It's five in the evening (French time, that is) and Toyah's taking a well deserved breather. She's been filming all day long with arguably the world's most celebrated actor, Laurence Olivier - now Lord Olivier. What's it like working with someone so famous?
"Wonderful. Incredible," explodes Toyah. "We call him 'Sir' because we all firmly believe that's what he deserves to be called."

In fact they got on like house on fire. "I have dinner," she continues, "with him every night. I'm the only one who can drink the way he likes to. We're both firm believers in drinking. We both have very strong capacities for that."

What's Lord Olivier's favourite drink?

"Oh, champagne. He loves it."

Did he know any of Toyah's back catalogue?

"No, we haven't got round to talking about that yet. But his kids are coming over here and, no doubt, we'll get a chance to talk about that. The problem is, I always want to talk about him when I'm with him. He's told me some really beautiful stories about his time in Hollywood and especially about how his ex-wife Vivien Leigh got the part in Gone With The Wind. He's so charming to be with."

Toyah and Lord Olivier are tucked away in the Dordogne region of France, making a 90-minute film called The Ebony Tower for Granada Television.

For this they're using two stately chateaux - one as a hotel and the other a backdrop for the movie. Toyah's as enthusiastic as ever.

"I'd never seen a chateaux before but it's just great. There's a family still living here and they have immaculate taste.

"I can't describe it. If you get a Habitat catalogue and look at their new paintwork, that's the kind of style that is here. And it's been here for over 100 years. All hand done with enormous cast-iron beds in every room.

She can barely contain herself. "Outside, it's very falling- down, very atmospheric. Not creepy at all but very inspiring."

The film (which probably won't be screened 'til late '84) is based around a short story by the author John Fowles. It tells a fraught tale of how four people react to each other over a short period of time.

There's an exiled English painter (played naturally enough by Lord Olivier) who shares his chateau with two young art students, variously called The Mouse and The Freak (that's Toyah).

"My character," she laughs, "is very bitchy, very calculating and she stirs everything up.

"It's a very challenging role because in the film I have to hate Sir Laurence and I find that hard to do. Deep down I want to hold him and kiss him just as I would do with my dad."

After The Ebony Tower which will swallow up the whole of September, Toyah returns to music-making with a six-month world tour (the British dates are scheduled for "late Autumn") a new album called "Love Is The Law" (due for October release) and a new single "Rebel Run" which is already in the shops.

The LP promises some major surprises.

"For the first time I've written real love songs - a fieldI've never ventured into before. The songs are all inter-related. There's a loose story behind it but I'm not telling anyone that. There's a very emotional feeling to the whole thing."

"There are even surprises on the back of the 12-inch version of 'Rebel Run'. No, I'm not saying what they are. People will have to get it, won't they?"

"Love Is The Law" was put together under particularly gruelling circumstances. By day she was working on the new material and by night she was appearing in the stage play Trafford Tanzi, a fiery slice of feminist drama set in the wrestling ring itself. There simply weren't enough hours in the day.

"To begin with," sighs Toyah, "I moved the band into my house and we moved a portable studio in as well. "I'd get up about 9:00, cook breakfast for everyone and we'd record until 5:30 when I'd go to the theatre, do the show and be home by 11:00. Then we'd carry on recording 'til 4:00. That went on for about two months.

"I began to feel pretty ill but I'm really glad I did it. I didn't enjoy last year too much so this year I was determined to make up for that - living twice as fast."

As you can see, Toyah has a new look - a kind of ferocious mixture of a science fiction future and an American football present - but the difference now is that this image is strictly confined to the single "Rebel Run". She no longer wants one look to represent all the different aspects of work.

"I simply forgot about changing the imagery for Toyah Willcox a year ago. I just create an image now for a song. Toyah is now a very private person. I now demand more privacy because I've been a very public person for a long time.

But how could she describe the "Rebel Run" garb?

"It's the modern woman in that she's very androgynous."

The crash helmet and the massively padded shoulders quite deliberately paint a picture of defiance and independence.

"I have no sympathy," says Toyah, "for anyone who can't handle the pressure within their own society. I think the idea of women being inferior has just disappeared and a woman who allows that to happen to her has only herself to blame.

"And it's the same with the man who says he's lumbered with a wife and a job. It's his own fault. I have very little sympathy for these cliched social diseases. Kids today are very bright and very aware and they know much more about the sexual possibilities, for example, than I ever did."

Finally, what ambitions does she still cherish?

"For the band we have to break more foreign ground although that doesn't mean I'll be ignoring England because England will always be my home.

"For myself, I'd love to do an enormous movie. The Lead role. But I can't forsee that yet because there still aren't many well-written parts for women in movies. Actually, I would like to work with Bowie but that's more of a childish whim."

Have you seen Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence?

"No, I'd love to see it. I know I'll like it though."

Smash Hits, September 1983