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Hill’s Angels Then and Now (The Benny Hill Show)

The Benny Hill Show was a beloved British comedy series that aired for several decades in various iterations. In addition to titular comedian Benny Hill, the series also featured a troupe of beautiful dancers known as Hill’s Angels. The troupe debuted during the series’ later years, and it’s members also oftentimes doubled as comedic performers during the show’s sketches. Some of these performers went on to greater careers in the entertainment industry. Join Facts Verse as we take a look at Hill’s Angels from The Benny Hill Show then and now.

Jane Leeves

Although Jane Leeves wasn’t the member of Hill’s Angels that performed the most on The Benny Hill Show, she is the former member that went on to have the most outside success in the entertainment industry. In fact, most audience members will likely recognize Jane Leeves better as Daphne Moon from Frasier than as a member of Hill’s Angels. Still, Jane has always been a talented dancer in addition to being a talented actress, and she put those skills to work as a member of Hill’s Angels for a time in her early career.

Jane was born in England in 1961 and started studying dance at an early age. She worked a little bit as a model while studying at the Bush Davies School of Dance. Sadly, Jane received an ankle injury during her studies that prevented her from pursuing a career as a professional ballerina. Looking for other work in the entertainment industry, she auditioned to become a member of Hill’s Angels on The Benny Hill Show.

Jane ended up becoming one of the dance troupe’s members that lent her acting skills to the series, performing in comedic sketches in addition to dancing with the troupe. At the height of Frasier’s success, Jane was the highest-paid British actress in the entirety of American entertainment.

Sue Upton

Jane Leeves may have been the former Hill’s Angels member to find the most success outside of her time on The Benny Hill Show, but Sue Upton was the Hill’s Angels member that made the most appearances on the series. Sue Upton was the leader of the Hill’s Angels and was the reason that the dance troupe was formed. Sue was born in England in 1954. She studied dance and was qualified as a dancing teacher by the age of only 16. From there, she pursued a career as a dancer, becoming quite successful.

Sue was brought onto The Benny Hill Show in 1977. She used her connections to help Benny Hill find other dancers to fill out the Hill’s Angels. She became the coach and leader of the dance troupe but was also a reliable comedic performer on the show’s various sketches. Sue could often be found performing as Benny Hill’s wife or girlfriend and was also memorably skilled at playing an elderly woman. Some of Sue’s most memorable characters that she performed on The Benny Hill Show include superhero grandma Wonder-Gran and Stan Laurel to Benny Hill’s Oliver Hardy.

Sue Upton was also a personal friend of Benny Hill’s, as the two developed a close relationship during their time working together on the show. Benny considered Sue and her kids to be like a second family to him, and Sue’s kids even performed in some of the series’ later episodes as Hill’s Little Angels! Sue took a reduced part in the series in later years so that she could spend time with her family, but has always been happy to take a moment to reminisce positively about her time on the show. She retired from show business after Benny Hill’s death in 1992 and currently lives in London.

Louise English

Louise English is the former Hill’s Angels member that made the second-most appearances on The Benny Hill Show, after Sue Upton. Sue and Louise became great friends over the course of working together on the series, and Sue even named her daughter Louise! Louise came onto The Benny Hill Show in 1978, a year after Sue. She didn’t leave the series until 1986. Louise was born in 1961, and her mother was a dancer by the name of Elizabeth English. As a member of a dance troupe by the name of the Evening Stars, Elizabeth had performed alongside Benny Hill during some of the earliest days of his career. Louise started dancing when she was only two years old, studying both classical ballet and modern dance. After working for years on the stage, she got her role on The Benny Hill Show.

Louise started out on The Benny Hill Show as a simple member of Hill’s Angels but eventually became a full-blown comedic performer alongside Sue Upton. As he did with Sue, Benny developed a personal relationship with Louise and considered her a great friend. Louise continued working in television after Benny’s death, though she currently does most of her work on the stage.

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Lorraine Doyle

Lorraine Doyle was born in 1958 was worked with Sue Upton before her time on The Benny Hill Show. She started performing on the show in 1977, the same year as Sue. She also performed in a few of the show’s sketches. After her initial time on the series, Lorraine acted in a few films, including Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. After taking a break from The Benny Hill Show during the early 1980s, Lorraine came back and was given an increased role after the 1986 departure of Louise English. At this point, she began acting in more and more sketches, with her often taking on the role of Benny Hill’s wife or girlfriend in them.

Towards the end of The Benny Hill Show, Lorraine got married and had two daughters. In 1993, a year after Benny Hill’s death, she officially retired from show business in order to raise her children. She and her husband opened up a jewelry store in London in 1998, though the store ended up closing after her husband’s death in 2004.

Abigail Higgins

Abigail Higgins started out as a member of Hill’s Angels on The Benny Hill Show, but soon into her tenure found herself unable to dance. After years of performing complicated routines throughout her career, Abigail’s body could no longer take it! The nice guy he was, Benny Hill decided to allow Abigail to stay on the series as a comedic performer for the time being, though she eventually decided to call it quits on show business altogether and focus on making pottery. She currently resides in England, selling her ceramics.

Samantha Spencer-Lane

Samantha Spencer-Lane became a member of Hill’s Angels in 1980. She took a break from performing on The Benny Hill Show in 1982 to venture into the music industry, forming a group by the name of Girls Can’t Help It and releasing an album by the name of Pure Wild in 1983. Sadly, Samantha didn’t find very much success with this endeavor and was back on The Benny Hill Show by 1986. After her time on The Benny Hill Show came to an end, Samantha started working as a choreographer. Currently, Samantha does freelance choreography work on her own time, and she is based out of London.

Alison Bell

Alison Bell was born in England in 1960. She first appeared on The Benny Hill Show in 1979, having apparently been hired onto the series after interviewing for the position over lunch and a glass of wine. Being the tallest member of Hill’s Angels at 5’ 10”, Alison’s height also allowed her to perform roles in some of the show’s comedic sketches that wouldn’t have been appropriate for the other female performers. One such role was the role of a female version of the comic book character, the Hulk.

Alison performed in a good deal of sketches during her time as a member of Hill’s Angels, in addition to performing dances with the troupe. After her time on The Benny Hill Show came to an end, Alison could be seen on several other popular British television series.

In 2006, The Benny Hill Show was given a complete and unedited release on DVD for the first time in history. Previous releases had all eschewed or condensed material, but this release included every episode of the show as it had originally aired! To commemorate the occasion, numerous featurettes were filmed to be included on the box set, and one such featurette revolved around Hill’s Angels. Although Benny Hill himself had been deceased for well over a decade, the majority of the former members of Hill’s Angels are still alive today, and many of them were happy to lend their time to filming the featurette!

The featurette featured on the 2006 DVD release of The Benny Hill Show featuring Hill’s Angels was called “I Was a Hill’s Angel”, and featured interviews from many of the beloved troupe’s former members. Alison Bell was one of the many former members that showed up to be interviewed for the featurette, and she appeared alongside such other former members as Sue Upton. All of the former members of Hill’s Angels have always reminisced positively about their time on The Benny Hill Show when given the chance, and they have also always reminisced positively about the late titular comedian himself.

Audiences may have tuned into The Benny Hill Show to see Benny Hill’s comedy, but many ended up staying to check out Hill’s Angels! Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that many members of Hill’s Angels from The Benny Hill Show are still practicing dance to this day, or did you think that they had all retired? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

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