BBC RADIO 4
BBC RADIO 4
Toyah Willcox chairs the comedy quiz in which all the questions are about the guest host. With Sue Perkins, Caroline Quinlan, Robin Ince and Will Smith.PRESENTER: Now here on Radio 4 we hand over to the Princess Of Punk.
SUE: Welcome to the Personality Test, a panel show in which a brand new host takes the seat every week to present a quiz all about themselves. And today’s show is all about Toyah Willcox.
TOYAH: Hello and welcome to the Personality Test panel show with a special subject every week. I’m Toyah Willcox and this week the special subject is meee! (Laughter)
And here with me this week to find all about me are Sue Perkins and Will Smith and Carrie Quinlan and Robin Ince. (Applause) The panel have meant to have spent the last week getting clued on my life and numerous careers. If you ask me, a week isn’t long enough but let’s see what they’ve unveiled. Sue, you little sweetheart, you go first.
SUE: Toyah was in 1958 to middle class parents in Birmingham, misfit, a rebellious child she remembers going to Sex Pistols gig and for the first time thought “I’m not alone.” Her next thought was “how can I both pogo and wipe this gob of my face?” (Laughter)
TOYAH: It’s easy, let me tell you, that’s very well done Sue, you’ve obviously been clueing up all week. Now Will, how well have you done?
WILL: Toyah’s big year was 1981 when she had several top ten hits including “It’s A Mystery”, “I Want To Be Free.” Toyah found the lyrics to "I Want To Be Free” in an decade old exercise book, this method of creativety eventually led to the aborted album project “What I did On My Holidays” (Laughter)
TOYAH: So true, very good Will. Now let’s see what you have to say, young Carrie?
CARRIE: Toyah has also presented many programs for television, most famously the couples advice series “The Good Sex Guide.” Broadcast at 10.30 at night this featured Toyah shouting repeatedly at the camera “Shouldn’t you two, y’know maybe go to bed?! (Laughter)
TOYAH: So true, so true. Robin, we can’t miss you out. What have you learned about me this week?
ROBIN: Since the height of her fame Toyah has continued to produce music while pursuing a lively stage and pantomime career. She’s played Peter Pan three times (below), no one knows how Toyah stays so young looking. Well they do as you wrote that book about plastic surgery you had (Audience: "Oooh!" Laughter)
TOYAH: It’s true!
ROBIN: (To the audience) What you mean we can’t talk about! Oh how dare you bring that best selling book up?! Toyah has been trying to keep that best selling book a secret! (Laughter)
WILL: Well mustaches are kind of tricky because on one hand you’ve got your evil mustaches, Hitler, Stalin, The Chuckle Brothers (Laughter) and on the other hand you’ve got your fun mustaches, Tom Selleck , Inspector Clouseau , Anne Robinson (Laughter and "Ooh!") and I think you have to come down on the side of hate because there’s always something fundamentally wrong with a man and a mustache.
They’ve always got self-esteem issues and a mustache is one of three warning signs about a man, along with pipe and dungarees (Laughter). If you ever meet a man wearing dungarees, smoking a pipe and has a moustache, just run! He might be a shepherd but there’s probably a reason he lives in the hills. (Laughter)
TOYAH: I think that’s very mustache’ish (Laughter) I tell you what it is about mustaches…it’s not so much that I dislike them on men because I DO dislike them on men but I get rather thrilled knowing that Paris Hilton is going to hit 49, which is the age I am now, and she’s going to have to pluck her mustache every day (Laughter) so I do like mustaches on women!
SUE: (At the same time ) … on women!
WILL: Yeah but she’s not actually going to do it though is she?(Toyah, Will and Sue all speak at the same time)
TOYAH:... She’ll bite them off!
WILL: There’s an Italian word, an old Italian word which is “pafona” which actually means a woman with a not appealing mustache. (Laughter) I’m sorry by the way I’ve just realised I’m channeling Nigel Reece (?) but let’s not worry about that now. (Laughter)
TOYAH: Well just give me another year and I will have a pafona. (Laughter)
You did really well there Will and Sue. Good five points.
SUE: Aah, thank you!
TOYAH: Now, Carrie and Robin, this is a subject close to my heart. Tights. Sweaty sacks of misery or Wonderbras for the legs?
