Toast of London
Toast of London is a British television sitcom set in London. It was created by Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry and stars Berry as Steven Toast, an eccentric, middle-aged actor with a chequered past who spends more time dealing with his problems off stage than performing on it. Three series were broadcast on Channel 4, all directed by Michael Cumming. Series 2 and 3 were shot at the West London Film Studios. In the United States, Toast of London is available on IFC and Netflix.
|Toast of London|
|Directed by||Michael Cumming|
|Opening theme||"Take My Hand"|
by Matt Berry
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||19 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||23 minutes|
|Production company||Objective Media Group|
|Original network||Channel 4|
|First shown in||20 August 2012|
|Original release||20 October 2013 –|
23 December 2015
In November 2017, after reports of a fourth series, Berry clarified that it will return "in some form at some point", but nothing was currently being written. Mathews later said that they have an idea for "Toast in America", but that no deadline was set. In December 2017, Channel 4 officially renewed the show for another series.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a new YouTube channel with new audio skits of Toast of London was created, whilst in 2021 the "Toast in America" series was confirmed as a six-part television project for the BBC, under the title Toast of Tinseltown.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Matt Berry as Steven Gonville Toast, the central character of the series. A bumbling, self-important actor, an unsuccessful ladies' man and often the bearer of bad fortune. Toast considers himself a success despite his obviously failing career.
- Berry also portrays a younger version of Steven's father, Colonel Gonville Toast, in the series 3 episode "Beauty Calls".
- Doon Mackichan as Jane Plough (which she pronounces "pluff" //) like "Clough", Toast's unhelpful agent. Prim and posh, she sees herself as superior to Toast, despite her failure to provide him with decent work. She was played by Fiona Mollison in the pilot.
- Robert Bathurst as Ed Howzer-Black, Toast's landlord and an idle retired actor.
- Bathurst also portrays Ed's father, Rupert Howzer-Black, in the series 3 episode "Beauty Calls".
- Harry Peacock as Ray "Bloody" Purchase, Toast's fellow actor and rival, and a virulent homophobe. The two hate each other with a vengeance and are constantly in competition. While Purchase often seems to have the upper hand, Toast is still sometimes able to come out on top.
- Peacock also portrays Ray's albino twin brother, Bill Purchase, in the series 3 episode "Man of Sex".
- Tim Downie as Danny Bear, a studio sound engineer and stereotypical hipster who regularly hires Toast for voiceover work in a London studio.
- Shazad Latif as Clem Fandango, another hipster who is doing work experience in the recording studio. Clem routinely says to Toast "Hello Steven, this is Clem Fandango, can you hear me?" to which Toast is forced to reply with some variation of "Yes, I can hear you Clem Fandango."
- Tracy-Ann Oberman as Mrs Purchase, the wife of Ray Purchase and a prostitute who is having an affair with Toast. Despite being a prostitute, the only person she ever charges for sex is her husband.
- Adrian Lukis as Colonel Blair Toast, Steven's eccentric older brother. An army veteran, he lost his hand in the Falklands War and now uses a stuffed rubber glove as a replacement.
- Amanda Donohoe as Ellen, Toast's abusive and volatile ex-wife. Despite her poor treatment of him, Toast continues to have feelings for her.
- Alan Ford as Alan, who is a hypnotist and a homeopath. Ford also appeared as a taxi driver called "Mick Carriage"
- Peter Davison plays a fictionalised version of himself in several episodes.
- Morgana Robinson makes one appearance in each of the three series, each time as a different character. She portrays Jemima Gina in "Addictive Personality", Lorna Wynde in "Fool in Love", and Emma in "Beauty Calls".
- Geoffrey McGivern appears as three separate one-off characters, all of whom were temperamental directors working with Toast. He portrays Cliff Promise in "The Unspeakable Play", Acker Herron in "Afternoon Tea", and Norris Flipjack in "Desperate Measures".
|First aired||Last aired|
|Pilot||1||20 August 2012|
|1||6||20 October 2013||24 November 2013|
|2||6||3 November 2014||8 December 2014|
|3||6||18 November 2015||23 December 2015|
Pilot episode (2012)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|"The Unspeakable Play"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||20 August 2012|
Toast is starring in a play that is so bad and controversial that no-one says its name – and protesters are outside the theatre.
Toast auditions for a part in a TV drama as a gay undercover detective. The producer, Cliff, is in prison for holocaust denial, so Toast has to audition whilst visiting Cliff. Another inmate thinks Toast actually is a policeman and attacks him.Ray Purchase, a rival actor whose wife is having an affair with Toast, attacks Toast. He is a police artist and frames Toast as a flasher.
Series 1 (2013)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Addictive Personality"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||20 October 2013|
Toast is about to have sex with an attractive young woman, Jemima, at her flat. He leaves when he sees that she is wearing an ankle monitor and was convicted of attempted murder for stabbing her boyfriend. She stalks him. Toast meets attractive young journalist Susan. She throws a supermarket trolley in a canal, then tells him that she is a recovering alcoholic. When she takes him to her flat, he sees that she is an extreme hoarder. Jemima turns up at Susan's flat and is arrested by the police. Susan rejects Toast for being weird.
