POINT OF INTEREST
SANDI TOKSVIG IS BACK FOR A NEW SERIES OF THE FACT-SHARING QUIZ – AND SHE’S GETTING COMFORTABLE…
It’s always an uncertain time for a TV series when a long-serving presenter decides to depart, so there was some nervousness when Stephen Fry stood down as the host of QI and Sandi Toksvig stepped in.
Of course, as a regular guest on the show and a quiz host in her own right, Sandi quickly made the role her own – and now that she’s back for her second series in the host’s chair, she tells Inside TV that she’s having a fantastic time…
Do you feel more comfortable now you have one series under your belt?
I suppose I must do, except I loved it from the beginning! It’s like my dream job. I’ve never not felt comfortable, and that’s down to the team – but I already knew them because I’d been a guest so many times. The only difference in terms of my comfort is that last time I had somebody else’s chair on a box, and now I’ve got my own chair. So that’s a little more comfortable.
The show is a total treasure trove of information – is that part of the joy for you?
Well, there’s no end to how interesting the world is.
The issue is not finding the material, the issue is what to leave out! And then you add to that everybody riffing, the wonderful guests we’ve had on this series, and there isn’t room for everything. I always bemoan the stuff we don’t put in the show. You want to have another one where you go, “And here are all the odds and ends that we couldn’t fit in!”.
Are people ever nervous about coming on the show for the first time?
Yes, you do get that sometimes. I always say to them, “Don’t worry about being funny, worry about being quiet. So say something, anything, because then somebody else can be funny”. It can be hard getting people to open their mouths for the first time, so quite often if it’s a brand-new person, you may notice that I ask them a direct question. I’ll say, “What do you think about that?” to get them to open their mouths, and then they’re up and
running. But we’ve had some wonderful debuts from people.
There’s been a lot of talk about getting more women on panel shows as guests, but there are still very few women at the helm of one. What do you make of that?
When they came up with the idea that there should be a woman on every panel, my view was that there should be more women chairing. And that’s no disrespect to any of the wonderful boys who chair shows, but I like to think that having a woman in the chair will soon not be unusual.
The best example is Victoria Coren-mitchell, she’s fantastic and is doing a bang-up job with Only Connect. And here’s the secret – when you’re the host they give you the answers, and the cards aren’t as heavy as I was led to believe, so it’s really not that difficult!
Do you have to do a lot of homework to get all the facts right?
Yes, because I take a lot of time over the scripts with the Elves. If I have an ambition, it’s that we don’t get a single viewer’s letter that begins,
‘In an otherwise amusing programme, I think you’ll find…’ – because ‘I think you’ll find’ is not fun! I’m really trying to make sure we nail the information so that when we say something is so, we’re absolutely sure that it is.
Quite interesting: The first panel of the new series
Two’s company: Sandi and her regular sidekick Alan Davies