Sandi Toksvig

Address by the Public Orator, Dr Paul Jenkins, to be given on 17 July 2018

Sandi Toksvig was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and brought up around the world in Europe, Africa and the United States. She began her comedy career at Girton College, Cambridge where she found time to write and perform in the first all-woman show at the Footlights as well as achieving a first class degree.

Sandi is passionate about live performance. She performed at the very first night of The Comedy Store in London and for many years was a member of The Comedy Store Players, an improvisational comedy team. For three years she was the executive producer of Playhouse Live for Sky Arts, producing specially commissioned live drama for television and six new half hour films.

Sandi is well known to UK audiences as a broadcaster having begun her career in children’s television playing Ethel in the long running Saturday morning show Number 73. Since then her television career has included regular appearances on the award winning Whose Line Is It Anyway? and six years as team captain on Call My Bluff. For a decade Sandi was the host of Radio 4’s The News Quiz which led to her induction into the Radio Hall of Fame. She currently hosts the BBC entertainment show QI for which she was BAFTA nominated this year, and Sandi also co-hosts The Great British Bake Off.   She has just concluded her tenth season hosting the game show 15-1 for Channel 4.

Sandi has written over twenty books including fact and fiction for both children and adults.  Her stage play, Bully Boy, was the opening production of London’s newest theatre, the St James. Her latest play Silver Linings opened in February 2017 and her most recent novel The End of the Sky was published in the same year.

Sandi has just concluded a five year term as Chancellor of Portsmouth University and is involved with many charities focusing on civil liberty, women’s rights and education.  In 2014 she was made an OBE for services to broadcasting.  In March 2015 along with journalist Catherine Mayer, she co-founded Britain’s newest and fastest growing political party The Women’s Equality Party (WEP) which now has branches right across the UK.

Mr Chancellor, on the recommendation of the Senate and Council I present Sandi Toksvig, that you may confer upon her the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters.

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