Dreamscape: A Toyah Willcox Fansite [www.toyah.net] : somewhere in the distance : archived Toyah news for the month of Dec 2003

Have a COOL YULE with Toyah's new CDs for 2003!
Christmas, 2003: Season Greetings
[ Merry Christmas from Dreamscape ]
December 22, 2003: Toyah's 2003
[ A Toyahtastic 2003! ]What a year 2003 has been: From Aladdin in Basingstoke through to Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs in Canterbury, Toyah hasn't stopped for a second this year!

Highlights of the year include: the Rock Legends documentary in January, the awesome 'Velvet Lined Shell' album, the reissued 'Prostitute' and 'Ophelia's Shadow' CDs, Calamity Jane (UK tour + West End run), I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, magazine front covers (including 'Good Housekeeping'and  'Weekend'), lots of TV appearances including Liquid News, This Morning, Stars In their Eyes, and The Weakest Link, going naked in the 'Daily Mail' in May, and showing off her finely honed backside in the September issue of 'Good Housekeeping', and not forgetting the the incredible '25th Anniversary Gig' at the Mean Fiddler in October.

WHAT A YEAR!! Wonder what 2004 will bring?

Relive it all by clicking into Dreamscape's Toyah News Archive.

December 22, 2003: Toyah's Christmas Presence! - A Festive Willcox Timeline
December 1979: Shoestring (Find The Lady) broadcast on BBC1 in the UK. Toyah plays Toola, alongside Trevor Eve, Gary Holton and Christopher Biggins. The Toyah band also appear and play a brilliant version of 'Danced' over the end credits.

December 1980: 'Toyah! Toyah! Toyah!' - Live! album relaeased.... 'Danced (live!) single released.... ATV Documentary TOYAH broadcast on ITV.

December 1981: 'Four More From Toyah' (EP) released.... Toyah and band are on the UK/European 'Good Morning Universe' tour.... Christmas Eve concert, from Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London, broadcast live! on BBC2's Old Grey Whistle Test to millions of viewers, and BBC Radio 1.

December 1982: Toyah promotes 'Be Proud be Loud (Be Heard)' in Italy.... Appears on Pop Goes Christmas (ITV) with a host of other singers/bands. Toyah performs the Greg Lake classic 'I Believe In Father Christmas'.... Toyah and band do a mini tour of the UK.

December 1983: 'The Vow' is released in the UK.... Toyah appears on various TV shows promoting the single.... Toyah and band travel the UK with the 'Rebel Run' tour.

December 1984: Toyah spends December recording her, as yet untitled, new album. This would eventually be released in 1985 as 'Minx'.... The Ebony Tower, with Toyah, Laurence Olivier and Greta Scaachi, is shown on ITV. Toyah appears on the Christmas Eve edition of Pop Quiz.

December 1987: Toyah films Midnight Breaks.... Completes her run as Mabel in Three Men On A Horse at the Vaudeville Theatre in London.

December 1988: Prostitute/frippFRIPP tours Europe.... Boudicca is broadcast on BBC1, with Toyah and Tony Robinson.

December 1989: Toyah appears as Mary Lou in Whale, at the Lyttleton Theatre, South Bank, London.

December 1990: The Tale Of Little Pig Robinson is shown on UK TV.... Toyah records 'Kneeling At The Shrine' which is released in 1991 by Sunday All Over The World.... Toyah appears in concert with Girlschool, calling themselves the Shedevils, at the 'Women In Rock' festival.... Plays Miss Scarlet in the Christmas edition of Cluedo on ITV.

December 1992: Toyah hosts the arts programme First Night on TV in the Midlands region.... Films a ten-part series for inclusion in Good Morning With Anne & Nick.

December 1993: Toyah rounds off the highly successful UK 'Take The Leap!' tour.... Plays the title role in a mini UK tour of Peter Pan.

December 1994: Toyah rounds off the 'Has God Ceased To Dream You?' UK tour.... Plays the title role in Peter Pan at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

December 1996: Toyah appears in Jack & The Beanstalk at the Theatre Royal in Norwich.

