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Silver Lining

Wow Sandi what a year 2016 was - you got the top job at QI, how’s life as a national treasure?

I’m afraid I’m too weighed down by the responsibility of it all to be able to tell you. The main change is that I sleep in a safe deposit box at night.

What was it like stepping into Stephen Fry’s sizeable shoes?

Roomy. In fact two of my kids are living in one of the brogues. It’s left me very worried about Stephen. The poor man has no shoes now. I’m not quite sure why he left them behind. I don’t think it was necessary.

And how’s Alan holding up? He seems to be winning more often?

I am trying to lull Alan into a false sense of security by pretending he gets things right. The truth will out next series.

So you’re at the Rose in Kingston for your new play Silver Lining - tell us a bit about it?

It’s a bit like The Great Escape for older women but without the motorcycles. Five women of mature years are waiting to be evacuated from their retirement home which is about to be washed away in a giant storm. They begin to realise no one is coming to get them so they decide to save themselves. It is funny and sad and has the most amazing cast.

Politics has been a big part of your life and you set up the Women’s Equality Party – why did you set up the party and what do you make of what’s been happening in politics?

I think Donald Trump getting elected explains exactly why the Women’s Equality Party is needed. I am depressed by the rise of unkindness and misogyny in politics and instead of shouting at the TV decided to do something about it.

What’s the way forward in a Trump world?

To keep our moral compasses steady and refuse to be drawn into his skewed view of the world. We must not tolerate the degradation of any part of society.

You opted to have a public wedding, at the Royal Festival Hall in London - why? And would you recommend it?

We got married on the first day we were allowed to [Sandi is in a gay relationship]. It was an important day for equality so I thought we should celebrate. It was amazing.

You’ve got grown up kids but what pearls of wisdom do you feel you passed onto them? And what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve tried to teach them that life without passion is pointless. Be passionate about what you do, what you say and who you love. My Dad told me “Never trust a man in a ready-made bow tie”, and so far that has proved true.

www.rosetheatrekingston.org

Sandi Toksvig as the host of QI