|Toyah: It's a Mystery
Why Brum's Not Britain's Hollywood
ICON-TURNED-ACTRESS WANTS TO TURN HOME CITY INTO
Punk legend Toyah Willcox
is to help transform Birmingham into the British
equivalent of Hollywood.
The Kings Heath singer and
actress is working on a secret drama project
centred in her native city.
"I'm working with
writers and producers to try to create a
Birmingham film industry," said Toyah, 49,
who now lives near Pershore in
"Birmingham is a very
exciting area because it has such diverse
architecture and culture.
"The project I'm
currently working on will be very recognisably
Birmingham. Cities can grow around films and you
recognise many of them by the movies made
"Birmingham has a lot
going for it - the city has great untapped
Toyah, married to
guitarist Robert Fripp, says her dream of a
'Brummywood' could come true because London is no
longer the centre of every major arts
"I commute every day
to London but I wouldn't consider moving
there," she said. "A lot of people are
moving out of London now. Economically it makes
sense. New technology means they can work
"Birmingham is an
ideal location because it's in the centre of the
country and doesn't get the terrible traffic
problems of London."
Toyah is currently playing
Billie Piper's mother in racy ITV show Secret
Diary Of A Call Girl.
"It was great working
with Billie because she, too, had a music
career," she said. "The programme is
quite risque and we were all very sensitive
towards Billie - you can feel vulnerable when
filming nude scenes.
appeared nude in two films - The Tempest and The
Ebony Tower - and also once on stage in
Nottingham performing Emile Zola's Therese
"Half of me felt
completely up for it and full of bravado, and
half of me felt really shy.
"I've never watched
myself on screen so I've never felt awkward about
seeing myself nude. I'm simply not interested
once the job is done. After that I move straight
on to the next job."
Toyah candidly shared the
details of her plastic surgery in a previous
book, Diary Of A Facelift.
"Having a facelift is
very common in my profession," she said.
"I don't know anyone who hasn't had
"I was very nervous
before surgery. Nothing is 100 per cent safe, but
it was one of the most exciting things I've ever
"If I hadn't done it,
I wouldn't have been able to continue
experimenting with image as I do now.
"I would have been
classed as an older woman trying to look like a
"Now I can't wait to
turn 50. My 40s have been my happiest time and I
think my 50s will be even better.
"No-one tells you
what a wonderful sense of freedom you get when
you reach this age."
Creating a Hollywood in
Birmingham would make sense for this Midland
all-rounder, who loves working in the
She was the narrator on
children's programmes like Teletubbies and Brum,
and appeared in Silver Street, the Asian
Network's version of The Archers.
Toyah will be in
Birmingham on November 3 to launch The Natural
Living Show for Body, Mind and Soul at The
Clarendon Suites in Edgbaston.
As a former presenter of
an alternative remedies series on ITV's This
Morning, the show is right up her street.
"It's a show about
holistic ideas such as homeopathy, colour therapy
and aura therapy, which can be used on a
complementary basis with western medicine,"
"A lot of GPs now
support homeopathy and colour therapy is said to
be good for seasonal depression.
"I've been very
interested in alternative medicine for 25
"Arnica was the first
alternative medicine I used. It's great for
shocks and for bruises. I also take the friendly
bacteria bifidobacterium to prevent me from
getting colds in the winter, which is really
important as a singer.
"All the hospitals
were homeopathic until the discovery of
penicillin, around the time of the Second World
"Suddenly, there was
a revolution of man-made medicines but nature is
so clever - it can cure many mild symptoms."
21st October 2007