Who is Sandi Toksvig?
Sandra Birgitte ‘Sandi’ Toksvig, is a British-Danish (born in Denmark, acquired British citizenship later) writer, broadcaster, actor and producer on British radio, stage, and television. Sandi Toksvig is also very well known for being a political activist. She is the co-founder the Women’s Equality Party. Throughout her career, Sandi Toksvig has written numerous plays, novels, and books for children. She became the first British public figure to come out as a lesbian in the year 1994.
During the year 2016, Sandi Toksvig took over the hosting duty of the BBC television quiz show QI from Stephen Fry. Prior to that, Sandi Toksvig had spent ten years hosting The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4. In the year 2017, Sandi Toksvig joined comedian Noel Fielding as a co-presenter of The Great British Bake Off.
Sandi Toksvig was installed as Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth in October 2012, and is the president of the Women of the Year Lunch. For her lifelong contributions in the field of broadcasting, Sandi Toksvig was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours.
Where was Sandi Toksvig born?
Sandi Toksvig was born in Denmark on May 3rd 1958. Her father, Claus Toksvig, was a prominent Danish journalist, broadcaster, and foreign correspondent. As a result of her father’s job, Sandi Toksvig spent most of her childhood and youth outside Denmark, with a majority of that time being spent in New York City. Her mother, Julie Anne Toksvig (née Brett), is a British citizen. She has an older brother Nick and a younger sister Jenifer. During the year 1969, Sandi Toksvig’s father covered the Apollo 11’s moon landing mission from the mission control room in Houston. During the landing, Sandi Toksvig tightly clutched the hand of Neil Armstrong’s secretary to fight her nerves. She went to school in Guildford, while her father was based in London. Sandi Toksvig landed her first job at the age of 18, as a follow spot operator for the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
She went to university and studied law, archaeology and anthropology at Girton College, Cambridge. She graduated with a first-class degree and her outstanding achievements were rewarded with The Raemakers and the Theresa Montefiore Awards. During her time at college, one of her law supervisors was Lord Denning.
How tall is Sandi Toksvig?
All avid viewers of The Great British Bake Off must’ve noticed a distinct height difference between Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig.
Sandi Toksvig stands at a diminutive five feet tall. However, in an interview with The Telegraph, she said that she was confused by why so many people were obsessed with her small stature.
She said: “I am five feet tall myself and it is rare that I meet someone new who doesn’t comment on my height. I am curious that the world is so interested but it was ever thus.“
What all is Sandi Toksvig known for?
Sandi Toksvig kickstarted her comedy career at Girton. Sandi Toksvig wrote and performed in the historic first all-woman show at the Footlights. Sandi Toksvig was a part of that around the same time as fellow members who went on to become entertainment stars such as Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tony Slattery, and Emma Thompson. Sandi Toksvig also contributed additional material for the Perrier award-winning Footlights Revue. Sandi Toksvig also served as a member of her university’s Light Entertainment Society.
Sandi Toksvig’s television career started with a children’s series. She presented No. 73 (1982–1986), the Sandwich Quiz, The Saturday Starship, Motormouth, Gilbert’s Fridge, and factual programmes such as Island Race and The Talking Show. The program was produced for Channel 4 by Open Media.
As a part of Players, an improvisational comedy team of the Comedy Store in London, Sandi Toksvig performed on the first night.
In television, she appeared as a panellist in comedy shows such as Call My Bluff (a regular as a team captain), Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Mock the Week, QI, and Have I Got News for You, where she appeared on the very first episode in 1990. Sandi Toksvig also hosted What the Dickens, a Sky Arts quiz show.
For all BBC Radio 4 listeners, Sandi Toksvig is an extremely familiar voice. Sandi Toksvig has been a part of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, The Unbelievable Truth, and has served as the chair of The News Quiz, where she replaced Simon Hoggart in September 2006. Sandi Toksvig left the show in June 2015 so that she can focus on entering politics and championing for women’s rights. The first broadcast of her final show took place on June 26th 2015. Sandi Toksvig also served as the presenter for BBC 4’s travel programme Excess Baggage until its cancellation in 2012.
Drama and Factual
In 1993, Sandi Toksvig wrote a musical for the Nottingham Playhouse called Big Night Out at the Little Sands Picture Palace. The musical featured Anita Dobson and Una Stubbs with Sandi Toksvig. In 2002, it was re-written, with Dilly Keane, for the Watford Palace Theatre, in which they appeared with Bonnie Langford.
