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Some Quite Interesting facts about Sandi Toksvig

Posted by Susan McKenna on

Sandi Toksvig is a British - Danish author, comedian, presenter, writer and political activist and excellent human which is why she is one of my idols here at Fat Hen And Flo.

Photo from Channel 4 TV series Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig

Photo from Channel 4 TV series Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig

- In 2015 Sandi co-founded a new political party along with author and journalist Catherine Mayer - The Women's Equality Party.

"Equality for women isn't a women's issue. When women fulfil their potential, everyone benefits. Equality means better politics, a more vibrant economy, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population and a society at ease with itself." 

- In 2016 Sandi Toksvig took over from Stephen Fry as host the BBC quiz show QI making her the first female presenter of a British mainstream TV comedy panel show. It's incredible to think that it took until 2016 for this to happen. In an interview Sandi revealed that she believed she was paid only 40% of Stephen Fry's fee. Equal pay and opportunity is a central part of WEP's work.

- Gen Xers might remember Sandi from her days on the Saturday morning kid's TV show No. 73 as Ethel Davis. Those of us who grew up in the south of England got to watch two series of No.73 before ITV rolled it out across the country. I did a deep dive into YouTube whilst writing this to watch an episode or two for 'research' purposes and was immediately transported back to the early 80s. 

This early episode features Dexys Midnight Runners and a young Sandi as Ethel dancing among the band as they perform Come On Eileen. Watching this episode again and No. 73 was instantly familiar to me again. I had completely forgotten about The Sandwich Quiz!

- Apparently, Sandi had a life long fear of TV personality and fox puppet Basil Brush - BOOM BOOM- which she finally overcame when she wrote an episode of the kid's TV program, the Basil Brush Show, in 2002.

- Sandi lives on a houseboat with her wife Debbie Toksvig in Wandsworth but also has a house on the North Kent coast where she keeps all her books and enjoys sea swimming. 

- Sandi has written over twenty books for adults and children, both fiction and non-fiction as well as plays plus let's not forget her brilliant comedy. My most recent reads are Flying Under Bridges which is great easy escapist read which is what I want from a novel every now and then. The characters are likeable and Sandi's wry humour carries the story along. Between the Stops: The View of My Life from the Top of the Number 12 Bus is a memoir told from the route of the number 12 bus that is Sandi's commute to work. I definitely recommend listening to this on audio book as she mixes her own personal history with the fascinating history of places along this London bus route. It is a delight.

- She has a pet dog called Mildred.

- Sandi's father, Claus Toksvig, was a well known journalist, broadcaster and foreign correspondent in Scandinavia and Sandi's formative years were largely spent in New York and London. Claus was reporting on the moon landings in 1969 from mission control in Houston and the young Sandi held the hand of Neil Armstrong's secretary to keep her calm, the secretary calm that is, as he set foot on the moon for the first time.

- In 2016 she gave a brilliant TED Talk about The Women's Equality Party.

This is just a tiny snapshot of quite interesting facts about Sandi. She is definitely on my dinner party guest list. A natural raconteur she knows how to tell a story, craft a joke and deliver a fascinating lesson on a subject that demands we sit up and pay attention. More Sandi please, on the TV, the radio, in writing, or on the stage, anywhere.

Monochrome fabric doll of Sandi Toksvig and craft kit plus mini doll in a tin of Sandi on a white background.

Fans of Sandi can find a selection of illustrated fun gifts here.



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