Kikini, the daughter of the Nigerian ambassador has been the victim of unscrupulous plastic surgery by Ray Purchase which has made her look like Bruce Forsyth, so Ed invites her to stay at the flat to recuperate.Toast is informed that he will be the recipient of an acting award, which he is told by his agent Jane Plough is for Best Actor. She later tells him that the award is for Worst Actor. He sends Kikini to accept the award on his behalf.
|2||2||"Afternoon Tea"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||27 October 2013|
|Toast gets a part in a new play but tries to get out of it when he finds out about the director's disturbing past. The director is displeased with Toast's attitude, so he and Ray Purchase confronts Toast. In the meantime, while chasing a romantic endeavor, Toast runs into an old acting classmate. But all goes to hell when Toast finds out that he has been set up, unknowingly to both, to be as part of her documentary.|
|3||3||"Vanity Project"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||3 November 2013|
|Toast is caught in the middle of an acrimonious and expensive divorce. In need of money, he agrees to act in a vanity film about Prince Philip.|
|4||4||"Submission"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||10 November 2013|
|After helping the Royal Navy on a recent project, Toast is invited to the launch of their new nuclear submarine, the "Penetrator".|
|5||5||"The End"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||17 November 2013|
|Toast is tired of doing crummy voiceovers and appearing every night in his bad play. With the help of a new agent, Brooke Hooberman, he tries his hand at a new career: an author of erotic literature. His manuscript is well received but he struggles to find an ending. Eventually he decides to have the main character spontaneously combust. The laziness of the ending enrages his literary agent, who spontaneously combusts in front of Toast.|
|6||6||"Bonus Ball"||Michael Cumming||Matt Berry and Arthur Mathews||24 November 2013|
|After losing £20,000 to Andrew Lloyd Webber in a celebrity poker game, Toast finds himself hunted by musical superstar and part-time theatre-land enforcer Michael Ball. Meanwhile Ray Purchase becomes determined to kill Toast after discovering his affair with Mrs Purchase. Michael Ball approaches Toast on stage in the middle of his bad play, while Ray Purchase tries to shoot him. Ray Purchase shoots Michael Ball instead, who dies on stage. The event is mistaken for part of the play, which receives rave reviews.|
Series 2 (2014)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|7||1||"Match Fit"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||3 November 2014|
|Toast accepts Ed's invitation to the Celebrities and Prostitutes Blow Football Tournament and becomes determined to win. He pays a prostitute, Wendy Nook, to be his partner. They lose the final against Ray Purchase and his wife. However, the Purchases are disqualified because Mrs Purchase is not a genuine prostitute, so Toast and Wendy win. Toast's prize is to have unprotected sex with Mrs Purchase whilst Ray watches.|
|8||2||"Desperate Measures"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||10 November 2014|
|After Ray Purchase snitches on him to the 'Tax People', Toast receives a massive tax bill, and is forced to take on some unappealing jobs to pay off the debt.|
|9||3||"The Moosetrap"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||17 November 2014|
|A return to the West End stage in the legendary 'whodunnit' play The Moose Trap is seriously jeopardised when Toast reveals the killer's identity in a radio interview. Toast also finds out through Blair that the announcer on University Challenge is retiring and applies for the role, much to Jane's annoyance. At the interview with Jeremy Paxman, Paxman questions Toast about revealing the end of the Moose Trap, leading to an altercation and Paxman falling out of a window. Audiences at the Moose Trap collapse, leading to the death of another actor, and the play is forced to close.|
|10||4||"High Winds Actor"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||24 November 2014|
|After the tragic death of his friend Axel Jacklin, Britain's finest exponent of acting in high winds, Toast finds himself in demand for dramatic roles. Toast persuades Ed to let him join the Freemasons after discovering that Jacklin's director will only work with actors "on the square". Toast is fast-tracked into the Masons but his co-star Ray Purchase informs the director, who fires him.|
|11||5||"Buried Alive!"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||1 December 2014|
|Toast is very excited to land a major role in a big movie starring the legendary Max Gland. Max orders Toast to get him a dog, so Toast steals one from a girl. His first scene on set is to be buried alive, but before he can be dug up, Max shoots himself and the dog during an argument with the director. The shoot is abandoned and Toast is left buried. Using his unnecessarily complicated new phone he manages to survive and even speak to a number of contacts but none of them come to his aid. He is eventually saved by a fracking drill.|
|12||6||"Fool in Love"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||8 December 2014|
|An old heartbreaker flame of Toast's, Lorna Wynde, turns up in London. She seems to still have feelings for him, but he worries she is just trying to make her husband, Josh Homme, jealous. Meanwhile, Ed is hosting his niece Honeysuckle, who has a gluten allergy that makes her behave as if possessed, so Toast has to sleep on the sofa. Although Ed promises a homeopath is coming to cure Honeysuckle, Toast cannot cope and goes to stay with Francis Bacon, who persuades him to move in with Lorna. Toast goes to confront Lorna's husband but accidentally cuts off his nose while confronting him, upsetting Lorna. He returns home to find that Honeysuckle is worse than ever, when Alan the Homeopath (Alan Ford) finally arrives and immediately cures her.|
