Toksvig (CITV, 1988)
This is yet another CITV show from the late-80s that I don’t remember much about from the time, but after seeing some online recently, it’s another one that I feel deserves to be featured here. Sandi Toksvig had appeared on CITV since the early-80s, being best-known as Ethel on Saturday Morning show No. 73, and would often host the excitement of The Sandwich Quiz.
By the late-80s, the diminutive Dane was given a show of her own on CITV, and it is rather rather difficult to describe. TV Times had a go by saying it was “the magazine programme for young people”, and it featured several things, including a fancy opening sequence, comedy sketches, educational features, debates, and poetry, it really was all rather bizarre.
So for example, Sandi would take part in a rather silly sketch (usually assisted by the useless Marion), and then not long after she’d be discussing conspiracy theories about unexplained things like flying saucers and spontaneous combustion, so get ready to learn something. Viewers were also able to write in to test the big team of researchers with their tough questions. And teenagers would also talk about various things too.
And there was also some poetry written and performed by Joolz from what seemed to be an abandoned warehouse. Being another mysterious strange-haired woman from the 80s, I just had to find out more about her. It seems that Joolz was not someone you would expect to appear on CITV, being an angry woman from Bratford who performed some of her work to music and released lots of singles and albums, even earning some coverage in magazines including NME and Smash Hits, and she is not to be trifled with.
There were nine editions of Toksvig in only one series, produced by TVS and shown on Wednesdays, goodness knows what viewers at the time made of it, but I would definitely like to see more, it’s just about like no other CITV show that I’ve seen from around this time. There was even a guest appearance from Urban Strawberry Lunch, can you believe it! I mean, no!
Not long after this Toksvig managed to break out of CITV and get on to the alternative comedy circuit in the late-80s, including contributing to Whose Line Is It Anyway, and starring in Channel 4 sitcom The Big One. In more recent years, Toksvig has gone on host various game shows at the more cerebral end of the scale including the revival of Fifteen-To-One and QI.
Oh, and there was a talking donkey as well.