Sandi Toksvig has promised her approach to hosting the Great British Bake Off will be “cheerful and warm”, which sounds about right – the QI host and former News Quiz presenter is already known for her enthusiasm and quick wit.
As the Bake Off moves to Channel 4, she will be presenting alongside Noel Fielding. But will the chemistry work? Either way, here is everything viewers need to know about Toksvig before tuning in to the tent…
Toksvig’s voice became familiar across the nation when she hosted Radio 4’s The News Quiz from 2006 to 2015. In October 2016 she replaced Stephen Fry as host of QI, and somehow she also found time to co-found the Women’s Equality Party in 2015.
How did Sandi Toksvig become famous?
The Danish-British comedian was born in 1958 in Copenhagen, the child of the TV and radio broadcaster Claus Toksvig. The Toksvig family lived in Africa and the US as they moved around for Claus’ work, with the young Sandi getting herself thrown out of two out of five schools in America. She was sent to a British boarding school with “high walls and barbed wire”, which she detested, but as a talented student she finally ended up at the University of Cambridge.
It was here that she first embraced comedy, writing and performing in the Cambridge Footlights and at The Comedy Store in London. She started out in TV presenting children’s programmes: No 73, The Saturday Starship, Motormouth and her own show Toksvig.
Sandi Toksvig on TV and radio
As a comedian, writer, actor, presenter and producer, Toksvig can be very funny – but she can also play things very straight. She has presented Time Team, Island Race, The Talking Show and Great Journeys, starred in the sitcom The Big One and Up the Women, and was a team captain on Call My Bluff.
Bake Off is far from the first time Toksvig has hosted a show on Channel 4. Back in 2012 she launched the game show 1001 Things You Should Know, and in 2014 revived the general knowledge quiz show Fifteen-to-One.
On the radio she hosted the travel show Excess Baggage and The News Quiz, Radio 4’s topical panel game show. She stepped down in 2015 and was replaced by Miles Jupp.
Is there anything Sandi Toksvig hasn’t done?
If you’re wondering how she can possibly find time to host The Great British Bake Off with all her other commitments, you should know that she is a pro at juggling a billion different projects at once.
Toksvig co-wrote and starred in the musical Big Night Out and also scripted Bully Boy. In 2010 she created and co-wrote Theatre Live for Sky Arts television, and her own film The Man (starring Stellen Skarsgard, Stephen Fry and Zoe Wannamaker) also aired on Sky.
Oh, and she has also written a ton of books (and for “ton”, read “more than 20”). These range from fiction to non-fiction, and are aimed at both children and adults: Hitler’s Canary, Valentine Grey, The Troublesome Tooth Fairy. That’s not to mention her column in Good Housekeeping magazine, or The Sunday Telegraph.
On top of that, Toksvig is just about to come to the end of her five years as Chancellor of Portsmouth University.
AND she co-founded the Women’s Equality Party in 2015, after deciding it was “not too late to fight the good fight, after all.”
Who is Sandi Toksvig married to?
Yesterday was my 10th wedding anniversary. Just wanted to thank everyone who fought for equal marriage. It's been the best thing ever for me
Toksvig lives on a houseboat in Wandsworth (and sometimes in an actual house in Kent) with her wife Debbie Toksvig, a psychotherapist. The two entered a civil partnership in 2007 and converted this into a marriage in 2014 after same-sex marriage was legalised.
She also has three grown-up children from her relationship with former partner Peta Stewart, who were conceived via artificial insemination – and she serves as step-mother to Debbie’s daughter.
Have Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding worked together before?
As we all know, Sandi Toksvig hosts QI, and Noel Fielding did take part in an episode of QI back in January alongside Alan Davies, Sarah Millican and Colin Lane. He was also on the show in December 2016 with Toksvig in charge.