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Toy Dolls

Toy Dolls
Toy Dolls playing at Augustibuller 2007
Background information
Origin Sunderland, England
Genres Punk rock, Oi!, punk pathetique, new wave
Years active 1979–present
Website Official website
Members Michael Algar
Duncan Redmonds
Tom Blyth
Past members

Toy Dolls are an English punk rock band formed in 1979. Departing from the angry lyrics and music often associated with punk rock, The Toy Dolls worked within the aesthetics of punk to express a sense of fun, with songs such as "Yul Brynner Was a Skinhead", "My Girlfriend's Dad's a Vicar" and "James Bond Lives Down Our Street". There is often alliteration in their song titles (e.g. "Peter Practice's Practice Place", "Fisticuffs in Frederick Street", "Neville Is a Nerd"). They are probably best known however for their sole UK hit, a punk-rock cover of "Nellie the Elephant".

Their albums usually include a riff, and end with an outro, which is usually a slightly longer variation of the intro riff. Kazoos are also prominent in many of their songs.

Most of the band members have nicknames, and are rarely seen without their cartoonish rectangular sunglasses (although they appeared bare-eyed on the One More Megabyte album cover).


  • Career 1
  • Members 2
    • Current members 2.1
    • Toy Dolls alumni 2.2
    • Timeline 2.3
  • Discography 3
  • Singles 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Michael "Olga" Algar of The Toy Dolls on stage in 2005

The Toy Dolls formed as a quartet featuring vocalist Pete "Zulu" Robson; guitarist Michael Algar, also known as Olga (born 21 September 1962, South Shields, England); drummer Colin "Mr. Scott" Scott; and bassist Phillip "Flip" Dugdale. After just a few gigs, Zulu left to form his own band and was replaced by Paul "Hud" Hudson on vocals for one concert. After Hud's departure, the Toy Dolls became a trio, with guitarist Olga assuming permanent vocal duties.

Scott left the band in 1980 and was replaced by Dean James for four months over the summer of 1980. James later returned to the band from 1985 to 1988 as bassist. Flip left in 1983, marking the beginning of a revolving door of drummers and bassists that would characterise the Toy Dolls line-up over the years (with Olga as the mainstay and only original member). In 1984, Zulu returned to the line-up as bassist/backing vocalist, but departed again less than a year later.

They were initially grouped with the Oi! scene, and have also been classified as punk pathetique. One reason they are associated with Oi! is that they were championed by Garry Bushell, who was very involved with Oi! bands such as Angelic Upstarts (whom The Toy Dolls later supported on their first national tour). In 1980, a Sunderland businessman financed the Toy Dolls' debut single, "Tommy Kowey's Car" with "She Goes To Fino's" on the B-side. The single quickly sold out its initial pressing of 500 copies, but the band could not afford to press any more, making the single a collectors' item. Around the time the band signed to Volume, Olga moved to Newton Hall, in north Durham, which led to the song "Livin' on Newton Hall".

For Christmas 1982, they released their punk rendition of "Nellie the Elephant", a classic children's song, which hit No. 1 in the UK Indie Chart. In 1983, they released their debut album Dig That Groove Baby. In 1984, their re-issue of "Nellie the Elephant" reached No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart and stayed in the chart for 14 weeks.[1] Their 1985 album, A Far Out Disc, reached No. 71 in the UK Albums Chart.[1]

Since then, the band has continued to release albums and to tour widely, mainly across continental Europe, South America and Japan. After a gap of 14 years since their last gig in Britain, 2007 saw a string of UK dates taking in cities from Glasgow to London, including a "homecoming" for a show at Durham University.

The band released a best of album, Ten Years of Toys. 1993 saw the popular live song "I'm a Telly Addict" on the album Absurd-Ditties. In 1997 the band released One More Megabyte, which featured references to computers, mainly in the lyrics of its title track, and in tracks like the outro track. A popular cover of Ricky Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca made its way onto Anniversary Anthems in 2000. The band's 2004 album Our Last Album? fooled fans in the anticipation up to its release that it was the band's last album. The outro track on the album stated that it was not.

To celebrate the band's 25th anniversary in 2004, the official biography, The Toy Dolls: From Fulwell to Fukuoka, was published by Ardra Press. In 2011, the band is scheduled to release its twelfth studio album.

In 2006, The Toy Dolls contributed their cover version of "Toccata in Dm" to the album project Artists for Charity - Guitarists 4 the Kids, produced by Slang Productions to assist World Vision Canada in helping underprivileged kids in need.[2]

For their 30th anniversary in October 2009 the band received congratulatory messages from a selection of musicians including Baz Warne from The Stranglers, TV Smith from The Adverts Jake Burns Stiff Little Fingers & NOFX manager Kent Jamieson.[3]

The Toy Dolls live shows consist of synchronized choreography, timed moves, dances and jumps and spinning guitars.[4]

The band's song "Nellie the Elephant" was used by Tesco in their toy advertisement in October 2014.

