Parkalife: Quadrophenia Remembered

Trainspotting? Grease? Ferris Bueller's Day Off? If one movie caught the disaffected verve of yoof culture, it was the classic mod-fest Quadrophenia. 

The Concept...

Toyah: I was doing The Corn Is Green with Katherine Hepburn when I heard about Quadrophenia. Franc said there was only one real girl part and that was Leslie Ash's but, I went to see him and he asked me to do a screen test with Johnny Rotten. We worked on two scenes as a test and I thought Johnny was ace, but neither of us got the part. Later  I went down to Franc's office and banged on his window because I'd heard he hadn't cast Monkey. So he called me in and said, "If you can kiss Phil here and now, you can have the part." So we did the party scene where they're popping pills, I snogged Phil and got the part. 

The Scooters...

Toyah: I never actually got to ride one. I was always on the back. Leslie got to ride one but I chickened out. 

Smells Like Teen Spirit...

Toyah: For the whole three months we were making the film, we were completely engulfed in the culture. 


Franc Roddam: Toyah was interesting, because she was quite litigious. She was always wanting to sue people. The hairdresser, whoever. She was quite a business girl.

Toyah: It was a hard time for me. I'd been built up by Lorimar Films, who put me in that film with Katherine Hepburn, to be the new British discovery. I was pretentious and over-ambitious and egotistical. We were all fighting for airtime and space on Quadrophenia. I was probably a bit of a prat at the time. 


Toyah: There was a sense of not knowing who was public and who was an actor, especially who was a real policeman. I remember one grabbing me and I punched and kicked him, and I kicked this car, really going for it. I think I shocked him. He said, "We're only acting!" We were encouraged to be as real as possible. 

The Great Escape

What became of the Quadrophenia gang? 


Lisping pop superstardom followed apace and stage career went well, too, after she won a Best Newcomer award for her part in Derek Jarman's The Tempest in 1979. Married King 
Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and now hosts Carlton TV's The Good Sex Guide Late.

Empire Magazine
Feb 1997