“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.”
From a brief history of lady gangsters at Elephant and Castle to anecdotes about boarding school, this is the long-awaited memoir from one of Britain’s best-loved characters. Presenter of QI, former host of The Great British Bake Off, writer, broadcaster, activist and comic on stage, screen and radio for nearly forty years: this is an autobiography with a difference – as only Sandi Toksvig can tell it.
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 talk to each other because as Sandi says: ‘some of the greatest trips lie on our own doorstep’.
I chose this unusual biography because I enjoy listening to the wit and intelligence of Sandi Toksvig on radio and TV. Reading more like a conversation about many interesting features of Sandi’s bus journey from her home in Dulwich to Broadcasting House, I especially enjoyed the historical anecdotes about south London, but these flow naturally into tales from her life. She does not stick to chronological order so sometimes she describes an amusing episode of QI and soon afterwards she recounts her awful experiences in a Surrey boarding school. As she was born in 1958, her childhood experiences were very different from that of a modern child, but she lived with a unique travelling family, her father a Danish broadcaster taking his family around the United States where she was sometimes left in a motel bedroom with her young brother and at other times, she was playing hooky from school.
Sandi has worked with and made friends of many famous actors and raconteurs, including Sheila Hancock, Alan Coren and Kathy Lette. She has also encountered some celebrities who were later disgraced. Her lifestyle as a lesbian, in a permanent relationship with children, has resulted in abuse and grief particularly from the gutter press. In 2015 she was joint founder of the Women’s Equality Party but regrets that without money or power they have not been able to make changes. But chiefly this account is full of humour, extraordinary episodes and fascinating historical facts.
Between the Stops on Amazon UK
My review of Will She Do? the autobiography of actress Eileen Atkins