Toyah is a mystery no more

home_2014_splashCMYKToyah was still coming down from her spectacular dive on Tom Daley’s show Splash when artsbeat called to speak to her.

The plan had been to talk about the Four Four Time Festival at Buxton and her new acoustic set.

But what the heck – circumstances had changed and now the singer, actress and writer could add diving to her CV. So instead, we first chatted about pools, boards and swimming costumes.

The 80s punk princess, who hadn’t told even her brother and sister about her appearance on the show until it was close to being screened, described the 1.5 seconds of her life when she made the dive as ‘both exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure’.

“It’s crazy I was training for ten weeks for a few seconds but I shall miss it hugely. At first I was unsure about doing it but Tom Daley made me feel so at ease,” she said, her voice still ringing with the excitement of it all.

The main fear holding Toyah back was being seen in a swimsuit, because she admits she had no body confidence and never had – but such was the effect of being part of the programme that a couple of days after her big moment she was gracing the pages of a national newspaper in a selection of stunning costumes.

“Learning to dive has been wonderful because it is nothing to do with how you look in a swimsuit and everything to do with how you understand your body in free fall,” explained the 55-year-old.

By taking part in the show Toyah stayed true to her firm belief that you should never let anything pass you by as it could lead to other opportunities.

She has definitely proved that, to be accurate, because just hours after appearing on Splash she says her phone line went ‘bonkers’ with inquiries about concerts and film offers.

You only have to take one look at Toyahwillcox.com to see this is a rule she has applied to her whole life. Hardly a week goes by without a fresh posting about a new video, film, gig or TV appearance.

She has been going strong since 1977 when she took the role of ‘Mad’ in Derek Jarman’s  punk epic Jubilee and followed it up with a part in the legendary Quadrophenia.

She gained the status of one of the most significant talents of the 80s with her hit singles It’s A Mystery, I Want To Be Free and Be Proud Be Loud, Be Heard – the latter’s title has become her mantra and her signature statement to fans.

In the 90s she dominated our TV screens and gained cult status as the narrator of the Teletubbies. She has been songwriting and performing again since the early 2000s.

When asked what advice she would give to anyone wanting to launch a showbusiness career she was quite clear.

“Know your talents and know them well. Seize every opportunity you see and don’t let things slip you by. I have always been the sort of person who accepts what I have been offered  and I stand by that.”

Fans going to see her at the Four Four Time Festival in Buxton’s Pavilion Arts Centre on February 19 won’t be disappointed. She has put together a new acoustic set for the occasion and she says she is aiming to give them a thrilling time.

“I really want to lift the audience,” she said.

“The two musicians I am working with and I plan to make it as lively as possible with plenty of the hits that people know me for and love.

“There will also be film clips and pictures. It is going to be an energetic music-driven evening with funny anecdotes.”

It’s not the first time Toyah has been to Buxton and she has performed a few times on the Opera House stage most notably in the Taming of the Shrew.

I am looking forward to being back we are going to have a really great time,” she added.