December 1997: Presenting TOYAH on VH1.... Appears in Jack & The Beanstalk at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley, Kent.

December 1998: Toyah presents Boys From The Black Country - The Slade Story on BBC Radio 2.... Appears in Jack & The Beanstalk at the Richmond Theatre in Surrey.

December 1999: Toyah continues to work on her autobiography, which would be published in August 2000, titled; 'Living Out Loud'.... Appears on the Slade tribute documentary It's Slade.... Plays the title role in Peter Pan at the Marlowe Theatre in Kent.

December 2000: Toyah plays the Wicked Queen in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage, Kent.

December 2001: Toyah places at number 48 in 'Q' magazine's '100 Greatest Women In Music' poll.... Helps launch the Christmas festivities in Stockport.... Plays the title role in Aladdin at the Plaza Theatre in Stockport.

December 2002: Toyah appears naked in the 'Daily Mail'.... Guests on the Open House panto special, with Gloria Hunniford, on Channel 5.... Toyah records an interview for inclusion in the Rock Legends documentary, shown in January in Carlton/Central TV region of the UK.... Plays the title role in Aladdin at the Anvil in Basingstoke.

December 2003: Helps launch Christmas festivities in Ashford, Dover and Whitstable.... Appears as the Wicked Queen in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at the Marlowe theatre in Kent.

Phew! Sorry if I've missed anything. I'm getting old y'know!! ;o)

December 22, 2003: 'Snow White' - Marlowe Theatre website reopens
[ Snow White ]The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, Kent, where Toyah is currently playing the Wicked Queen in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, relaunched its website this week.

The Marlowe Theatre pantomime just gets bigger and better! And this year's show promises to eclipse even the brilliant productions of past Christmases. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs stars Toyah Willcox who plays the Wicked Queen and Kent's own EastEnder Shaun Williamson as her hapless Court Jester. Joining them will be Canterbury's favourite comedian Dave Lee as the Queen's stupid Henchman, plus a host of young performers in other major roles...not forgetting the seven dwarfs! Crammed full of fun, laughter and audience participation Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs combines the best of traditional family pantomime with spectacular modern theatre.

December 22, 2003: And I thank you, and you, and...
Some people who know I "do" this website, but don't know much about Toyah, ask me "What's the point?, There can't be that much to add!" They obviously don't visit either, or they would see, first hand, what a ridiculously busy year 2003 actually was in Toyahland! If it wasn't for some very cool people Dreamscape would only be half the website it is (talking about content here :o))

Huge thanks to: Alec Kelly, Giddy Gavin Brick, John Wain, Michael Cooney, Paul Cable, Andi Westhorpe, Andrew York, Damon King, John Shepherd, William Watson, Derek Williams, Paul Lomas, Rob Cope, Stephen Bennett, Michal O'Brien, Steff Sewell, Brian Green, Kevin Tucker, Susan Hailes, Graham Dawson, Michael Bartrum, Craig Astley, Sabine Bode, Dave Herd, Richard Featherstone, Steve Taylor, Claire Ormrod, Glyn Whelan, Lee Jones, Nikki Mullally, Colin Dew Parry, Julez Danes, TONE-E, Marcus Reddemann, Garry Lambie, Steve Askey, Gareth Suthers, Owen Keenan, Trev E, and everyone else who took the time to pay a visit. You are all the bee's knees!

December 22, 2003: 'The Scotsman' - Digital delivery to seventh heaven 
The Scotsman - Wed 17th December 03
Digital delivery to seventh heaven 


Little Women, Peter Pan,The Stone Diaries, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, The Goons, Les Miserables, Ladies of Leisure Make Mincemeat, Lines From My Grandfather’s Forehead, Space Force, BBC7, Monday

It was a year ago on Monday that BBC7 came into all our lives. I speak with irony. It has come into the lives only of those who are digital. Your reviewer was a pioneer consumer of the medium. Fed up at deteriorating FM reception, I’d put my name down for an early set. Digital reception is better but, surprisingly, you still need an aerial, which seems quaint. Indeed, like everything modern, digital is far from perfect. How one yearns for the simple tuning knob with no "presets". 

