Toni is an haute-couturier from Fulham making high-end clothes for wealthy women from around the world. As well as being a dressmaker she owns 10 animals, three of which are her children and seven others which include her two prize-winning pigs who she says she'll miss more than anybody while on the run. Despite her double-barrelled name Toni is adamant she doesn't have airs and graces and describes herself as being "totally scuzzy".
Why did you want to take part in Hunted?
It was my step-daughter’s idea for us both to go on the run together but then we discovered the filming coincided with her university exams, so I was left on my own. Actually, it was a blessed relief as I have three children, eight animals, a full-time job, a chaotic husband and no childcare and so the thought of only being responsible for myself was a massive incentive to become a fugitive.
Why did you want to go it alone?
So that I wasn’t having to provide food/answers/lifts/solutions to anybody. Basically, to have a break from everyone and from my daily life. I get so bored of matching socks, cooking pasta and searching for lost homework in between holding down an extremely demanding and full-time job and could really do with some time off!
What tactics, if any, are you planning to employ? Are there things you’ve seen in previous Hunted series’ that you’d like to adopt – or avoid?
I’ve walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats with my youngest child and so have a lot of confidence in my ability to travel quietly and unobtrusively by foot. I can also read a map and compass, steer by the sun and because I’m so old, know how to manage without a mobile phone.
How confident are you in your abilities? Do you think you have what it takes to make it to the end?
I think, as a middle-aged woman, I’m effectively invisible (sadly!) and so I’m hoping that I just won’t register on people’s radar as I travel on my way. I’m terrible with technology and struggle to make my phone work on the most basic level so will be relying on speaking to people in order to get on. I really like people and hope that they will warm to me and help me. I certainly have the mental determination to get to the end but as I had a complete hysterectomy only five months ago as a result of a major health issue, I worry that I may run out of steam physically.
What do you think the experience of being on the run will be like?
I’m really looking forward to travelling in any direction on a whim and being free of responsibilities.
For the first time in Hunted history, you will start with only the clothes on your back. How do you feel about the prospect of having no technology, no money, no backpack and no possessions?
Not remotely fazed. I’m the sort of person who has travelled the world with a hairbrush, a clean pair of pants and a book. I love not being encumbered by stuff. As long as I can get my hands on a road map and something to read along the way, I’ll be as happy as a bird.
If you manage to avoid capture, what would you spend your winnings on? How big a factor is the money for you?
I am trying to set up a community farm in West London and I have an architectural plan, a feasibility study and a business plan in place. What I don’t have is money and so that is why I am doing Hunted. All my winnings will be donated to West London Farm.
What life/career experience/s have you had that you think would give you the edge over the hunters and other fugitives?
I am very independent and at ease with my own company. I have cycled from London to Istanbul, London to St. Petersburg and across the Pyrenees. I have sailed across the Baltic in The Cutty Sark Tall Ships’ Race and walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I hitched through Africa for three months, set up my own business at 24 with £200 and in my mid-thirties became an international level high diver as a hobby. Generally, if I decide to do something, I get on and do it!
Other than appearing on Hunted, what would you say has been your biggest claim to fame?
Blimey! Making haute couture clothes for Princess Margaret, probably.