Sandi’s parents met at Bush House in London while they were both working for the BBC. Sandi’s father was on attachment from Danish Radio. They married in 1954. Sandi was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1958 where her father was now a celebrated television and radio broadcaster. His work took him to Africa and the United States where she grew up.
Sandi began her comedy career at Girton College, Cambridge University, writing and performing in the first all-woman show for the Cambridge Footlights and still finding time to gain a first class degree. While still at university she performed at the first night of The Comedy Store in London and for many years was part of The Comedy Store Players, an improvisational comedy team.
Sandi began her career in the theatre performing in musicals and straight plays. She made her television debut presenting the children’s series No. 73 (1982–1986) and went on to do other children’s television including The Saturday Starship, Motormouth and her own show Toksvig. Since then her television work has included factual programmes such as the archaeological Channel 4 series Time Team, Island Race (in which she sailed around Britain with John McCarthy), The Talking Show, Great Journeys (in which she canoed across Africa) and a six part documentary series about Sudan for Al-Jazeera English. She has also acted in sit-coms such as The Big One (which she co-wrote) and more recently BBC’s Up the Women. For many years she was team captain on Call My Bluff. Other panel shows include Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Mock the Week, and QI. She was the host of What the Dickens,Antiques Master and currently presents Channel 4’s 1001 Things You Should Know.
In 2010 she brought live drama back to television when she conceived, co-wrote and hosted Theatre Live for Sky Arts television. She both wrote and produced plays for the channel including her own film The Man starring Stellen Skarsgard, Stephen Fry and Zoe Wannamaker.
Sandi is a familiar voice for BBC Radio 4 listeners, as the chair since 2006 of The News Quiz and for many years as the host of the travel programme Excess Baggage.
Sandi also writes for the theatre. Sandi and Elly Brewer wrote a Shakespeare deconstruction, The Pocket Dream, which Toksvig performed in at the Nottingham Playhouse and in the West End in 1992. In 2002, she and Dilly Keane co-wrote a musical Big Night Out at the Little Palace Theatre, written for the Watford Palace Theatre, in which they appeared with Bonnie Langford. In September 2012 her play Bully Boy starring Anthony Andrews was the opening production of London’s new St James Theatre. She is currently writing a musical.
Sandi has written many books including fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. She has been a columnist for Good Housekeeping magazine for more than twenty years and for seven years wrote every week in The Sunday Telegraph. In 2009 a collection of her Telegraph articles were published in book form as The Chain of Curiosity. Her latest novel Valentine Grey was published in the autumn of 2012 and her book on manners will be published in the autumn of 2013.
She is the current Chancellor of Portsmouth University and is involved with many charities focusing on civil liberty, women’s rights and education.
Sandi is in an immensely civil partnership. She has three utterly splendid adult children and one smallish but excellent step-daughter. She spends her free time weaving, cooking, canoeing, hanging out with her children and having a laugh with her wonderful friends.