I can’t get Radio Scotland, only Gaelic radio, and when I try changing it, I’m offered something called "DRC value" or "station order" or a "manual tune" which doesn’t let you manually tune but offers you mysterious codes like "5a" or "2c". (Please don’t write in with advice, incidentally, particularly if you’re male, interested in computers and prone to prefacing impenetrable remarks with the phrase "It’s perfectly simple".) 

Anyhoo, BBC7 was touted as one of the best reasons for going digital and, truly, it’s a lot of fun, full of classic serials and comedy repeats, which recur throughout the day (the station has just gone 24-hour). 

I spent much of Monday listening in. Mornings are devoted to drama, so I subjected myself to Little Women, Louisa May Alcott’s tale of girls helping Mommy as Pappy heads off to the American civil war. 

Here was a picture of affectionate siblinghood, playing at Pilgrim’s Progress in the absence of PlayStation and taking muffins to poor neighbours. Of course, folks weren’t so poor they couldn’t have black maids. 

Hmm. Let’s try something more realistic. Ah, Peter Pan: the Harry Potter of his day, who lived "second on the right, straight on till morning". This was a splendid adaptation, with Toyah Willcox, June Whitfield and Roy Hudd making the magic work. There’s a surprising amount of killing and amputation but, remember, folk were less evolved in 1904. 

I kept one ear on The Stone Diaries, American domesticana based on a woman’s life in desperate days. "Sometimes," we were told of her mother, "a rack of pies from the oven could make her dizzy with pride." Ah, a simpleton. 

I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue needs no introduction to most who like clean, simple humour which, like all the classics (Dad’s Army, Morecambe and Wise etc), is largely based on smut. 

Thus, in this Christmas show from 1999, we heard about fairies mounting camels, and Santa riding his reindeer. Phnarr-phnarr. Not that I’m a knocker (whoops!). The tone is distinctly bow-tie, but the spontaneous offerings are clever. 

Asked for programme listings at the time of the Nativity, the comic-style guests came up with Opportunity Ox, Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em, and Wise Men Behaving Gladly. Very good. And, to cap it all, there were people doing Scottish accents. How almost amusing. 

Unlike The Goons, who could have been amusing were it not for those awful voices and a penchant for laughing at their own jokes. Les Miserables was, obviously, no joke, with a French bloke imprisoned for stealing a loaf. 

I missed Dad’s Army in the afternoon because some people who want locking up broke into my car - hey, it’s Christmas in the city - but, in the evening, caught up with Ladies of Leisure Make Mincemeat, where two middle-aged, middle-class biddies exchange correspondence. 

Vera says her son has gone organic, and her daughter wants a chainsaw for Christmas. Irene, whose son has come out, declares a dislike of "inyourendo" and describes herself as "peculiarly English", resenting all things "globalistic". Despite this, after my brush with crime, it all seemed reassuringly decent. 

Lines From My Grandfather’s Forehead, from 1972, was a curious concoction featuring Ronnie Barker’s trademark wordplay and delicious absurdity. Shy man invited to a party downstairs: "I can’t. I’ve got some milk on." It wasn’t all uproariously funny - more like essays in comedy - but, thankfully, there was at least someone doing a Scottish accent. 

I stayed up to midnight for Space Force, a 1985 sci-fi drama in which some people started off in a pyramid and then went to Mars. Tin-plated tosh, of course, but it didn’t aspire to anything else. 

And so ended our enjoyable day with BBC7. Even if there’s nothing to your taste immediately, there’s bound to be something along in a minute. It’s free of news and other trivia, and justification enough for going digital. Just don’t expect it to be perfect. Remember, 80 per cent of humour is smut, and you can’t touch your knob when tuning.

December 12, 2003: Toyah in The Sun's 'Pantomania'
[ Pantomania - 10th Dec 03 ]Toyah was pictured, alongside Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs co-star Shaun Williamson, in 'Pantomania', the eight-page panto pullout that came with Wednesday's 'The Sun' here in the UK.