Toksvig and Elly Brewer wrote a Shakespeare deconstruction, The Pocket Dream, which Toksvig performed at the Nottingham Playhouse and which transferred to the West End for a short run. The aforementioned pair also wrote the 1992 TV series The Big One. Sandi Toksvig starred in that show as well. Sandi Toksvig has made an appearance on numerous stage plays as well. Some of them are Androcles and the Lion, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Comedy of Errors.
In the year 1996, she was the narrator for the Dragons! interactive CD-ROM published by the Oxford University Press. The software’s development was carried out by Inner Workings, along with inputs from Harry Enfield. The Dragons! interactive software was mainly aimed towards children and featured numerous songs and poems associated with dragons. Sandi Toksvig was also the narrator for Winnie the Witch CD-ROM. She also made an appearance in the 2006 Doctor Who audio drama Red produced Big Finish Productions. I n December of 2006, she hosted and sang at Make the Yuletide Gay, a London Gay Men’s Chorus sold-out Christmas show, performed at the Barbican Centre. During Christmas and New Year 2007-2008, Sandi Toksvig narrated the pantomime Cinderella at London’s Old Vic Theatre. In October 2011 at the Queen’s Theatre, London, Sandi Toksvig narrated the new musical Soho Cinders. In the year 2011, Sandi Toksvig went on to host the second season of BBC Two’s Antiques Master.
Sandi Toksvig also wrote a play on post-traumatic stress among members of the British military. The play was called Bully Boy. The play premièred at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton in May 2011, and starred Anthony Andrews. The play then launched the debut season of St James Theatre in September 2012, the first new West End theatre to open in 30 years.
In the 2013 Christmas Special of BBC’s Call the Midwife, Sandi Toksvig made a cameo appearance as grumpy ward nurse Sister Gibbs.
On 28 April 2015, Sandi Toksvig’s departure from BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz was announced. She was going to leave the show in June at the end of the 28th series, which was scheduled to begin on May 15th of that year. She said: “I have decided it is time to move on and, of course, I feel sad but I think it’s the right moment. The show is in great shape and, like a good house guest, you should always depart when people still wish you’d stay a bit longer.” According to the BBC, Sandi Toksvig had made the “difficult decision” to leave so that she can “embark on a new and exciting stage of her career”. On April 30th 2015, Sandi Toksvig announced that her decision to quit The News Quiz was been made to help her focus towards setting up a new political party called the Women’s Equality Party.
In November 2015, Sandi Toksvig appeared a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Some of her selected artists includee Joe Nichols (“What’s a Guy Gotta Do”), Gustav Winckler, The Weather Girls, Barbra Streisand, and Bonnie Langford. The book of her choice was The Ashley Book of Knots, and for her luxury item, she chose an endless supply of the Daily Mail.
Her most recent play Silver Lining premiered on February 11th 2017 at the Rose Theatre Kingston. The play then went on to tour Portsmouth, Oxford, Cambridge, Ipswich, Keswick, York, and Salford. The plot of the play centred around five elderly ladies and a young carer who lived in a retirement home about to be flooded by a storm. The play starred Rachel Davies, Keziah Joseph, Maggie McCarthy, Joanna Monro, Sheila Reid, and Amanda Walker. Sandi Toksvig’s son, Theo Toksvig-Stewart, also made his professional stage debut with this play.
Sandi Toksvig has written more than twenty fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults as well. She started in 1994 with Tales from the Norse’s Mouth, which was a fiction story for children. In 1995, she joined John McCarthy, who had been held hostage in Beirut for a voyage around the coast of Britain. In 2003, Sandi Toksvig published a memoir Gladys Reunited: A Personal American Journey, chronicling her travels in the USA and retracing her childhood. Sandi Toksvig writes columns on a regular basis for Good Housekeeping, the Sunday Telegraph and The Lady. In October 2008, she published a history book for girls entitled Girls Are Best.
Sandi Toksvig’s columns for The Sunday Telegraph were collected and published in book form under the title The Chain of Curiosity. In 2012, she published a historical novel set in the Boer War, Valentine Grey,
During 2012–13 Sandi Toksvig presented the show 1001 Things You Should Know for Channel 4’s daytime telecast. In April 2014, Sandi Toksvig also presented the revival edition of the daytime game show Fifteen-to-One. Compared to the original half-hour edition presented by William G. Stewart, Sandi Toksvig’s version lasted for an hour. After two successful seasons, Channel 4 announced renewed the show for three more seasons, with Toksvig as a host.
