The University of Portsmouth is delighted to announce the appointment of Sandi Toksvig, author, broadcaster, and television producer, as Chancellor.
Ms Toksvig will succeed actor and author Sheila Hancock CBE who will retire as Chancellor in the summer after a five-year term of office. She will take up her appointment in October at the beginning of the new academic year.
Ms Toksvig is well known to British audiences for her varied roles in television and radio and last year was awarded an honorary degree from the University in recognition of her work as a writer, broadcaster and comedian.
“I was surprised and delighted to be invited by the University to become Chancellor and am very honoured to accept. I am passionate about higher education and am hugely impressed by Portsmouth’s mission to encourage students from every walk of life to excel”.
Vice-Chancellor Professor John Craven said: “The University is very pleased to announce Sandi’s appointment as Chancellor and very much looks forward to welcoming her when she takes up her role at the start of the next academic year.
“Sandi’s career as broadcaster, author, comedian and producer has impressed and entertained British audiences for over 30 years and she brings to the University a lively and scholarly commitment to all that we do. I am personally delighted that Sandi has agreed to become an important part of our University”.
In addition to being an honorary graduate, Ms Toksvig’s links to the University include the donation by her family of their father’s books to the School of Languages and Area Studies which teaches American Studies. The family also donate a Claus Toksvig prize for an American Studies Dissertation. Claus Toksvig was foreign correspondent for Danish television and the family lived all over the world, including the United States, Europe and Africa.
She has twice appeared at fundraising events for the New Theatre Royal in the city.
Ms Toksvig is a graduate of Girton College, Cambridge, where she gained a first class honours degree in archaeology and anthropology and where she also won the Theresa Montefiore Memorial Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement and the Raemaekers Prize for Archaeology.
She is the author of 22 books for children and adults and a major novel set in the Boer War will be published later this summer by Virago. She is chair of the BBC’s The News Quiz and writes regular columns for the Sunday Telegraph and Good Housekeeping.
Ms Toksvig’s career began with a series of Footlights shows and she directed, wrote and starred in the first all woman Cambridge Revue. She went on to present numerous radio and television programmes, including Antiques Master, Excess Baggage and the children’s series No 73.
She has presented factual programmes such as the archaeological Channel 4 series Time Team and Island Race, which she co-presented with John McCarthy, as well as Radio 3’s programme on Mary Wollstonecraft, an 18th century philosopher and women’s rights advocate. Ms Toksvig has appeared as a regular panellist on shows such as Mock the Week, I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue and Whose Line is it Anyway?
For the last two years she has been executive producer of Playhouse Live for Sky Arts, producing specially commissioned live drama for television. She is currently producing six new dramas for the channel, two of which she has authored.