The cover of 'Pantomania' also featured the promo flyer/leaflet for the show.

Toyah is sporting a fetching set of horns (well, she is the Wicked Queen), while Shaun, playing Muddles, just looks like Barry from Eastenders with a funny coat on!!

There was also a chance to "save s on festive fun" by taking advantage of the 2-for-1 panto tickets offer!

Toyah, and Shaun, are, of course, at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, Kent for the next six weeks or so. Plenty of time to go along for some festive booing and hissing (at Shaun, not Toyah!).

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
Marlowe Theatre, The Friars, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2AS
Box office: 01227 787787
Thu 4th December 2003 to Sun 25th January 2004
Prices: 18.50 to 8.50
Concessions available

Wicked Queen: Toyah Willcox
Prince: Mark Pheasant
Snow White: Laura Brown
Muddles: Shaun Williamson
Herman the Henchman: Dave Lee

December 12, 2003: Dreamscape - 129th in 'IMA' poll
[ Interactive Music Awards 03 ]I'm thrilled to report that Dreamscape placed at number 129 in the 2003 BT Interactive Music Awards. Especially as this was from well over 4000 websites.

I'd like to say a big THANKS to everyone who took the time to vote for the site, it's much appreciated. It's good to see a Toyah website up there with Radiohead, Madonna, Coldplay, Suede et al.

December 12, 2003: 'Minder' + other TV newsy bits!
[ Toyah in Minder, 1980 ]• Paramount Comedy, the UK sattelite/cable channel are currently reshowing episodes of Minder almost daily. It looks likely that they will eventually get round to 'All Mod Cons', the episode, from 1980, that featured Toyah as Kate. (Thanks to Michael Cooney)

• Toyah appeared on the E4 show Little Friends on Sunday night. This is another "spoof" programme, along the lines of The Pilot Show, but with child actors interviewing celebrities. The highlight was the cynical kiddie asking Toyah: "If heaven is so great, would it be a good idea to kill yourself if you are having a bad time?", to which Toyah swiftly replied; "No, if you commit suicide you go to hell anyway!"har! Har! - This should be on Ch4 in early 2004.

• A "blink and you'll miss her" clip of Toyah on Simply The Best on Wednesday evening on BBC1. The series is looking back at past winners of the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year, and featured Robin Cousins, the ice skater, with an old clip from his appearance on Harty back in 1983. And who was sat beside him, complete with her 'The Vow' "look"?

December 10, 2003: 'The Tempest' - New UK DVD *update*
[ The Tempest - on DVD in 2004 ]The Tempest - A film by Derek Jarman

"One of the most original and arresting films ever made in Britain" - The Sunday Times.

"Hugely enjoyable, visually a feast" - Financial Times.

A larger image of the beautiful cover for the 2004 DVD realease of The Tempest.

Derek Jarman's rendering of Shakespeare's magic play The Tempest is one of imagination and spectacle. Beautifully shot, The Tempest is full of images, a mixture of fantasy and nightmare merging into illusion and reality. The setting of the film in burnt out crumbling Abbeys and storm filled Northumberland castles lends to the Gothic style. The cast is an extravagant mix of actors, dancers and singers. Jarman's cinematic and superb direction allow the many characters to become players in a magic show.

With audio commentary by Toyah this is a "must-have" purchase!