When Sandi Toksvig took over presenting duty from Stephen Fry as host of QI, it made her “the first female presenter of a British mainstream TV comedy panel show”. Sandi Toksvig was the host of the first episode of the show’s series “N”, which was broadcast on 21 October 2016
On March 16th 2017 Sandi Toksvig was announced as one of the new co-presenters of Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off, alongside Noel Fielding. They duo replaced the out going hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc.
Sandi Toksvig surfaced to wider public prominence in the year 1994. After she came out as a lesbian, the charity Save the Children dropped her services as the host of its 75th anniversary celebrations. However, the charity was forced to apologise after a direct action protest by the Lesbian Avengers.
Sandi Toksvig is an avid supporter of the charity and pressure group Liberty, she even hosted its 2012 awards ceremony. Sandi Toksvig also served as the President of the Women of the Year Lunch. Sandi Toksvig is an atheist and humanist. She is also an active patron of the Humanists UK movement.
During the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal in October 2012, Sandi Toksvig said that she was groped by a “famous individual” on air in the 1980s. This led to more people claiming that the BBC’s culture in the 60s, 70s and 80s tolerated sexual harassment. According to Sandi Toksvig, the allegations of inappropriate behaviour at the BBC “did not surprise her at all”. In September As the BBC gender pay gap controversy continued to unfold in the year 2018, Sandi Toksvig reported that her salary was only 40% of what Fry made before her. Before she got the job, Sandi Toksvig had spoken with Radio Times and said that it would be “absurd” if she did not receive the same salary as him for chairing QI.
In the year 2003 Sandi Toksvig also stood as a candidate for the election of University of Oxford’s Chancellorship. She supported a campaign against the high student fees. However, she lost in the first round of voting itself, acquiring only 1,179 first-place votes out of a total of about 8,000 votes that were cast. The election was eventually won by Chris Patten. Ten years later, she became the successor of Sheila Hancock as Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth.
Sandi Toksvig’s party-political sympathies have changed over the years. During the 1980s, she was a part of Red Wedge’s comedy tour, which supported the Labour Party. During the 2004 elections, she was one of the high-profile celebrity supporters of Britain’s Liberal Democrats. Sandi Toksvig introduced frontbencher Menzies Campbell at the party’s conference in 2004. She was also named as a possible parliamentary candidate from the party.
Over the years, Sandi Toksvig has come under fire for joking about the Tories in 2011 (they’ve “put the ‘N’ into cuts” to child benefit). However, she called former Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May “a good person”. She also went on to joke about UKIP leader and nationalist figure Nigel Farage. In 2012, she said “I don’t think there’s a party that represents anything I believe in”.
Women’s Equality Party
In April 2015, Sandi Toksvig served as the chairperson of the first, informal, conference of a new political party, the Women’s Equality Party. Soon after that, she left her job as presenter of The News Quiz and formally co-founded the party. In a later explanation behind her decision, she said that she had decided that it was “not too late to fight the good fight, after all. Later that year in September, Sandi Toksvig announced the dates for a comedy tour in order to raise funds for the party. The party launched its full set of policies at Conway Hall, 20 October 2015.
How many children does Sandi Toksvig have?
Sandi Toksvig has two daughters (Megan and Jesse) and a son (Theo). The children were carried by her then partner, Peta Stewart, from whom she separated in 1997, and were conceived through artificial insemination by donor Christopher Lloyd-Pack, younger brother of the actor Roger Lloyd-Pack.
Her three young children were a big reason behind her choice to come out publically. Sandi Toksvig did not want her children to grow up ashamed of having two mothers. Sandi Toksvig was warned about losing her job, and the family was bombarded with death threats forcing her to go into hiding.
Who is Sandi Toksvig married to?
Sandi Toksvig lives on a houseboat in Wandsworth with her wife, psychotherapist Debbie Toksvig. Since gay-marriage was illegal in England and Wales in 2007, the couple had entered into a civil partnership. whom she joined in a civil partnership in 2007. On March 29th, 2014, when gay-marriage was legalized in England and Wales, the couple renewed their vows and became officially married.
Sandi Toksvig acquired a British citizenship in 2013. She describes her “posh” accent as being the result of a deliberate attempt to copy the voice of Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter, after being ostracised at boarding school for having an American accent.
In an appearance on BBC 1 show The TV That Made Me, she stated she held the hand of Neil Armstrong’s nervous secretary to calm the woman down during the final moments. Sandi Toksvig confessed about her lifetime fear of famous children’s television puppet Basil Brush. In 2002, she wrote an episode of The Basil Brush Show entitled “Molly Christmas”.