Sandi Toksvig: I was told my career was over when I came out
QI host-elect Sandi Toksvig has revealed she was told she would no longer be able to work in television after coming out.
Speaking to the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, the TV host opened up about her decision to come out in 1994.
She added that her family had “no problem” with her sexuality – but she experienced homophobia in the TV industry as a result.
She said: “I was told my career was over when I decided to come out. I was told I had to find something else to do.
“I was told that by all sorts of people.”
Asked whether she was told this by her employers at the time, she repiled: “Yes. People who I respected in the business said there was no way I was going to be able to come back from it.”
Of the threats that she would run out of work, she added: “Weirdly, that hasn’t happened to me. ”
Toksvig explained: “When I started on television I was 23 and there were only 3 channels. You became famous much more quickly, and in a much bigger way than you do now.
“My then-partner and I had three children, and the tabloid press decided to take an interest.
“I found out I was about to be outed, and I’m not prepared to live my life undrer threat in any way – I think secrets are a cancer of the soul.
“We made the decision to come out ourselves, which we did in an interview with the Sunday Times and rather spoiled it for the tabloid press.
“The tabloids whipped up a bit of a media storm, and we got quite a lot of death threats.”
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It was recently announced the Toksvig would be taking over as host of QI, after Stephen Fry decided to step down.
She will take the helm next year, with regular panellist Alan Davies remaining on the show.
Earlier this year, the comedian also announced plans to launch her own political party, after quitting Radio 4’s News Quiz.
She said: “I have made jokes over and over and over again about politics and, do you know, this election I’ve had enough… and I have decided that instead of making jokes about it, I need to participate.”
“So I am involved in the founding of a new political party. It’s called the Women’s Equality Party. It is a fantastic group of women – and indeed men – who have decided that enough is enough and we need to make some changes.”