ROBIN: Personally I have to admit I think the only person who would like tights would be a person involved in some kind of heist situation … I’ve always wondered who was the first bank robber to bring out the fact that maybe they should put their wife’s tights on their head? Because they’re very burly normally Cockney type of tough men ... (Laughter)
TOYAH: Robin, you’re coming across as a man who’s never taken a pair of tights off a woman …
ROBIN: Do you know I don’t think I ever have taken a woman’s tights, I’ve never gone out with a woman with a kind of age they wear American tan tights … now I don’t like tights … I don’t think the kind of people who wear work boots and jeans and after they say it’s not working out due to some kind of genre quandary ... so I’m going to pass that over to you Carrie.
CARRIE: (Sarcastically) Thanks! (Laughter) I think the very existence of a gusset, something called a gusset … probably puts you off. Even though it’s quite a funny word. Gusset! (Laughter) and yet as a former punk -
TOYAH: I’m still a punk …
CARRIE: As a current punk (Laughter), the neon advantages of the tight might appeal. I don’t know … I’m gonna go with Robin, you’re probably more a stocking lady.
TOYAH: Stocking on me is more like body condom (Laughter). A stocking on me is like a sleeping bag!
CARRIE: Are you more of a pop sock lady?
TOYAH: Now that is a stocking for me! OK, tights … right, I didn’t think that the subject would flummox you both so much. A lot of my life and my work is having to co-operate with my costumes and my costume designs.
What costume designers don’t seem to understand is that performers are living, breathing organisms who need to eat and need to eliminate. So why do we always end up in corsets and tights and 30 second pee breaks in the middle of “Much Do About Nothing”? (Laughter)
There’s so many times when I’ve been sown into my tights with a bad stomach on stage, sometimes, very rarely, but Wembley Arena, 16 000 people and you’re in tights and you think bloody hell what I’m going to do about this? (Laughter)
You did very well, I’m going to award you 4 points purely because you were stumped on the subject matter and Robin is obviously completely clueless about tights!
ROBIN: And will remain so for the rest of his life! (Laughter)
TOYAH: Sue, Will. From high women to high pitch, Mariah Carey’s top notes - awesome or awful?
SUE: Of course it’s great to see “You Got Me Feeling Emotions”… she obviously gets me feeling emotions ... rage, hatred, bewilderment, sadness … did I say rage? Always bleeding and rage so I think she’s got something called the whistle register - she can sing five 5 to 6 octaves and no-one believes that those really high top notes are really her, they thought that a synthesiser or something kicked in …
TOYAH: Well no-one can hear them they’re so high.
SUE: Yes, well my Doberman’s face exploded when she sang “All I Want For Xmas”, terrible mess over the carpet and my nana had a fit (Laughter) I think that you think her voice is impressive but it’s sort of soulless, it’s got range, but it’s got no class, it’s no debt.
ROBIN: It’s more about the notes than showing off, it doesn’t convene the actual emotions, it’s like somebody doing a handstand when boiling an egg, it doesn’t add anything to it at all (Laughter) I just don’t like her anyway. She’s really demanding, she has to have puppies backstage.
TOYAH: I was there. Yeah I was working at VH1 … (below)
ROBIN: What does she need puppies for?
TOYAH: She’d refused the dressing room, she had to have a Winnebago and wanted six newly born puppies to stroke during the interview.
ROBIN: Did she leave the puppies - so they were just for her to stroke?
TOYAH: No, she ate them. (Laughter)
ROBIN: Why didn’t they say, “No, you don’t need to stroke puppies to do an interview, not seen other people do it”
TOYAH: Not only did they say no they lined up all the staff up at VH1 and MTV and made us applaud her as she walked into the building …
ROBIN: Is she Marie Antoinette?! She’s insane! If anyone deserves to spend a day down in a coal mine it’s her!I would still bloody hear her singing ..
SUE: (Mock high pitched singing) Iiiihhhhhh!
ROBIN: I could hear her wailing when she was falling!
TOYAH: I think you’re psychic, you did pick up on me there so I’m going to give another 5 points to you guys. Right, Will. Brian Sewell, do I find him yummy but plummy or am I a paid-up member of the vowel protection league? What do you think?
