“I’m going to be Mrs Cheery,” says the presenter, who has just renewed her vows to her partner, following the gay marriage legislation. “Most people go home losing, so it’s always my ambition that everyone goes home feeling they’ve had a good time. I’ll be bringing a bit more laughter than the original, hopefully.”
Sandi Toksvig is elated to be at the helm of the revamped 'Fifteen To One'
The warm radio and TV broadcaster can’t but feel for those contestants she sees around the famous semi-circle, with its collection of green lights, inevitably going out whenever a contestant fails to answer a question correctly.
“You spend quite a lot of time together, and you get to know each other. I discover what they’d spend the money on if they won, and then they don’t. My heart absolutely breaks sometimes. It’s the luck thing, that cursed luck…”
For Sandi, the continuing appeal of the show – and as a visiting journo to the set during filming, I can attest to just what compulsive viewing it is – lies in the range of the questions.
“You need to know what was at number three in the charts in 1976,” she laughs, incredulously. “You need rugby stats, you need to know about Kennedy and Kruschev. The series winner really does deserve their prize.”
The questions remain as deliberately difficult as they did when William G Stewart famously helmed the show throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. “They’re so tough, you’re delighted if you can answer four out of 15,” Sandi explains.
So, if she were to be in the hotspot herself, with the little green lights flashing or, say, in the 'Mastermind' chair, what would Sandi’s own specialist subject be? She doesn’t hesitate…
“Women’s history,” says the presenter who helped make a bit of history herself with her marriage ceremony a fortnight ago.
“Or American politics… or the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein…”
Do you think you would survive on Fifteen to One? Fifteen to One continues Monday to Friday at 4.30pm on Channel 4.