From the Daily Mail, February 19, 1998

"We Were Hill's Angels"

(and we don't know why the gentle genius was driven to his death while his uncouth rivals flourished)

BENNY HILL was one of the most popular comedians on TV until his shows were axed in 1989 amid pressure from the political correctness lobby. One of the chief targets of the critics were the Hill's Angels, the scantily clad women featured in nearly all of his sketches. Here three former Angels tell CHERRI GILHAM about the Benny Hill they remember, one whose comic genius was matched only by his loathing for his foul-mouthed successors. SUE UPTON, 41, lives in [town deleted], Essex, and has been married to Roger for 21 years. They have two children, Richard, 14, and Louise, 12. Sue worked on The Benny Hill Show from 1977 until 1989. She says:

When I was 20, in April 1977, I was sent to see Benny Hill at his flat in Queensgate, West London. We got on so well, and I felt so at ease with him, that I ended up spending the day with him; we had lunch and he told lots of funny jokes. Two weeks later my agent told me Benny had booked me for his show.

Benny was a different person when you worked with him. He could be a real pain because he was such a perfectionist. He would get you to do things 20 times, by which time it didn't seem funny any more. But I grew to love him dearly and I believe he loved me like a daughter. I was heartbroken over his death six years ago, and I haven't got over it.

He would come to stay with us a week at a time, but even though I never invited him, he would never come for Christmas; he liked to be alone then. When he stayed he treated me like a substitute wife and he'd say: 'Come on Mummy, let's take the Littlies out.' That's what he'd call the children.

My husband Roger, whom I'd married in 1977, didn't mind if I went off for the day with Benny because he was like a father figure to me - my dad had died when I was three.

Benny was bitterly hurt at being called a sexist, and he was disgusted at the way the new comedians swore so much. 'I've never used foul language on my shows,' he would complain.

Although I think Benny was mean with some people, he was always generous to me. He would give me money for the children and say: 'I don't know what to buy them, so you go out and get them what they'd like.'

Benny had no idea what money meant to people, because it meant nothing to him. He did tell me that I was in his will. 'Don't worry, little sausage,' he used to say to me, 'when I'm gone, you and the Littlies won't have any money worries.'

His death came as a double blow. First, because Central TV was about to revive his career and I was about to sign a lucrative contract to appear in two more shows. Second, because no one ever found a new will. There was only an old one which left everything to his parents, and they had been dead a long time.

Imagine how it was: one minute I felt like I'd won the Lottery, because Benny was worth millions, and the next minute, there was nothing.

I am still occasionally recognized by people who say: 'Ooh there's that girl from the Benny Hill Show.' But on the whole, the best has gone.