Sandi Toksvig: I was turned down as Have I Got News For You host because I’m a woman

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

Sandi Toksvig has revealed that she was originally in line to host panel show Have I Got News For You – but was passed over because she is female.

The out comedian revealed that when the BBC launched its TV panel show in 1990, she was considered to host instead of Angus Deayton.

She told Radio Times magazine: “They made two pilots – one with me and one with Angus Deayton.

“I was told by the producers that they preferred my version, but the channel decided they couldn’t have a woman in charge.

When asked if she had been angered by the decision, she said: “Of course, but it also made me feel inadequate and question whether I was really up to it.”

Deayton was dropped from the show in 2002 following a scandal revealed in the News of the World – with Toksvig among the guest hosts who have chaired the show since.

The comedian became the host of Radio 4’s News Quiz in 2006 – but announced her departure from the show last month after nine years in the role in order to break into politics

She said previously: “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.”

Ms Toksvig converted her civil partnership with wife Debbie to a marriage in December – in their third wedding ceremony to date.