Last year I did a blog about the news that Stephen Fry was leaving QI and was being replaced by Sandi Toksvig. I mused on the changes that we would likely see, and came to the conclusion that the two were similar enough in personality for there not to be a significant tone change. But was I right?

Well, yes, I was spot on, even if I do say so myself. Toksvig has collected enough stories of her own to match Fry’s ability to raconteur her way through an episode, always handy if the guests around you are failing to keep the pace up. If anything, they are more interesting, less centred as they are on name dropping.

Toksvig also appears to be more generous with her time, at least compared to Fry’s later series, where guests’ flights of fancy were often clipped abruptly. Johnny Vegas always seemed to be one of the few to get away with it, but he is always the most uncontrollable of guests. Instead, Toksvig allows everyone to bubble away nicely. There is an atmosphere of congenial story swapping by the fire, as opposed to the previous air of everyone being forced into having to pay rapt attention to the host.

The biggest test was always going to be Toksvig’s relationship with Alan Davies, who had long been Fry’s foil despite actually being far smarter than he played it. Davies’ reduced klaxon triggering made Fry’s taunts become slightly cruel. Yes, Toksvig still does do this, but only in scripted moments. She also reacts more warmly to Davies’ interventions, sincere laughing replacing her predecessors withering glare.

In many respects then, Toksvig is outperforming Fry. Everything feels as if it’s been given an added injection of warmth (although it was never cold to begin with) and she seems a natural, bouncing off other’s energy rather than trying to repel it.

Are there any weaknesses? Not as yet, but there’s time. Her well of stories may run dry sooner than expected and her lack of childlike glee for information could see her become drier as a host. But, for now, she is capably captaining that most inquisitive of ships.

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