The Write Offs

Series 1 - Episode 1



“So many words, and they all look the same,” says 30-year-old dad Craig, adding, “Oh, I hate myself so much”. Craig is standing in front of the shelf of spices in a supermarket with a sense of despair. He is one of the eight million people in Britain without basic literacy skills – and one of the eight who have volunteered to let Sandi Toksvig and a team of mentors help them read and write.

The quid pro quo is that Craig and the others submit to TV capers, like trying to navigate to a restaurant, or shop at a supermarket – things they find revealingly difficult. But Toksvig helps them tackle their demons and, over four months, we follow their progress in poignant, painful steps.


Part one of two. Sandi Toksvig helps eight adults who cannot read or write to master basic literacy, setting them fun challenges to put what they have learned so far to the test. In the first episode, Sandi meets the group for the first time, and after four weeks of tuition, they are set a travel-based challenge in the Peak District, getting to grips with map reading , signs, and railway departure boards. Prue Leith joins Sandi to set a cookery challenge - they must prepare a chicken pie from her recipe, including acquiring all the ingredients.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Sandi Toksvig
Contributor Prue Leith
Executive Producer Lana Salah
Series Director Richard Mears
Series Producer Richard Mears