Hattie played Holly, the ship’s computer on Red Dwarf for three seasons (3, 4 and 5), taking over from Norman Lovett when he left. Such a friendly, approachable lady to speak to!
Was it difficult coming into the programme to replace Norman Lovett, when the rest of the cast had already got to know each other?
I came in at the end of Series 2, so I got to meet them then, and I knew Norman from the comedy circuit. I was just meant to be in it for one episode (Parallel Universe – where each character has a different-sex version of themselves) as Hilly, the female Holly. And then in between series 2 and 3 whatever happened, happened and I had to audition for the role of Holly; I didn’t get it automatically. I was just excited to have done the one episode!
As well doing stand up, I understand you had an ambition to be a foreign correspondent for the news? Do you have a particular liking for adrenalin-inducing jobs?
I think I would have liked to do that, yes – I wanted something that involved travel and I liked the sound of that. Kate Adie was famous at that time too, but I soon realised I was no Kate Adie and if some foreign general had told me to go somewhere dangerous I probably would have said wasn’t going!
You got into stand-up on a whim – you decided one evening to have a go and just did it – do you think you’d have done that as a career if you hadn’t tried it that day?
No, it wouldn’t have occurred to me, I don’t think! It was a real lightning bolt, that night, so I probably wouldn’t have!
You don’t tend to advertise your stand up gigs either….?
No I don’t have a website yet, or anything. If I was doing a theatre tour, I would, but just one off gigs I don’t. You don’t know how they’re going to go and what the venues are like, so I don’t want to advertise it and then it’s badly organised and a bad gig! You only know afterwards and then you wish you’d told people!
Red Dwarf is filmed in front of a live audience – did that feed into your love of stand-up, getting an immediate reaction?
I suppose without realising it, you’re comfortable in front of a live audience, but I still didn’t do any warm-up chat or anything like that. I don’t think I could have done that, I don’t think somehow my brain would have been able to combine the two. The boys always did a bit, chatting and larking around with the audience but I could never do it.
You were lucky that you didn’t have to get covered in mud or slime when the boys were out on location doing the mucky bits whilst you were in your ‘Holly box’ – did they ever get you back and mud or slime you?
No, they were much too gentlemanly – they probably thought I was more delicate than I am. Very gentlemanly – I always loved seeing them.
You had seen Robert on the comedy circuit before Red Dwarf, was it good having him on the team when he joined?
Yes, although I didn’t really know him that well before – I knew Norman the most from the circuit. All of the boys were great, there was no weirdness about joining.
Thank you so much for your time, Hattie. Lovely to talk to you.