WILL: Well you’ve got to love Brian Sewell -
TOYAH: God yeah -
WILL: The voice, the voice it just conjures up neckties, Crème de Menthe, holidays in Tangiers in the 30’s (Laughter) He’s got that sort of voice where you think “Have you never heard yourself”? (Laughter)
I’m slightly worried I sound a bit pretty and middle glass so I kind of "London it up" a bit if I’m talking to a plumber or a taxi driver … if he drops his accent he still kind of sounds like a Roman emperor trying to seduce a slave boy (Laughter)
Now that’s fine if you are actually and Roman emperor trying to seduce a slave boy, that’s how you should sound … if you’re trying to negotiate a fair price for roof tiles it’s going to be problematic.
SUE: I think you love him because he’s a gent, he’s eccentric, he’s quintessentially British, even his sweat smells of Corduroy (Laughter)
WILL: The other thing is his name is really posh but when he says it it sounds even posher, it’s amazing-
SUE: (In a mock posh drawl) Briiiian Sewelll ... (Laughter)
WILL: I did some really ghastly TV show with him, this woman was interviewing him, they were talking about the Princess Diana memorial because he didn’t believe that there should be one, it should be spent on hospitals and she went “Oh don’t you think the people, they want a Princess Diana memorial?” and he said “Yes, but people are idiots!” (Laughter)
SUE: I don’t think you would be the vowel police of Brian Sewell, I think you’re not somebody who strikes me as being pedantic about the way people speak or the language. I think that you think one should express oneself in a manner that one can.
WILL: As long as you stroke puppies.
TOYAH: It’s true, I adore Brian Sewell. I made a series with him called “Under Offer” and this was about house prices and I don’t know what he thought he was coming onto, probably a thing about Buckingham Palace and the royal family... but we had to guess house prices in the south of England and we sat on our panel and we were shown a film and I said “Brian, I think that’s worth £700 000!” and he said “Oh shut up you stupid woman!”
(Laughter) and everything he ever said to me was “Oh shut up you stupid woman!” But I just loved him to death, he’s a fabulous man. So it’s another five points to Sue and Will! So the total so far in the show means that Sue and Will have 15 points and Carrie and Robin have 13 points ! (Applause)
After four decades in music - oh dear that sounds a lot longer than it actually is! I’m always looking out for new projects to keep me on the cutting edge of Top Of The Pops or what ever is you kids are watching these days, listening to on your MP4 iCods (Laughter) I want the panel to come up with ideas for new musical collaborations for me and I’ll decide if it’s the right note or falls flat on it’s face. Carrie, you first.
CARRIE: I have to break you the news that Top Of The Pops is no more -
CARRIE: Yeah, Saturday morning kids shows are gone as well so that little outlet for music -
TOYAH: What I’m to do with my career -
CARRIE: It’s a real tragedy and they’ve been taken over by cookery programs which might pick you up a bit I know you love to cook -
TOYAH: I do love to cook -
CARRIE: So I was thinking maybe bring those two things together, cookery and music so you could do “Jamie Olivers’ Army”, perhaps as a cover, you could form the Antony Worrall Thompson Twins (Laughter)
TOYAH: I’m very impressed, they’re brilliant. Robin, I need some new ideas for my career, what have you come up with?
ROBIN: I’m always trying to get my evolutionist theories into this show and I know that’s a bad thing as a lot of the radio 4 listeners don’t believe in evolution they believe in the theory of “Dadaa!! (Laughter) so I was hoping that we could perhaps get you together with choral monks who are also involved in experiments on peas-
TOYAH: I’d like that -
ROBIN: In a sort of Mendel tradition, I’ve even got a kind of opening lyrics for you which is “I eat my peas with honey, I’ve done it all my life, it makes the peas taste funny, but I think it’s generecessive gene”. (Laughter) So it’s kind of educational as well, I’ve even got “plays the spoons on hollow headed men”, er …
TOYAH: They haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about! I’ve got to award you points after that and I’m feeling slightly confused, can I award him minus 5?
ROBIN: Yeah! (Audience: "Boo! Nooo!") (In over-the-top-theatrical voice) Why do people always punish the Avant Garde?! (Laughter)
TOYAH: OK, well it’s over to you Will.