December 10, 2003: Toyah on Christmas TV - *update*
Ever Wondered? : BBC2 - Tuesday 16th December : 1.00am
Toyah Willcox finds out what reading horoscopes says about human behaviour. And Katharine Merry explores the world of astronomy.
100 Greatest TV Treats of 2003 : Ch4 - Christmas Eve : 9.00pm
100 Greatest TV Treats of 2003 : Ch4 - New Year's Day (2004) : 12.10am
Three and a half hour show looking back at the best bits of 2003's TV. Includes I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
Brum : CBeebies - Saturday 27th December : 2.20pm
Brum and the Balloons. The adventures of a little car who lives in a motor museum, narrated by Toyah Willcox. Business is booming for the Big Town balloon seller until her balloons are stolen.
The Panto Set : Ch4 - Saturday 27th December : 7.25pm
Looking at the secret behind the success of panto. Surely a panto "veteran" such as Toyah will feature in this documentary at some point?
Forever... Forever : ITV1 - Sunday 28th December : 2.15am
A look back at the music of the 1980's.
Everything Must Go : ITV1 - New Year's Day (2004): 12.55pm
Toyah Willcox makes a guest appearance in this special programme from the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where props and costumes are to be sold to pay for a studio theatre.
It Shouldn't Happen... On A Reality TV Show : Friday 2nd January (2004) : 8.30pm
Includes I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
Under Offer : UK Bright Ideas - Showing throughout December, various times.
The property gameshow.
December 10, 2003: 'Snow White' - Panto bits & pieces!
[ Dover District News ]Toyah is pictured on the Winter 2003 cover of the 'Dover District News', and is also featured at their website.

WHAT'S ON THIS CHRISTMAS - It's Christmas - and as people across the district get into the festive spirit, Dover District Council is bringing together listings of the fantastic array of events being organised in the community across the area. Star studded Christmas lights switching on celebrations have already been held in Dover, Deal and Sandwich.

[ Snow White - 2003 ]Celebrities Toyah Willcox and Shaun Williamson took time-out from the run up to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for the fun-packed celebrations in Dover on 29 November, organised by Dover Town Centre Management, and Deal on 27 November, organised by Deal and Walmer Chamber of Commerce. Sandwich's Christmas lights have also been switched on with the start of the district's festive Christmas Carnivals, at the launch of the colourful Sandwich Christmas Carnival on 28.

• Toyah was spotted on one of the cable/satellite channels over the weekend. She made a brief appearance, talking about Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. (Thanks to Paul Cable)

• Toyah, and Snow White, are also mentioned in the latest news update at 'RememberTheEighties.

December 10, 2003: Cherry Red - Rainbow/Universe on DVD?
[ Lost and found? ]2003 has been a year when we certainly can't complain there were no Toyah releases, what with 'Velvet Lined Shell' AND the long-awaited reissues of 'Prostitute' and 'Ophelia's Shadow' on CD.

BUT! The news that The Tempest will finally be released on DVD in the UK next year raises the topic (oh yes it does) of other Toyah footage that desperately needs to be liberated from its VHS shackles.

Last year I contacted the BBC, who own the rights, asking if there was any possibility that either, or both, 'At The Rainbow' or 'Good Morning Universe' could be issued, even on a limited edition basis, on DVD. The answer, unsurprisingly, was NO! So, if the BBC have no plans to do so, maybe they could let another label have the opportunity to do so?

Cherry Red are always looking for suggestions for future DVD/CD releases. I'm sure if enough of us contacted them requesting either, or again, both, of these classic Toyah concerts then 2004 could, possibly, see official DVD versions available to buy.


Thanks to Andi.

December 10, 2003: Toyah on Christmas TV - 'Everything Must Go'
As mentioned on these pages back in October, Toyah returned to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre to help them with their charity auction/sale. This was filmed, as part of the ITV1 daytime show Everything Must Go.

Everything Must Go : ITV1 - New Year's Day (2004) : 12.55pm
Toyah Willcox makes a guest appearance in this special programme from the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where props and costumes are to be sold to pay for a studio theatre.

December 6, 2003: 'The Tempest' - New UK DVD, with Toyah commentary!
[ The Tempest - DVD 2004 ]The Tempest, starring Toyah as Miranda, is issued in the UK for the first time on DVD in 2004, with stunning new artwork. Toyah, as with most previous video releases, is the cover star, but a completely diiferent photo is used for this new version.

The film, originally released in 1979, and directed by Derek Jarman, earned Toyah a 'Best Newcomer' nomination at the Evening Standard Film Awards.

The Region 0 DVD, on Second Sight Films Ltd, will be available from the 16th February 2004, and includes Toyah audio commentary as a special feature.

