The Toy Dolls formed as a quartet featuring vocalist Pete "Zulu" Robson, guitarist; Michael Algar also known as Olga (born September 21st, 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 #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 #4 in the UK Singles Chart and stayed in the chart for 14 weeks. Their 1985 album, A Far Out Disc, reached #71 in the UK Albums Chart. 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 triumphant "homecoming" for a sold-out show at Durham University. The band released a best of album, Ten Years of Toy Dolls. 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 features 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' da Vida Loca made its way onto Anniversary Anthems in 2000. The band's 2004 album Our Last Album? fooled fans in the aniticipation up to its release that it was the band's last album. The outro track on the album stated that it wasn't.
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. The bands 30th anniversary in October 2009 saw the band receiving a whole load of special congratulation messages to their official website from a varied selection of musicians including Baz Warne from The Stranglers, TV Smith from The Adverts Jake Burns Stiff Little Fingers & NOFX manager Kent Jamieson. The Toy Dolls live shows consist of synchronized choreography, timed moves, dances and jumps and spinning guitars.