WILL: You’re known for being eclectic and unpredictable, you’ve done punk, you’ve done new wave you’ve done Avant Garde so I tried to think some new genres you could
ROBIN: Ambient punk! (Toyah laughs)
WILL: Ambient punk which involves somebody shouting over Vangelis (Laughter) (Toyah cackles) There’s also electro country that’s Erasure meets Hank Williams. So it’s lots of heartbreak and loss to a high energy gay beat. (Laughter) You can emerge classical and jazz to produce "jazzcical", that’s a whole orchestra playing out of time and tune (Laughter) and lastly you emerge progressive rock and rap, the best of white, the best of black, to form progressive rap.
It’s just raps that go on for hours and hours and hours (Laughter) Whereas in progressive rock the bands would kind of suddenly use a theme from a classical piece, in progressive rap they would suddenly go into great speeches from history like the or The Gettysburg Address or Churchill’s “Fight them on the beaches” before going back into their endless endless rap ...
TOYAH: I like it, especially Vangelis (above). Shouting over Vangelis that just puts a smile on my face! Thank you very much I’m going to give you 5 points for that. Sue, any ideas for me please?
SUE: I’ve got you teaming up with Desmond Decker the reggae and ska supremo to form Desmond Willcox (Laughter. Will cracks up) I don’t know how it would work but I think it’s worth giving it a go (Will is still cracking up). “It’s A Mystery The Derek Acora Musical”, where he pretends to a have sprit guide called Sam, asks the general public a lot of vacuous questions like “have you ever lived in a house?”, “do you know someone?” and “have you ever touched a lady?”
And if they say “yes” to any of those he pretends to know something about somebody who’s passed over. Yvette Fielding on visual screaming like a pig and you’re singing “It’s A Mystery” in a loop (Laughter) “Good Sex Guide” combined with “Songs Of Praise, both of which you’ve featured in, called “Praise Good Sex”, (Laughter) where people have it off and re-animated Thora Hird shouts “Praise be!” every time somebody achieves coitus. (Laughter and applause)
TOYAH: Thank you Sue, you did mention “It’s A Mystery” three times in that diet of tripe which means I’m going to deduct a point from your ten points.
TOYAH: OK well at the end of that round the scores are Sue and Will 24 points and Carrie and Robin 13 and a half points! (Applause)What is truth and what is fiction? It’s a mystery but it will no longer be a mystery to you if you can guess if the following statements about me are true or false? This is for Carrie and Robin: I was the first person ever to wear a rubber dress on TV, true or false?
CARRIE: I like the fact that someone has made a record … ”right, has anyone ever worn a rubber dress on television before?” and presumably gone through the archives?
ROBIN: I think … see my initial sense is that’s it’s false because of obviously of Nicholas Witchell … but then I realised he always wore a suit over that so I think you’re the first person to visibly wear a rubber dress on television.
TOYAH: It’s a very good answer. It was 1984 I was on the set of Das Boot shooting a video for a music program in Germany and what they didn’t tell me is that if you wear rubber under lights it goes quite fluid and on the set of Das Boot at the time they would have train fulls of tourists going past the set taking pictures of the set.
And these trains carried about 200 people so there I was shooting a video on the set, in this rubber dress, sweating profusely when the dress slid of completely, went down around my ankles, where it cooled and shrank around my ankles like clingfilm leaving me completely starkers.
SUE: Many seabirds where injured that day! (Laughter)
TOYAH: So that is true! Five points to Carrie and Robin! Now, Sue and Will I’ve never had plastic surgery, I can’t abide the stuff, is that true or false?
ROBIN: Well seeing as you’ve written a book about how you’ve had plastic surgery-
ROBIN: I’d say that was true.
SUE: I think you view plastic surgery as a tool that is there for people to improve themselves should they wish and it’s everyone’s individual right to do what they want with their face. If only Ann Widdecombe would take hers elsewhere ...
TOYAH: Very polite of you Sue but I’m just a publicity tart and I would do anything to get on a cover of a magazine! I want to be the first person to my fingers attached to my forehead, therefore I believe in plastic surgery -
SUE: You want your fingers attached to your forehead?!!
TOYAH: I defy anyone at the age of 23 to say they don’t believe in plastic surgery, you just wait 20 years - you’d have anything done to look normal -
SUE: I don’t look normal now why would I want to wait when I was 50 something?!
TOYAH: But anyway that is true I’m going to give you six points for that. Robin and Carrie, I was the first performer ever to appear in a West End musical without an orchestra, true or false?