The Tempest - Special Features
• Audio commentary from actress Toyah Willcox and the film's cinematographer
• Interview with director Derek Jarman
• Short films
• Region 0

Hailed as one of the most successful adaptations of Shakespeare, Derek Jarman’s The Tempest is also, unsurprisingly, one of the most unconventional. Though keeping the essence of the text, the films greatness lies in Jarman’s skill at creating a visually stunning, erotically charged world of haunting imagery. 

Flamboyant, highly atmospheric and full of Jarman’s punk era attitude, the famous finale, in which Elizabeth Welch sings ‘Stormy Weather’ surrounded by sailors, is one of the most memorable, and campest moments in British cinema history.

Actors: Toyah Willcox, Peter Bull, David Meyer, Neil Cunningham, Heathcote Williams.
Director: Derek Jarman. 
Certificate: 15 years and over.
Year: 1979. 
Screen: Fullscreen 4:3. 
Languages: English. 
Duration: 1 hour and 32 minutes (approx).

The DVD is already available for pre-order at Amazon.

December 6, 2003: Toyah on Christmas TV - *update*
Brum : CBeebies - Saturday 6th December : 2.20pm
Brum and the Airport Adventure. The adventures of a little car who lives in a motor museum, narrated by Toyah Willcox. When precious gems are stolen from a famous celebrity at the airport, Brum is soon on the trail of the two thieves.
Under Offer : UK Style - Saturday 6th December : 4.00pm
Under Offer : UK Style Plus 1 - Saturday 6th December : 5.00pm
Under Offer : UK Style - Sunday 7th December : 4.00pm
Under Offer : UK Style Plus 1 - Sunday 7th December : 5.00pm
The property gameshow.
Ever Wondered? : BBC2 - Tuesday 16th December : 1.00am
Toyah Willcox finds out what reading horoscopes says about human behaviour. And Katharine Merry explores the world of astronomy.
Brum : CBeebies - Saturday 27th December : 2.20pm
Brum and the Balloons. The adventures of a little car who lives in a motor museum, narrated by Toyah Willcox. Business is booming for the Big Town balloon seller until her balloons are stolen.
Under Offer : UK Bright Ideas - Showing throughout December, various times.
The property gameshow.
December 5, 2003: Thoroughly Wicked Toyah!!
[ Toyah is Wicked! ]Toyah opened last night in her panto for 2003. She is, of course, playing the Wicked Queen, in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at the Marlowe Theatre in Kent, alongside Shaun Williamson as Muddles.

It's quite a long stint, with the run lasting until Sunday 25th January 2004. Phew!!

Interesting that any publicity/press for the panto; other websites etc., features the picture of Toyah, as the Wicked Queen, used for Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage, way back in December 2000!

December 5, 2003: Toyah in Whitstable
[ Toyah in Dover and Whitstable ]Christmas 2003 is shaping up to be one of Toyah's busiest festive seasons ever!

As previously mentioned, Toyah was in Ashford for the town's Christmas launch last month, and on 29th November she also visited Dover, along with her panto co-star Shaun Williamson, to help kick-start their celebrations.

The first picture is another of Toyah in Dover.

Earlier the same day, Toyah was in Whitstable (picture two), where she switched on that town's Christmas lights too.

Sunday Mirror: If you want to be sure of a white winter wonderland, head down to Whitstable in Kent on November 29. A snowy setting is guaranteed thanks to a snow machine, while Toyah Willcox will switch on the Christmas lights outside St Alphage Church at 5pm.

Simply Whitstable: It's Christmas... and that's official. At 6 pm on Saturday (29/11/03), Whitstable's lights were switched on during a ceremony outside St Alphege Church in the High Street amidst artificial snow and fireworks. The honour of activating the display fell to Toyah Willcox who is due to star in Snow White at the Marlowe theatre, Canterbury. 

December 5, 2003: Toyah on Christmas TV - 'Ever Wondered?'
[ Ever Wondered? ]Ever Wondered? : BBC2 - Tuesday 16th December : 1.00am

Toyah Willcox finds out what reading horoscopes says about human behaviour. And Katharine Merry explores the world of astronomy.

