ANDY POTTER: How are you?
TOYAH (on the phone): I'm really really good, thank you!
ANDY: Coming to Buxton then?
TOYAH: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. I'm going a show called “Up Close And Personal”. And basically it's an acoustic show driven by music – music that I'm known for so it's kind of slightly punky, rocky, there are commercial elements because I do all the hits but also I tell very light-hearted stories and show unseen pictures and footage behind me.
So it's – the whole point of the evening is I want people to feel they get to know something about how I've worked in the past but from a point of view they've never seen before.
ANDY: What's it like though - bringing up those picture from the past and turning around and looking at the screen and thinking “oh, that was me – what was I thinking then?”
TOYAH: Er, well, I mean that is a very good question because I remember very well what I was thinking all through these times in my life. I wish I could go back knowing what I know now because I think I would've enjoyed it more. I think the irony of getting older is you become more equipped to live but your body starts giving up on you and I think that's so cruel.
I look back and see pictures of when I worked with Katherine Hepburn, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Reeve and I just think “wow, if I could step back in time knowing what I know now I would've approached everything totally differently but within the same body and the same character. I just think hindsight is a very wonderful thing if a bit useless.
ANDY: Did you collect it all? Was there a big box underneath the stairs with clippings and memories?
TOYAH: Oh, what do you mean a big box – I have a warehouse! (Andy laughs) I have a costume store, I kept everything. I learned very early on that these archives are very very valuable. I have an archivist who I employ whom I've known since he was 4 years old and when he was 18 I employed him. He knows more about me than I do. Quite often I get questions I can't answer like what the set list for The Old Grey Whistle Test BBC2 1981? I don't know that but my archivist knows so I've kept everything.
ANDY: Is that the thing though when you do things like this – people will ask you questions and I suppose it's a bit like appearing in things like Dr Who, they tend know you better than you know yourself?
TOYAH: I love Dr Who, I love it! I love fans like that. They make my life more interesting and also they keep me on my toes because I'm getting on with my daily life as you've mentioned - I've got feature films this year, I've got well into a hundred shows, I'm living this year. And when you go there and you meet people who ask you questions about something that means a lot to them because it happened at an important time in their life.
I'm very grateful because otherwise I wouldn't go back on those memories. So I love people like that – for instance the snooker tournament I met you at, I don't think about that on a daily basis.
ANDY: There was you and Vicki Michelle from 'Allo 'Allo.
TOYAH: Yes, well, Vicky's a good friend of mine. And a big inspiration in my life. She's become a film producer in recent years. I just love the fact that Vicky has become more and more powerful as she gets older. And yes, I remember the snooker tournament – it was charity event wasn't it?
ANDY: Yeah, there were professionals and there was the celebrities -
TOYAH: Was Alex Higgins there?
ANDY: Don't think he was at the Derby one?
TOYAH: I've only met him once, I remember meeting him and being absolutely terrified!
ANDY: Why was that? Was it because you were starstruck or that you know the reputation -
TOYAH: No – the reputation. I was with my band and he made a beeline for the band and you could just tell all he looking for was a party that going to last a long time. I did a runner (Andy laughs). I've never been quite like that, I'm not a party animal and I just thought “I'm not staying – this is a car crash waiting to happen!”
ANDY: But I look at – you know, you've already said your diary for this year is incredibly full. You've already done a video with The Blockheads, Ian Dury's Blockheads – you play a part in that, we've seen you in “Splash!” on ITV
as well …
TOYAH: Yeah, that was great fun.
ANDY: Was it?
TOYAH: Oh, I miss it. I did two months training to do that dive that took no more than two seconds. I have loved it, it's absorbed my life for the whole of November and December. It was a fantastic challenge and a wonderful skill to learn. And I will never knock swimming again, I've never been so fit.
ANDY: Did they – did you have to keep it quiet though before it was announced you were in?
TOYAH: Yeah, I was on tour when I was training and it's very odd to be on tour on stage in front of a few thousand people and not being to tell them what's going on! So yes, I had to keep very quiet. I wasn't allowed to mention until a week before my appearance.
ANDY: Were you going to the swimming baths and getting higher every time you went – you looked at the board and went … (laughs)
TOYAH: Not only that but we were in public swimming baths so we all had to pretend to be not who we are. We all had to try and disguise ourselves. We weren't allowed to talk to anyone. It was really kind of like being an espionage spy! It was quite exciting. But yes, every training session we all got higher. Some didn't.
One training day with the wonderful Gemma Collins, who is a fantastic woman – and she just didn't want to get higher for obvious reasons. She was really bruising badly and I was bruising and I was already on the five meter. So some people made the decision they'd rather be safe.
ANDY (laughs): So what else do you want to do – because you have so many different things. It's almost like you know no fear when it comes to the entertainment industry -
TOYAH: It's a good question but really I am just an singer and and actress and I write. I just don't ever want to loose that energy. I don't want to give up because I'm just getting older. I really hope that I have the will and the energy to keep writing and to keep performing.
I absolutely adore acting on camera and so far this year I've got three films lined up. There may be 4. This is just the best year I've ever had – I've never made four feature films in one year. So I'm getting very excited that maybe as I'm getting older my dreams will still come true.
ANDY: I got to tell you - next time you're coming through you're coming into the studio and we're going to share a cup of tea as well.