CARRIE: Showboat ?
ROBIN: No, it’s a kind of thing that otherwise it’s not a good (?) so I think that going for the fact if I go “false” you go “you’re right they’ve done it lots of times” so I think for that reason alone I reckon true.
CARRIE: I think it’s true coz it must’ve been the 80’s, there must’ve been strikes everywhere and you said “NO! We’re going to do the show right here and grrr!”
ROBIN: You tie these symbals to my legs and off I go!
TOYAH: It’s absolutely true. In 1987 I was in the West End in “Cabaret” (below) with Wayne Sleep and the musicians union put the orchestra on strike because Wayne flicked some orange peel into the orchestra pit so the orchestra went on strike. Gillian Lynne, the director was determined that the show went on so I was literally pushed on with a broom and said “sing!”
And there was no orchestra, full house and all I had was the chorus line in the wings clicking their fingers (clicks her fingers) giving me the time. And it made onto News At Ten it was that unusual, it went into the Guinness Book Of Records as the first musical performed without an orchestra ...
SUE: For such a petty reason … it was like “ooh and than then he gave them Chinese burn! ” Wayne Sleep has been in a show with gayer people than him going “ooh it’s orange peel, ooh it’s ghastly!” (Laughter)
TOYAH: I’m going to give Robin and Carrie nine points for that for being so on the ball. Now Sue and Will: I once opened my door to David Bowie while I was dressed as a dominatrix. True or false?
SUE: Oh I think there’s very little time during the 1980’s and 90’s when you weren’t dressed as a dominatrix! (Laughter) I can just imagine you going to get your milk and down the shops to buy - obviously not tights - unless you’d bust through a pack the night before, I don’t know but … oh yeah, I mean-
WILL: Do you think it’s true, could’ve been a dressing room thing … if David Bowie is coming round you wouldn’t think “better dress as a dominatrix”, or maybe you would I don’t know -
SUE: No you were dressed as Coco the clown, he came round, you squirted a hilarious flower in his eye he said “go away”.
WILL: It’s a sort of thing that happens to David Bowie, so yes.
TOYAH: No, it’s false, it was actually Bryan Ferry.
WILL: Really? (laughter)
TOYAH: I was at home at the time trying on a new stage outfit, he knocked on the door, he came in, stayed a few hours, I charged him 50 quid, sent him home with smacked botton (Laughter)
SUE: Then he made “Slave To Love” (Laughter)
TOYAH: Woah! I was going to give you nil points but for that one you’re gonna get 4 points.
TOYAH: At the end of that round Sue and Will have 42 points and Carrie and Robin have 32 and a half points! (Applause) As well a having a successful music career I have also wrestled with Shakespeare in “Midnight Summer’s Dream”, wrestled with my sexuality in “Aladdin” and in just plain wrestling I’ve done “Trafford Tanzi” (below) and I’ve also wrestled with most of my leading men. Can the panel offer their suggestions for a new stage show for me to do? Robin, you first.
ROBIN: I came up with one which is just “Laryngitis The Musical” for people who don’t really like musicals very much. The whole cast come out and go (Coughs loudly) “Florence Nightingale The Musical” just because you could have “Krime A River (Laughter)
SUE: Oh shame on you!
ROBIN: What about “Leviticus The Musical”- I don’t know if anyone of us had read it because my god that’s got to be catchiest book of the Bible to … (sings with a mighty voice) ”Are you mad, leaping mad then both men should be stoned to deaathhh!” That would be good (sings again) “If man lies with animal then both the animal and the man must be stoned to deaathhhh”
SUE: (Sings something)
ROBIN: (Still singing) “How sexy the donkey was, sexy donkey sexy donkey”. That kind of thing (Laughter) “The Human Genomes The Musical” coz I want to keep the genomes in there, it’s with you with the cast of Sesame Street educating children about the human genome, and it’s you on stage for seven and half hours going “acddddatttggggg” and at end you go (Sings) “Helps make the protein for fingernails” (Laughter)
TOYAH: That was brilliant, five points to you matey. Now, Carrie. What have you got for me?