December 5, 2003: 'Disability View' - Toyah interview
Toyah is interviewed in the December 2003 issue of 'Disability View' magazine:

"I'm very aware of what my body needs." - Toyah Willcox, actor, singer and presenter.

From Princess of Punk to a 21st century Calamity Jane, Toyah Willcox has enjoyed continued success as both an actress and singer, but it has not been without a real understanding of her own physical abilities ... 

For Disability View readers of a certain age, she will be forever remembered as the brightly coloured punk figure on Top of the Pops who claimed “It’s a Mystery”. However, in a career that now stretches back over 25 years, Toyah Willcox has amassed a formidable body of work in theatre, film and television; she’s worked with directors including Derek Jarman and Stephen Poliakoff and actors of the stature of Lawrence Olivier and Katherine Hepburn - while still continuing to write, release and perform new music. For the last year, Toyah has starred in a new, large-scale production of Calamity Jane, successfully touring 18 cities around the UK before settling in London’s West End.

Her early life, however, gave no immediate indication of such a career choice. “I was born with a twisted spine and I have pelvic dyslepsia, which means my sockets haven’t developed. When I go on stage, I strap my knees; no one touches or rotates any part of my legs, I am in complete control of all rotation of my limbs, and I wear special shoes that take a lot of the shock away.”

Did she therefore learn to deal with her condition from an early age? “Because my muscles support the joints, my physio was developed around this. I had physio for the first twelve years of my life - every day - and the idea was that I learnt to straighten my own back and support my own joints. As a result, I’m very muscular.”

Because only her feet were “quite unusual”, Toyah never felt different when she was young, and would not consider that her condition affected her day-to-day life. “When you’re born with a disability, you’re whole life is adjusted to it. I wouldn’t run a marathon and I wouldn’t carry heavy weights; that doesn’t affect my day-to-day living as I’ve never done anything like that.” In retrospect, though, she admits her medical treatment was by no means ideal. “I was told very little when I was young; in fact, the information I was given was quite sensationalist. They just said that when I was older they could take my foot off, remove my toes, or shorten my right leg so that it was the same length as my left. Everything I was told I think was quite medieval and barbaric. If anything, it just made me feel incredibly unfeminine.

”When I hit puberty, I remember saying to my mum that I didn’t want to go to hospital any more. I found it demoralising - I didn’t know why at the time, I just knew that every time I went there I felt wretched.” 

This was by no means an easy decision for someone from “the kind of background where the doctor’s word was paramount”, but basically from the age of twelve or thirteen, Toyah admits she simply ignored the condition; indeed, when she started out on her music and acting careers she felt her condition: ”made no difference at all. In my twenties, I was quite robust.” 

A number of websites listing “Famous Disabled People” have suggested Toyah has arthritis, but she denies this: “I thought, in my twenties, that I was developing arthritis, but I managed to knock it out through diet. I could never understand why on certain days I was finding it hard to move - it turned out it was because my greengrocer got mangos in on a Tuesday, and I was eating mangos. You can eat certain things that form crystals in the joints, so I just don’t eat any of that now. I have a very specialised diet; there’s no wheat, no dairy, very little starch, and I stick to that religiously. I’ve actually taught myself through diet and specific exercise to keep myself incredibly fit. I’m very aware of what my body needs.”

She was 29 when growing pains made her take her health even more seriously. “I tried to find my original orthopedic surgeon, who operated on my toes when I was eleven, but couldn’t find him. I went to Bart’s (Bartholomew’s in London) where there’s a very good child orthopedic surgeon. He was absolutely gob-smacked that I hadn’t had major surgery; so much so, he called all his students in to look at me. He had me parade up and down in my underwear - not knowing that I was well-known, while the students did - and he just said: ‘Look at this woman, look how her brain has altered her body so she can cope.’ It was very, very funny! At the very end, he asked if I would consider leaving Bart’s my skeleton; it was hysterical, one of the funniest moments in my life!” 

