained friends with a lot of the girls who have been in my shows."


"Lots of them have become mothers now and they come back to introduce me to their little girls. Who knows, they in turn might become Hill's Angels one day!"

There is no permanent girl in Benny's personal life, however, - though he doesn't lack for female company when he chooses. He insists that when undertaking occasional commercials abroad, his contract includes two first-class return fares so that he can take a girl with him if he chooses.

Even then, things don't always work out, as he admits. "Sometimes, if it's a super, super lady, it's absolutely paradise. But sometimes after two days I think I'll go mad and wonder how am I going to get through it."

It seems that, just as in his show, girls are always just out of Benny's reach...