SOME people harbour a secret ambition to become a national treasure, but trust Sandi Toksvig to have a different take on life. As she explains in her solo show, Sandi Toksvig: National Trevor, coming to Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre on Friday 17th January, she sees herself as half misprint, half Danish comedian, novelist, actor and broadcaster.
The Great British Bake Off host, a familiar face and voice from countless radio and television programmes, and gender equality activist, is a genuine polymath, a wit, writer, accomplished actor and prolific children’s and adult novelist.
Sandi Toksvig: National Trevor is a predictably varied and entertaining mix of tall stories, fascinatingly funny facts, really silly jokes, plus quick-fire Q&A and a quiz. Just don’t expect tap-dancing, leotards or a forward roll.
Born in Copenhagen, Sandi was brought up in Europe, Africa and the United States. She began her comedy career at Girton College, Cambridge, where she found time to write and perform in the first all-woman show at the Footlights as well as achieve a first-class degree. She began her broadcasting career in children’s television playing Ethel in the long-running Saturday-morning show Number 73.
She has gone on to dazzle audiences in celebrated series such as Call My Bluff (as regular team captain) and Whose Line Is It Anyway? She was host of Antiques Master for BBC2 and 1001 Things You Should Know for Channel 4. In 2016, she took over from Stephen Fry as host of QI, BBC2’s fiendishly difficult and hugely popular quiz.
In 2017 she and Noel Fielding became co-hosts of the Great British Bake Off. For a decade Sandi was a familiar voice for BBC Radio 4 listeners as the chair of The News Quiz which led to her induction into the Radio Hall of Fame.
Sandi is passionate about live performance. She performed at the very first night of The Comedy Store in London and for many years was a member of the Comedy Store Players, an improvisational comedy team.
Sandi conceived Playhouse Live for Sky Arts, producing specially commissioned live drama for television and for three years was both a writer for the series and the executive producer. In 2019 she became president of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.
Her work for the theatre includes co-writing the musical Big Night Out at the Little Sands Picture Palace Theatre (with Dillie Keane) and the Shakespeare deconstruction The Pocket Dream (with Elly Brewer). Her adaptation of Treasure Island reopened the Leicester Haymarket Theatre in December 2018 and in 2019 her adaptation of Mamma Mia the Party opened at London’s 02. She wrote the 2019 Globe Theatre family show Christmas at the (Snow) Globe.
In 2014 she co-founded the Women’s Equality Party. Sandi has received an OBE but is yet to be made a National Trevor.