Considering that she was recently on stage for about 90% of Calamity Jane, Toyah is pleased that - at the age of 45 - she can still be involved in the kind of fast and physical theatre that she loves. "I went on stage and I completely abandoned my body to the trust I had in the rest of the company. I was jumping off stage-coaches, diving off bars; it was about freedom and freedom of movement. If people came to the show hoping to see an interpretation of a Doris Day musical, I’m sure they would have been a bit shocked. What we were doing was very rowdy, but having said that, it’s a really exciting piece of theatre and I think we brought the play and the perception of the play into the new millennium.

December 1, 2003: Toyah in Dover - Christmas Lights Switch-on
[ Toyah in Dover - 29th Nov 03 ]Toyah was in Dover on Saturday for the 'Christmas Lights Switch-on'. The following text is from www.dover-web.co.uk:

All credit to everyone who organised the Switch On day, Saturday 29th November 2003. The day was fantastic, and lots of people turned out to see the event despite the rain!

The entire event was broadcast live on BBC radio.

Comedian Dave Lee arrived during the afternoon.

The Parachute Regiment provided an insight for the kids.

Evening... And a show of dancing to keep everyone warmed-up!

The reliable British weather never lets us down! (ie. it rained!)

Shaun Williamson, aka Barry from Eastenders, switched the lights on.

Toyah Willcox arrived shortly after the switch-on.

A lucky snap! Toyah reacts to getting her bum pinched by a cheeky soldier! But which one was it?

December 1, 2003: 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'
[ Snow White - panto 2003 ]Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
Marlowe Theatre, 
The Friars,
Kent, CT1 2AS

Box office: 01227 787787
Thu 4th December 2003 to Sun 25th January 2004
Prices: 18.50 to 8.50
Concessions available

Wicked Queen: Toyah Willcox
Prince: Mark Pheasant
Snow White: Laura Brown
Muddles: Shaun Williamson
Herman the Henchman: Dave Lee

Fresh from her stint in the jungle with I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, Toyah Willcox plays Snow White's nemsis, the Wicked Queen.

Local Faversham girl Laura Brown will be the heroine, Snow White and Dave Lee provides the comedy as Herman the Henchman.

December 1, 2003: 'Whats On Stage' Awards - Calamity Jane nominated
[ Calamity Jane ]Calamity Jane has been nominated in the 2004 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards.

Craig Revel Horwood is included in the best choreographer category. 


Adam Cooper - On Your Toes, Leicester Haymarket at the Royal Festival Hall
Barbara Robertson - Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse 
Craig Revel Horwood - Calamity Jane at the Shaftesbury
Jenny Arnold - Jerry Springer - The Opera at the NT Lyttelton & Cambridge
Rob Ashford - Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Shaftesbury
Stephen Mear - Anything Goes at the NT Olivier & Theatre Royal Drury Lane 

December 1, 2003: Calendar Girl!
[ Dreamscape calendar ]The final month (December, funnily enough) of Dreamscape's 2003 Toyah calendar is now online.

20 years after the only official Toyah calendar, from 1983, we celebrated 25 years of Toyah with a collection of Toyah images to brighten up every day of 2003.

Dreamscape's version wasn't as glossy or professional as the 1983 datefest (in fact it was complete crap!), and was late a couple of times too, but we've made it to month 12 without quitting!

Click the pic for December - Guaranteed to add "festiveness aplenty" to your forthcoming month!

December 1, 2003: Toyah on TV *update*
Brum : CBeebies - Saturday 6th December : 2.20pm
Brum and the Airport Adventure. The adventures of a little car who lives in a motor museum, narrated by Toyah Willcox. When precious gems are stolen from a famous celebrity at the airport, Brum is soon on the trail of the two thieves.
December 1, 2003: BT Interactive Music Awards 2003 *Last few days*
[ Interactive Music Awards 2003 ]Please take a couple of minutes to vote for Dreamscape in the BT Interactive Music Awards 2003. Although the site has, obviously, no chance of winning, this is always good for a little extra exposure (for the site and Toyah!).

In 2001 Dreamscape placed 324th out of over 2,600 music websites, and last year did even better by coming 244th from 3000 sites. Every vote counts so please click the IMA image - THANKS!