Between the Stops by Sandi Toksvig is the long-awaited memoir from one of Britain’s best-loved celebrities. Best known as the presenter of QI and Great British Bakeoff star, this is an autobiography with a difference.
Sandi relates stories from her life and the history of London via her seat, preferably front right, on the top deck of a number 12 bus whilst on her way to the BBC .
The bus begins its 7.71 mile journey from Dulwich in South East London, where Sandi lives with her wife, Debbie, and ends at Margaret Street in the heart of the city.
The narrative follows Sandi’s life journey from Denmark to the USA, then England. This is interspersed with amazing historical, and often hysterical, facts regarding the rich history of London from its beginnings over 2,000 years ago.
She tells of her beloved Papa, who was a journalist and broadcaster for Danish television in the 1960’s. Moving the family to the USA in 1966, he became Denmark’s (only) foreign correspondent. Broadcasting live to the Danish people from the Kennedy Space Center, he and his young family witnessed the Saturn V rocket lift off, taking Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon. Later at NASA, Houston , Texas, they saw Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon’s surface. WOW!
Later, sent to a boarding school in Surrey, England, she found it difficult to fit in, but made it through to Girton College, Cambridge. While studying there, formal investigations were made regarding her ‘suspect’ relationship with another woman. This incident, and the existence of unequal opportunities and rewards for women in modern society, led to the founding of the Women’s Equality Party by Sandi and her friend, Catherine Mayer. The party also speaks out for and supports the LGBT community.
As well as her better known showbiz triumphs, she also tells of those that are lesser known, such as her employment as Second Day Man in the Electrics Dept. of the Palace Theatre in the West End.
Sandi writes of libraries, museums and historical buildings she has visited, books she has read, that no-one else would consider opening, and tales of the rich tapestry of life that is London over the centuries.
This is a wonderful, inspiring read of the great joy of family and friends, and of the exploration and enjoyment of places, books and incidences that would remain unknown, but for the interest of this remarkable woman.
It also raises issues regarding those who don’t fit the norm and are, therefore, made to feel uncomfortable about their differences, instead of being treated with respect and understanding.
Sandi shows us that there’s so much more to life out there than being stuck indoors on social media. So, get on the next bus and see where it takes you!
If you only read one book this year, this is it!
Between the Stops is available in paperback, hardback and e-book
About Sandi Toksvig
Sandi Toksvig went into theatre as a writer and performer after graduating from Cambridge. Well known for her television and radio work as a presenter, writer and actor, she has written more than twenty books for children and adults. She also writes for theatre and television: her film The Man starred Stephen Fry and Zoe Wanamaker and her play Bully Boy starring Anthony Andrews opened the St James Theatre, London in 2012. She was Chancellor of Portsmouth University from 2012 to 2017. In 2016 Sandi took over as chair on QI, and in 2017 she started presenting The Great British Bake Off. She lives in London and Kent.