JONATHAN: If I could choose just one word to describe my next guest, it would be versatility. Her music career has seen her labelled as the thinking man's punk, but she has also turned up on the big screen in such films as "The Tempest" and "Quadrophenia"

Most recently you might have seen her on TV in "Cluedo" standing in the parlour next to Colonel Mustard clutching a lead pipe. Did she do it? Let's find out - Toyah Willcox! Thank you for joining us!

TOYAH: Pleasure

JONATHAN: Last time I met you was on "Sunday Sunday", you'd been sort of forced to go around town with Paul Daniels. Must’ve been horrible for you?

TOYAH: Oh, it was terrible (the audience laughs)

JONATHAN: I was surprised because I followed your singing career. I'd bought a few of your records back in the early 80s -

TOYAH: You admit to that?!

JONATHAN: I do. I don't play them anymore but I bought them (Toyah laughs) But because then you started acting and I thought you just started acting but you'd been acting before -

TOYAH: Oh yeah, I started acting when I was about 18. I was at National Theatre in a play with Kate Nelligan, directed by Maximilian Schell. Got very good reviews. Then I formed a band and started to have hit singles

JONATHAN: And then after that - your acting probably is just as important now I guess as the music side, if not more so?

TOYAH: Both acting and singing are really important. I just want to do both really well and I think it takes a lifetime. You just have little obstacles in your way, especially with singing like ageism and sexism and stuff like that. But you just get on with it and do the job

JONATHAN: So do you find that now - you're getting on a bit, you're a bit older than you were ... (the audience laugh) We’re all getting slightly older ...

TOYAH: I'm very optimistic. I find singing - it's a tough industry to work in. And I think by female terms in the music business, especially the pop business I'm getting on a bit, but I'm not going to go away

JONATHAN: You’ve acted with some great (names) but you were in a TV film with Laurence Olivier, based on the John Fowles book ("The Ebony Tower") I remember but also at the moment you're seen in the commercials for "Mum" antiperspirant (Toyah looks awkard, the audience laughs) The reason why I’m raising that is I just wonder - because I've done a few commercials purely for cash myself as well, Toyah ... (the audience laugh)

No one does it out the love of the product purely. We had (the DJ) Andy Kershaw on the show last week and he was advertising a spot cream and I think if you have to choose why go for something like a spot cream or an antiperspirant? They're not the most sexy subjects to be associated with -

TOYAH: I’d rather go for them than a bank!

JONATHAN: Would you really?

TOYAH: Yeah! I mean, number one, it was at the time when Ark was just being launched and celebrity has power. Ark was asking a lot of celebrities to try and inform the public of the power they have as consumers to stop things like CF gasses going on super supermarket shelves. The "Mum" thing came along, OK, I did it and I got paid very well and that meant it gave me the choice of what work I could do for the next few years

I made two albums on it. I could work in theatre, because usually in theatre per week you get about 50 quid to go home with and thanks to the "Mum" advert not only did I do my bit to combat CF gases, but I also had enough money to choose what work I wanted to do

JONATHAN: So whenever when anyone buys a little tube of "Mum" they're sponsoring one of your albums? Would that be … ? (Toyah cackles) Do you not think we should put a warning on the packet or something? If they’re unhappy with the deal? I'm not saying they would be but - (Toyah laughs)

TOYAH: Not only are they buying a very good antiperspirant but they're actually buying a wonderfully phallic symbol

JONATHAN: Oh, well ...

TOYAH: When we did that advert we spent the whole day trying to get me to hold this product without it looking as if it was my vibrator (the audience laughs, Jonathan looks jokingly deep in though as if thinking about it)

JONATHAN: I'd hazard a guess that the outtakes for that pass for quite a lot of money (Toyah and the audience laugh) So you're still doing music then? You have some new -

TOYAH: Yeah I've got a new album out next month called "Ophelia’s Shadow" which is kind of my answer to "Hamlet". There's a kind of big speech in "Hamlet" where -

That sounds quite a pathway to sort of - you've got one of the possibly finest plays ever written and you've got an album as an answer to it -

TOYAH: Yeah because Hamlet says to a Ophelia: “Get thee to a nunnery. Go! Get thee gone! God gives you one face - you make yourself another. You lisp, you amble, you make monsters of us.” And the way it's written Ophelia says “Oh, what a noble mind is here overthrown.”

My album has changed the inflection on that and Ophelia says (mockingly) “Oh my, what a noble mind is overthrown.” (sticks two fingers up as if to say f off) So I mean ... my Ophelia doesn't drown herself

JONATHAN: So you've made the ending a bit happier then?

TOYAH: I’ve re-written it

JONATHAN: It's kind of like the Dynasty (an 80's TV series) people would have done. “Give us Hamlet (but) give us a happy ending”. Is it that kind of thing?

TOYAH: After doing "The Tempest" with Derek Jarman – Derek completely rewrote "The Tempest" so I thought well, I'll give it a try

JONATHAN: When you look back on your earlier albums, on the kind of 80s stuff, the hit singles, "It’s A Mystery" and "Sheep Farming In Barnet", which I remember very fondly (Toyah giggles and the audience laugh) Now, what do you feel about them?

TOYAH: I don’t look back. I don't look back because I'm ashamed. I'm not ashamed, but it's history. And I think the 80s is really history. I think we are aeons away from that decade and I just don't relate to it

JONATHAN: We just put a photo up of you (below) in one of your incarnations modelling what looks to the early Gloria Hunniford – (the audience laugh)

TOYAH: Yeah, that's the early "Mum" advert -

JONATHAN: It’s the full under arm expose – I see that

TOYAH: Use "Mum"! I just don’t look back. What's the point of looking back? Life's ahead of us. Life I think is a pretty short thing whether you live to old age or not - it goes really quickly. What's the point of looking back?

JONATHAN: Another project you’re involved in … You work really hard, you're involved in all sorts of things but you're also doing something with the "Survival" (a nature documentary) programme, is that right?

Yeah, I've done the kind of - what's it called … the narration for "Survival Factor" which is on Channel 4 every Tuesday. I read one critic where the critic said “wear your raincoat if you listen to Toyah Willcox, narrating this programme” -

JONATHAN: That's because of your lisp (Toyah cackles). Because I was always surprised you had a hit single with (puts on a bad lisp) "It's A Mystery" -

TOYAH: (with an over the top lisp) It’s a mystery -

JONATHAN: Because I've had a similar problem myself (Toyah laughs) Maybe we should get together and do a duet. That'd be nice

TOYAH: I’ll take you up on that

JONATHAN: Me, you and Pete Beale from EastEnders (they all laugh) You said life is short. This show is far far shorter. Thanks for coming on - Toyah Willcox!

Watch the interview HERE


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