CARRIE: There ‘s an awful lot at the moment of taking an existing idea and then changing it in an incredibly lazy way and displaying no imagination in doing so - so I thought you could do “Much Do About…Something” (Laughter), or sequels tend to be popular, “The Four Sisters”, “Richrd The Fourth”, “Oh, There's Goddo!” (Laughter)
TOYAH: Excellent Carrie, I only wish I’d read half of them in the first place but I’m going to give you 5 points. Young Sue what have you got up your sleeve for me?
SUE: I’ve got some re-workings of some classic musicals which I thought might be interesting. “Mrs Doolittle”, the wife of Dr Doolittle, whoever sadly she is not a qualified veterinarian, her claims that she can communicate with creatures are refuted and she’s just sent to the nutbin, big song there: “If You Could Talk To The Animals As I Can No Really I Can Please Get Your Hands Of Me Where Are You Taking Me No Not The Cuffs Go Away!” Massive showtune that (Laughter) “First Great Western And Starlight Express”, Starlight Express is taken over by First Great Western (Laughter)(Toyah laughs)
(To the audience) Got half an hour have you…? Who despite retaining excellent staff they are forced to run the business into the ground by an over reliance by soft furnishings and limited ability to let trains run on time or even to the hour. The hit song there: “Would You Like Compensation, You Are Entitled I Could Help You Fill Out This Form Is You Like?”
TOYAH: That’s absolutely fantastic. I’m going to give you 6 points for that. So Will, what you have me doing on the West End stage? That is legal? (Laughter)
WILL: Well you’ve mainly done Shakespeare, panto and musical and I can’t suggest any new Shakespeare plays but I can have a go at new panto’s and musicals so I thought of “Farting Beauty” (Laughter ) A beautiful girl is cursed with horrendous flatulence, which can only be cured by sleeping with a frog which turns out to be a dwarf.
Or the other way round. “Goldie And The Three Bears”, the UK rap star and cameo Bond villain hunts three famous bears, that are Paddington (below), Yogie and Huggy. And I’ve got two musicals, “Seven Brides For One Brother” subtitled “The Greedy Mormon” (Laughter) and also “Annie Get Your Gun And Hand It In, There’s An Amnesty and Your’re Only 14.” (Laughter)
TOYAH: Will ,that was absolutely superb, I’m giving you 7 points (Applause)So the scores so far are at the end of that round Sue and Will have 64 points and Carrie and Robin have 58 and a half points! (Applause)
We are nearly at the end of the show but just when you thought you had found out everything about me, there’s still some time for the panel to pay me one last lovely tribute and points will be deducted for any more mention of mysteries and bright red hair, so Carrie you first:
CARRIE: From “Quadrophenia” to “Songs Of Praise”, from “Sheepfarming In Barnet” to bushtucker trials, from a “Neon Womb” to a lovely taut face, if only everyone could have a Barmy Aunt Boomerang (below) just like you Toyah!
TOYAH: I think that was decidedly cynical you old cow …
TOYAH: Nil points.
CARRIE: Do you know that’s only one on this series I’ve actually meant nicely. All the others have been cynical and I’ve got big points-
TOYAH: I’m not like that. Sue?
SUE: I think Toyah when your end finally comes aged 107 they will say about you that you triumphed and gone further than any plastic surgeon knew how to go. You finally achieved fingers on your forehead ,which we all know was a lifetime ambition, not only that but your toes hung like jewels from your earlobes.
You didn’t know when you died, you didn’t know your ass from your elbow, as it turns out the two were now side by side. Long live Toyah!
TOYAH: Sue. Nil points. (Laughter) Robin?
ROBIN: Toyah Willcox, I saw her boobs when I was 12 in Derek Jarman’s “The Tempest” and that’s why I never learned how tights work! (Laughter)
TOYAH: Robin. 50 points. (Laughter) Will?
WILL: Toyah Willcox was a singer, actress and a celebrity who moved effortlessly between stage and screen, but she's perhaps best summed up as the Adam Ant of ladies (Laughter)
TOYAH: Is that coz I can “stand and deliver”? (Laughter)
TOYAH: Will. 51 points. (Laughter) The final scores at the end of the final round are Sue and Will have 155 points and Carrie and Robin have a 148 and a half points which makes Sue and Will the winning team (Applause) Unfortunately we’ve come to the end of the show so from me Toyah Willcox and our panel and production team thanks for listening and goodnight!