Sandi Toksvig OBE is a prolific comedienne, writer, presenter and activist, and is in high demand for her presenting, speaking and hosting skills.
From television to stage, radio to writing, the comic genius that is Sandi Toksvig has been at the forefront of the British media and arts scene for over 40 years, and she is a true legend of the industry. As an openly gay woman, Sandi has devoted much of her life to campaigning for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights. Sandi is perfectly suited to entertaining after-dinner talks and events thanks to her high profile, career longevity and appeal amongst a range of audiences.
Contact Great British Speakers today to book comedian women’s rights icon broadcaster Sandi Toksvig for your next event.
Sandi Toksvig is best known to UK audiences as a television presenter and broadcaster. She began her career in children’s television, playing Ethel in the long-running Saturday morning show Number 73 (1982-1988), and presenting shows such as The Saturday Starship (1984-1985), Gilbert’s Fridge (1988-1990) and The Talking Show (1993).
Since then, her career has included hosting and/or guest-appearing in celebrated series such as Call My Bluff (1996-2011), Whose Line Is It Anyway? (1988-1999), Mock The Week (2005-), Have I Got News For You (1990-), Antiques Master (2010), 1001 Things You Should Know (2012-2013) and What the Dickens (2008-2009). In 2014, Sandi took over from William G. Stewart for five years as the host of 15 to 1 (1988-2019), and in 2016, Sandi took over from Stephen Fry as the host of BBC2’s hugely popular show QI (2003-). In 2017, she joined Noel Fielding to become the new co-hosts of The Great British Bake Off (2010-) when it moved from the BBC to Channel 4; she left after three years.
In 2021, Sandi’s programme Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig (2021-) first broadcast; a critically-acclaimed and popular show which sees Sandi and four of her closet female friends travelling the UK and staying in extraordinary houses.
Sandi co-wrote the sitcom The Big One (1992) which she starred in alongside Mike McShane, as well as Island Race (1995), a documentary series co-presented with former Beirut hostage John McCarthy. Sandi also conceived Playhouse Live for Sky Arts, producing specially commissioned live drama for television.
As well as being a popular face on our television screens, Sandi is a favourite voice on the radio. For a decade, she was the chair of The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 which led to her induction into the Radio Hall of Fame. She has also been a guest on Desert Island Discs and Excess Baggage.
In 2020, Sandi launched a podcast series called We Will Get Past This which aimed to help people during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, by sharing stories of notable woman from her book collection. She also created and performed Vox Tox, a YouTube miniseries.
Sandi began her comedy career at Girton College, Cambridge where she wrote and performed in the first all-woman Footlights show as well as achieving a first-class degree. She was at college with the likes of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson.
Sandi is passionate about being able to perform live on stage. She was one of the performers at The Comedy Store in London on it’s very first night, and she was a member of The Comedy Store Players for many years.
She has starred on the stage in shows such as The Boyfriend, Androcles and the Lion, Much Ado About Nothing, A Little Night Music, Old King Cole and Comedy of Errors. She also spent a season with the New Shakespeare Company at Regents Park.
Much of Sandi’s time is devoted to writing, having written more than twenty fiction and non-fiction books including A Slice of the Moon (2015), The Little Viking (2008) and If I Didn’t Have Elbows (1998) for children, and Toksvig’s Almanac (2021), Peas and Queues: The Minefield of Modern Manners (2013) and Heroines and Harridans (2012) for adults.
For the theatre, Sandi co-authored the musical Big Night Out at the Little Sands Picture Palace Theatre starring Anita Dobson and Una Stubbs, the Shakespeare deconstruction The Pocket Dream with Elly Brewer, Charity Begins for Playhouse Live, Bully Boy and Silver Linings. She adapted Treasure Island which reopened the Leicester Haymarket Theatre in December 2018, and in 2019 her adaptation of Mamma Mia The Party opened at London’s O2.
Sandi regularly contributes as a columnist to Good Housekeeping, Sunday Telegraph and The Lady. Sandi often combines her activism with her writing to produce books like Girls Are Best (2009) about women’s history.
Her influence in television, publication and theatre writing earned her the title of President of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain in 2019.
Sandi is an activist for gender equality and in 2014/15 she co-founded the Women’s Equality Party.
Sandi came out as homosexual in the early 90s, which became a life-threatening decision for her, forced into hiding by the backlash. Undeterred, she was resilient in the face of adversity and has gone on to be appointed President of the Women of the Year Lunch, patron of Humanist UK and support of Liberty injustice group.
In 2016, Sandi delivered the TED talk A Political Party for Women’s Equality, where she told the story of how she helped set up a new British political party, with the express purpose of putting equality on the ballot.
Sandi has worked with a number of charities and action groups including the Lesbian Avengers, Liberty, Humanists UK as well as co-creating the Women’s Equality Party in 2015.
– Theresa Montefiore Memorial Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement (whilst at Cambridge University)
– Raemaekers Prize for Archaeology (whilst at Cambridge University)
Show Business Personality of the Year – The Grand Order of Water Rats (1997)
– Channel 4 Political Awards – Political Humourist of the Year (2007)
– Radio Broadcaster of the Year – Broadcasting Press Guild (2007)
– Read it or Else Award – Coventry Inspiration Book Awards (for Hitler’s Canary) (2007)
– Broadcaster of the Year – Stonewall Awards (2008)
– Listening Books Award for the Spoken Word (2008)
– Voice of the Viewer and Listener Award for Individual Contribution to Radio (2009)
– Honorary Doctor of Letters – University of Portsmouth (2010)
– Chancellor – University of Portsmouth (2012)
– Honorary Fellowship – Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University (2012)
– Honorary Doctor of Letters – University of Surrey (2012)
– Honorary Doctor of Letters – York St John University (2012)
– Roberts Radio Special Award – Voice of the Listener & Viewer Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting (2013)
– Order of the British Empire (OBE) (2013)
– Overcoming Adversity
– LGBTQ+ Issues
– Fighting for Equality
– Women’s Equality Party
Sandi Toksvig is a rare voice of reason in a confusing modern world. She is laid back and down to earth, but educated, informative and passionate. Her relaxed understanding of people as individuals but also as part of a larger group means she can easily motivate and provide insight needed for personal and professional development.
Sandi was a delight, so personable and engaging.
Pitched just right – the audience were kept amused and the awards were kept going at a nice pace.
Moneyfacts Group Plc.
An excellent compere for this type of event – just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek humour, and a brisk but not too quick pace.
Chartered Institute of Building
An absolute pleasure. She did a fantastic job with our guests – hit exactly the right tone and kept everyone laughing.
Your speech was brilliant. Entirely up to expectations and I really appreciated you taking time to meet people. I have had a flood of emails from so many people saying how much they had enjoyed the evening and how excellent your speech was.
Lesley Ainsworth, Lovells LLP.