SU: Any woman who's presented TV programmes ranging from “The Good Sex Guide Late” to “Songs Of Praise” is a woman who likes a bit variety in her career I'm thinking. Definitely the case with our next quest – Toyah Willcox. 

Toyah of course used to live here in Wiltshire and is known for her music career, 13 Top 40 singles, she also starred in movies and many stage plays and is actually back on the boards next week because she brings a very popular “Hormonal Housewives” show to the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon. 

So what do woman and indeed men in the audience expect to see? We can find out because I spoke with her earlier – it's Toyah Willcox!

TOYAH: (on the phone) Hello! How are you?

SU: Very well, thank you! What attracted you then to the show?

TOYAH: Well, it's comedy and to perform comedy is an absolute joy. I don't get to do it that often, I think I only get to do that every ten years and I've been in the business for 35 years. It's a wonderful way to hone your art. I love the fact that with comedy you spend the first five pages before the punch line setting the joke up. 

And because this script has a laugh every five lines it's quite complex although you would think the presentation is incredibly simple and straightforward. It's a pure piece of joy celebrating women. It's very naughty, it's very Chaucerian, there's no swearing but I think people are surprised how naughty it is (Su laughs)

SU: All I can remember from my A-level English Chaucer is “you clipped a farter!”

TOYAH: Oh, there's lots of that!

SU: Is there lots of that? Oh, fair enough! It's a three hander – there's only three of you. Does that make it tough as a performer?

TOYAH: I like it because I'm used to being on stage with my band and being the front person who has to fit everything together and do all the talking between the songs. With this being a three hander we're all there for each other and we're all setting up each others jokes. 

We don't really leave the stage, we sometimes have to go into the wings and pick up a prop but it's 112 pages of dialogue for three people so it is demanding on that level but I'm finding the laughter is so extreme and so fluid that you get so much energy back off the audience because they're loving it. 

The more outrageous we are the bigger the reaction. So I'm finding it very very energising and we're exactly half way through this tour – we're doing 67 venues in two and a half months and I feel completely energised by it.

SU: So what have you had, not just from the women, I imagine it predominantly a female audience – what about the men who come as well?

TOYAH: Well, in 900 women we get about 6 men. (Su laughs) I think they have to be slightly perverse to want to be there. I think some arrived there and realised it's a women's show. But men are welcome. But they should only come if they enjoy female banter because this is celebrating all types of women, it's not suitable for anyone under 16 because it is rude but it's a celebration of women. 

It's not political, it's not feminist, it recognises everything women know but sometimes they don't talk about because they think no-one wants to know about competition at the school gates or suddenly realising you're a size larger than a size 16. They think they can't talk about these things but we do.

SU: You mentioned it's a long tour you're going on. Does it mean you just sort of back up your car with everything you could possibly need?

TOYAH: Yeah. I got snowed in on the M23 a month ago and was on the M23 near Brighton for 14 hours and I coped with that because my boot has bedding in, clothes in (Su laughs), food, water and I have packed it for armageddon

It just makes sense because we're doing an average 4 to 6 hours travel a day and you don't always get time to just stop off. So I'm very well equipped.

SU: This means of course you're coming back to Wiltshire and you lived here in Broad Chalke for a long time. What are your memories of Broad Chalke?

TOYAH: I loved living in Wiltshire, very happy memories. Wonderful friends! I love the theatre in Salisbury and I love Salisbury, full stop.

SU: And your home was Reddish House (below), wasn't it? Was it haunted, wasn't it suppose to be haunted or something?

TOYAH: Well, we think it was haunted by Cecil Beaton. I never experienced meeting Cecil Beaton but funny enough my husband did. He woke up one night and Cecil Beaton was at the end of the bed trying to tell him something. That's the first time and the last time my husband has ever seen a ghost. (Su laughs) 

SU: Now, we have prepared a little quiz for you -

TOYAH: Oh, thank you!

SU: You say that now, Toyah! (Toyah laughs) We've done a jingle as well. So please don't be overwroat by this musicality of this jingle. Here it comes! (plays jingle “It's Toyah's quiz, it's Toyah's quiz”) Lovely! (Toyah laughs) 

The quiz is based on a survey about men and women, I thought tie it in with “Hormonal Housewives” - see how you get on.


SU: OK, three questions for you – it's true or false answers. Women talk almost three times as much as men? Is that true or is that false?

TOYAH: I think that's true.

SU: That is absolutely true. On average females say 20 000 words a day, men just 7000. Whatever! Number two: women now earn on average the same as men in the workplace. True or false?

TOYAH: No, that is not true.

SU: That is absolutely right, it's a false one, women earn on average 19.5% less than men for full time work. Oh, you're 100% right so far. Right, third one: men will shop longer, happily, than women. True or false? Who loves to shop?

TOYAH: Women!

SU: Of course! (Toyah laughs) Apparently men and women who shop together as a couple can do so for 72 minutes before they start to quarrel but women can just shop happily on for another 28 minutes! 

Toyah have a lovely time on your return to Wilshire, we look forward to seeing you at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon!

TOYAH: Lovely, thank you!


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