Rebecca Tyrrel: 'Anna Ford and Sandi Toksvig are simply two gals wanting to learn woodwork'

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The Independent Online

Who knew that Anna Ford and Sandi Toksvig take woodwork classes together? Who knew that woodwork, come to that, is the new knitting? But it apparently is, and in that capacity it has cemented one of the unlikelier celebrity friendships since Bette Midler palled up with 50 Cent.

Admittedly, Ford and Toksvig have more in common than a fondness for sawdust or a cute way with a Black & Decker. They are, of course, closely linked by a love for news, Toksvig ridiculing it as hostess of Radio 4's The News Quiz, and Ford having long ago popularised it like no one else – no, Rippon, not even you; as for you, Leeming, get over yourself.

For now, very little detail about their joint take on carpentry has been revealed. All we know is that, in what she insists will be the last interview she ever gives – and how we'll pine for yew, Anna! – Ford said this. "My friend Sandi Toksvig and I signed up for an evening class in beginners' woodwork recently, and I had to fill in a form demanding to know my nationality and racial background and sexual orientation... and then there was a bizarre question about whether or not I was transgender and if so, which gender was I when I was born. I fell about laughing and sent an e-mail pointing out that all I wanted to do was beginners' woodwork."

Hilarity aside, Anna, this is certainly a controversial question, implying as it does the faintly outmoded assumption that no one but a natural born male would have the faintest interest in learning how to tongue-and-groove.

Neither woman, to the best of our knowledge, was born a boy. Nor is either believed to be fervently religious, and driven by the desire to pay homage to history's first celebrity carpenter, Jesus Christ.

Anna and Sandi are simply two gals looking for a bit of fun, and considering the current craze for doing useful things (before woodwork, you may remember, baking was the new knitting), an exciting new craftwork TV series seems inevitable.

Assuming that Toksvig is prepared to take on the Brucie's Generation Game role as genial host, and that the show will regularly feature doors being laid horizontally in order to be planed, it will almost certainly be called Sandi Says... Doors on the Floor, Miss Ford.

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