The Album After the Last One was released in 2012. The band has been on a "The Tour After The Last One" and started a range of Toy Dolls-themed real ales under the label 'The Beer After The Last One'.[5]


As of 2007, the band has had 14 different drummers and 12 different bassists. Olga is the only remaining original member of the band. After Olga, drummer Martin Yule had the longest tenure in the band (1987–2000). Yule currently owns a shop in Sunderland called "Hotrats." Former drummer Dave "the Nut" Nuttall owns Jalapeño Drums (a custom drum company based in Lancaster, Lancashire). The current lead singer/guitarist with The Stranglers Baz Warne also had a stint with the band. Olga has played bass on tours with the US punk band The Dickies, and also with The Adicts. Gary Dunn, former bassist of The Toy Dolls (1997–1999), teaches music at City of Sunderland College, and former drummer Trevor 'The Frog' Brewis, teaches music at Middlesbrough College, though Olga moved away from the north east of England a number of years ago, and now lives in London.

It has become a tradition to give a special nickname to every Toy Dolls member.

Current members

  • Michael "Olga" Algar - lead vocals, guitar
  • Duncan "The Amazing Mr. Duncan" Redmonds - drums, vocals
  • Tom "Tommy Goober" Blyth - bass, vocals

Toy Dolls alumni

  • Peter "Pete Zulu" Robson - bass, guitar
  • Phillip "Flip" Dugdale - bass
  • Colin "Mr. Scott" Scott - drums
  • Paul "Hud" Hudson - vocals
  • Dean "Dean James" Robson - drums 1980, bass guitar 1985/88
  • Trevor "Trevor The Frog" Brewis - drums
  • Graham "Teddy Toy Doll" Edmundson - drums
  • Robert "Happy Bob" Kent - drums
  • Steve "Rubiboy" Mallinson- bass
  • Frederick "Freddie Hotrock" Robertson - bass
  • Nick Buck - drums
  • Barry "Bonny Baz" Warne - bass
  • Alan "Dirty Dicka" Nixon - drums
  • Malcolm "Dicky" Dick - drums
  • Paul "Little Paul" Smith - drums
  • Ernest "Ernie" Algar - bass
  • Kevin "Canny Kev" Scott - drums
  • Martin "Marty" Yule - drums
  • John "K'Cee" Casey - bass
  • Richard "Dicky Hammond" Hammond - bass
  • Gary "Gary Fun" Dunn - bass
  • Suba - drums
  • Michael "Reb" Rebbig - bass
  • David "Dave the Nut" Nuttall - drums



Year Album
1983 Dig That Groove Baby
1985 A Far Out Disc
1986 Idle Gossip
1987 Bare Faced Cheek
1989 Ten Years Of Toys
1989 Wakey Wakey
1990 Twenty Two Tunes Live From Tokyo
1991 Fat Bob's Feet
1993 Absurd-Ditties
1995 Orcastrated
1997 One More Megabyte
1999 On Stage in Stuttgart
2000 Anniversary Anthems
2004 Our Last Album?
2006 Treasured Toy Dolls Tracks Live
2012 The Album After The Last One
2015 Olgacoustic


  • 1980 "Tommy Kowey's Car"
  • 1981 "Toy Dolls E.P."
  • 1981 "Everybody Jitterbug"
  • 1982 "Nellie the Elephant"
  • 1983 "Cheerio & Toodle Pip"
  • 1983 "Alfie From The Bronx"
  • 1984 "We're Mad"
  • 1984 "Nellie the Elephant" No. 4 UK
  • 1985 "She Goes To Finos"
  • 1985 "James Bond Lives Down Our Street"
  • 1986 "Geordie's Gone to Jail"
  • 1987 "Wipe Out (Live)"
  • 1990 "Turtle Crazy"
  • 1995 "Lazy Sunday Afternoon"
  • 2000 "Livin' La Vida Loca"


  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 563.  
  2. ^ "Slang Productions - Guitarists 4 the Kids". Slang Productions. September 11, 2006. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Toy Dolls Official Website". Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  4. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  5. ^ "The Toy Dolls Official Website". Retrieved 2014-11-28. 

External links

  • The Toy Dolls Official website
  • Olgas Official Myspace website
  • The Toy Dolls Japanese website
  • The Toy Dolls German website
  • Toy Dolls biography
  • Unofficial Toy Dolls forum
  • Unofficial website by Dave Bekkema
  • Unofficial polish website by Alko
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