I got caught kissing the ex wife of Elvis.. I always did fancy her in Dallas; TOBY ANSTIS on a most unlikely romance.
THEY must be one of the most improbable celebrity couples of all time. But when Priscilla Presley met Toby Anstis, it was the start of a very unusual romance.
She was Elvis' wife, an international star worth millions, mum of Lisa Marie and Michael Jackson's ex mother-in-law.
He is a DJ and former children's TV presenter whose most famous partner was a stuffed toy - Otis the Aardvark.
But despite their huge differences, not to mention the 27-year age gap, the pair were pictured kissing earlier this year.
Ex-Broom Cupboard presenter Toby, 41, admits they went on three dates - doing tequila shots until four in the morning during one memorable encounter.
And he describes 68-year-old American Priscilla - 'P' to her friends - as a woman he "fancied the pants off".
The Northampton-born broadcaster, today Britain's most-listened-to commercial radio DJ, met Elvis' ex-wife - the couple were married from 1967 to 1973 - last year when she was appearing in panto in London's Wimbledon.
After being introduced by a mutual pal, Harry Potter actor Warwick Davis, the pair hit it off and later arranged to meet for dinner.
Toby explains: "We were chatting in her dressing-room for about 20 minutes when I suggested dinner and she said yes, and that was that. Obviously she's being followed by cameras the whole time so they got a picture of her kissing me.
"As a kid watching Dallas, I fancied the pants off her. She was beautiful and still is if I'm honest.
"Priscilla looks exquisite, speaks with such poise and has so much charisma. She really is quite someone to be with.
"She's absolutely fascinating to chat with and someone like that you just sit back and listen to."
Of their first date, in a quiet West London restaurant, he gushes: "It was almost an out-of-body experience, listening to Elvis's ex-wife talking about Elvis.
"This is the most iconic pop star ever and I'm sitting there listening to the woman who knew him best.
"She talked about him a lot and it's obvious she still misses him. Obviously those days were amazing, they had parties in their Graceland house all the time and were incredibly in love. She spends a lot of time in Graceland and I remember her saying how recently she looked up and heard Elvis coming down the stairs, laughing, and playing the piano, and stuff. There were moments like this when I suddenly felt quite freaked out.
"It was so surreal. But P's also chatty and easy to chat to - she was genuinely interested in me, and asking about my TV stuff. It's not all about her.
"She was in London for three more weeks, and we went out two more times."
While he insists they never dated, one night sticks in Toby's mind.
"We went out to Buddha Bar and ended up in Dover Street Arts Club, dancing the entire night. We were out till about 3.30am and she had a show at lunchtime the next day so she was getting worried.
"That didn't stop us doing tequila shots at gone midnight. It was brilliant.
"She did mention me going out to see her in the States and offered to show us around Graceland personally - that would be ridiculous."
Are they seeing each other now? Alas, not. "No, no - I'm currently single" After finding fame in 1992 on BBC's children's daytime slot - Broom Cupboard got more than 10million viewers - today Toby works for Heart FM where he is listened to by an average of 3.3million people every weekday morning.
Despite this, he is still best known for his time in the children's show alongside his "co-presenter", Otis the Aardvark.
"People still come up to me and ask where Otis is," he smiles. "But I don't mind, I think Phillip Schofield has it worse. Apparently he can't go anywhere without being badgered about Gordon the Gopher" Contrary to his clean-cut image, Toby insists appearances can be deceptive. A regular on the Ibiza scene, he certainly knows how to have a good time.
He grins: "I've always liked to go out and party and certainly at the time there was a pretty good social scene.
"We used to go out until four or five and have lock-ins and things but people never got to see or find out about it.
"Nowadays it would be a totally different ball game because of mobile phones and Twitter, etc. But back then, people weren't taking photos of me necking vodka and tonic at 4am."
Was he ever hungover live on air, introducing Neighbours to the nation's schoolchildren? Er, yes.
"One time I'd been hosting the Smash Hits tour in Manchester with Take That," he reveals. "I was up really late drinking with Tony Mortimer from East 17 and remember being driven back to Television Centre at 2pm having not had much sleep.
"I was on air at 3.35pm and yes, I did feel quite rough.
"Now it would take me two or three days to get over a night like that."
The muscled DJ, who goes to the gym four times a week and is competing in the London Triathlon later this year, has also had a few close calls while on radio.
"The worst was one year at the Brits," he smiles, recalling a very late night with a fellow DJ. "I was filling in on the breakfast show and we all went to Robbie's EMI party. I was still up at 5am with Dave Pearce and suddenly went: 'Oh my god, I'm on air in an hour!' "I remember getting there, having to dig deep to get through the show.
"During every record, I was in the toilet sitting with my head in my hands and splashing water on my face. If the boss had walked in it would have smelt like a distillery but I somehow managed to get through it."
Three years ago, Toby fulfilled a lifelong ambition - starring in the West End as Teen Angel in hit musical Grease, completing a sell-out three-month run.
Last year he was also offered the role of Amos Hart in another hit, Chicago.
HE says: "I absolutely loved Grease and was desperate to do Chicago but I realised I'd have burnt myself into the ground, doing this and my radio show - it was too much."
In his TV heyday, Toby's dimpled smile was popular with teenage girls - and their mums. He was linked to All Saints singer Nicole Appleton, who is now married to Liam Gallagher, and even Cher.
it He is less proud of the latter. "I went on a few dates with Nicole - and absolutely nothing happened with Cher!" he clarifies.
"I'd interviewed her once over breakfast and then she sent me flowers the next day to say thank you.
"Suddenly it was front page of the National Enquirer and Jay Leno wanted me to go on his show. It was crazy."
And as host of BBC's The Ozone, he was so close to Take That he was billed in magazines as their "sixth member".
With such infamy, came groupies.
"It was almost like being a pop star. I loved it. I used to introduce Take That on -stage at Wembley and women would throw their bras and knickers at me. One woman used to send me photos of herself every week, sitting in various states of undress from atop different rocks on various beaches.
"It was all very bizarre. But we ended up with a lovely collage of this woman.
"Six girls from Holland would turn up at the studio every month and wait in the car park for photos. Now in their 30s, they still message me on Facebook.
"I used to get love letters and postcards but that was never the reason I went into it all. I absolutely love doing radio and even as a nine-year-old it was always my dream job. And above all else, I have always wanted longevity in my career."
We danced til 3.30am, doing tequila shots and she had a show at lunchtimeOne woman sent me nearly nude photos every week - I made a collageShe said she recently heard Elvis laughing, playing piano - it was surreal
ROCK DJ J Toby opens up to our Clemmie
SOUND JDECISION Taking to airwaves
Picture: IAN VOGLER
SMOOCH n Kissing Toby
SOAP BABE As Jenna in the 80s hit Dallas
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Features; Opinion, Column|
|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 12, 2013|
|Previous Article:||KOP FOUR; AIR OF OPTIMISM SWEEPING LIVERPOOL Boss Rodgers says Reds are ready to challenge.|
|Next Article:||HEADING FOOTBALL CAN DAMAGE BRAIN.|