This long-awaited memoir from one of Britain's best-loved celebrities - a writer, broadcaster, activist, comic on stage, screen and radio for nearly forty years, presenter of QI and Great British Bake Off star - is an autobiography with a difference: as only Sandi Toksvig can tell it.
'Between the Stops is a sort of a memoir, my sort. It's about a bus trip really, because it's my view from the Number 12 bus (mostly top deck, the seat at the front on the right), a double-decker that plies its way from Dulwich, in South East London, where I was living, to where I sometimes work - at the BBC, in the heart of the capital. It's not a sensible way to write a memoir at all, probably, but it's the way things pop into your head as you travel, so it's my way'.
From London facts including where to find the blue plaque for Una Marson, 'The first black woman programme maker at the BBC', to discovering the best Spanish coffee under Southwark's railway arches; from a brief history of lady gangsters at Elephant and Castle to memories of climbing Mount Sinai and, at the request of a fellow traveller, reading aloud the Ten Commandments; from the story behind Pissarro's painting of Dulwich Station to performing in Footlights with Emma Thompson; from painful memoires of being sent to Coventry while at a British boarding school to thinking about how Wombells Travelling Circus of 1864 haunts Peckham Rye;from anecdotes about meeting Prince Charles, Monica Lewinsky and Grayson Perry to Bake-Off antics; from stories of a real and lasting friendship with John McCarthy to the importance of family and the daunting navigation of the Zambezi River in her father's canoe, this Sandi Toksvig-style memoir is, as one would expect and hope, packed full of surprises.
A funny and moving trip through memories, musings and the many delights on the Number 12 route, Between the Stops is also an inspiration to us all to get off our phones, look up and to talk to each other because as Sandi says: 'some of the greatest trips lie on our own doorstep'.
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.
Her writing style is as kooky and digestible as Bill Bryson's . . . Hop on this bus, grab a seat up top and prepare yourself for a fun-filled, fact-packed, memorable ride
Sunday Times - Jackie Annesley
Between the Stops is like browsing through a well-stocked museum of curiosities with a wise and kind guide; it's part celebration, part confession, part call to arms and wholly entertaining. Don't read it on the bus though - it will make you miss your stop
Observer - Stephanie Merritt
The comedian, broadcaster and activist uses the meandering route of the number 12 bus, winding its way from her home in Dulwich, south-east London, to the BBC headquarters at Broadcasting House, to share a series of wonderful vignettes about her life
There are fascinating gems of London history along the way, acute observations of fellow passengers, personal asides about her marriage to psychotherapist Debbie, and the odd anecdote from the world of television. It's full of wit and wisdom
History and observation mix seamlessly as she looks at life from the top deck, and she's diverting on her own life