Series 3 (2015)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|13||1||"Over the Moon"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||18 November 2015|
|A tipsy Toast appears on the chat show Lorraine and tells a story from his past that could bring down the U.S. government. Meanwhile, an actor who can do a perfect impression of Toast starts poaching his voiceover work. After realising what he said to Lorraine, Toast suffers stage fright ahead of his starring role in Macbeth, and cannot let go of a pillar in his dressing room. Alan cuts the pillar free and Toast performs while holding onto it. He is praised for his "pillar work". Toast's copycat is assassinated by U.S. government agents.|
|14||2||"Beauty Calls"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||25 November 2015|
|Ed is dating former beauty queen Penvelope - and Toast hooks up with her friend Clancy Moped. However, their romances are jeopardized when the guys are invited to judge a beauty contest, coincidentally the same one that their respective fathers had previously judged in 1972. Peter Davison and his obnoxious girlfriend have moved in with Ed and Toast, causing much annoyance with his horrible homebrew wine and refusal to do the washing-up. The boys at Scramble Studios sabotage a date between Toast and Clancy by forcing him to work late. Toast and a reluctant Ed go to judge the beauty contest, which is held in a barn in the middle of nowhere. Toast decides to leave, but before he can, feminists (including Clancy and Penvelope) invade the beauty contest. Toast and Ed are dumped, and the story is printed with the same headline as for their fathers. Toast finds that Davison and his girlfriend have poisoned themselves with homebrew wine, so he and Ed have to do the washing-up themselves.|
|15||3||"Hamm on Toast"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||2 December 2015|
|Mad Men star Jon Hamm is visiting London and Jane offers to introduce Toast to him. Toast is unimpressed by rumours of Hamm's legendary charisma. Toast's father (Brian Blessed) is dying and Blair wants Toast to help him ensure that they get all the inheritance, then divide it between them. Toast agrees but then suffers a head injury, which causes him to become obsessed with Jon Hamm. Meanwhile he repeatedly brushes off an attractive female fan due to his obsession with Hamm. He takes Hamm with him to see his father, who leaves everything to Hamm. Enraged, Blair throws Toast down 200 stairs, which cures his head injury and returns him to normal.|
|16||4||"Bob a Job"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||9 December 2015|
|Toast and Purchase perform the "sand dance" at Royal Variety Performance, hosted by Bob Monkhouse. Toast only agrees to perform because Kevin Spacey will be watching and may cast him in House of Cards, and is put in charge of getting a gift for Prince Charles. Mrs Purchase has a new job as a drone operative in Afghanistan. Danny plans to have sex reassignment surgery and Toast finds him a discount option, but Danny backs out at the last minute. Toast keeps the fake breasts intended for the surgery to give to Tom Jones, but forgets about the present for Prince Charles. When it turns out he has no present for Prince Charles other than the fake breasts, Monkhouse attempts to defuse the situation with a joke, but Toast pulls a trap door, killing Monkhouse. Kevin Spacey has gone MIA in Afghanistan (impliedly accidentally killed by Toast and Mrs Purchase) so his performance in the Royal Variety Performance was for nothing.|
|17||5||"Man of Sex"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||16 December 2015|
|When appearing in a play called "Man of Sex", Toast's co star is taken to rehab. Replacing him is the albino twin brother of Ray Purchase, Bill Purchase. Meanwhile Toast has a new relationship with a "doctor of drumming", but he starts to find her incessant drumming very irritating. Bill Purchase plays a number of cruel and disgusting practical jokes on Toast, leading to him collapsing whilst performing on stage. His girlfriend performs CPR using her drumming expertise, but Toast dumps her.|
|18||6||"Global Warming"||Michael Cumming||Arthur Mathews and Matt Berry||23 December 2015|
|Toast is set to appear in a production of Twelfth Night at the Globe Theatre. He thinks that he will gain recognition by acting there, but is ridiculed because he will be in a cast consisting mostly of dogs. Angry about the play, he shouts at a foreign tourist and attracts the attention of the "PC Police", who then follow him to a cafe where he complains about a breastfeeding woman, and a porn theatre, which he leaves after discovering that the film stars Ed. Before the first performance at the Globe, the director realises that the play is a disaster so he and Toast burn down the theatre with a pipe before the performance is due to take place. Although officially it is blamed on Ed's lodger, everyone knows it was Toast and Jane fires him. Toast is forced to perform in pornographic films with Ed.|
Music and songsEdit
The theme music, "Take My Hand" was composed by Matt Berry and was released on the album Witchazel. Each episode also features a novelty song sung by Berry's character Toast, and others. The songs are sometimes sung partly to the fourth wall.
In 2015, Matt Berry and Arthur Mathews published Toast on Toast: Cautionary tales and candid advice, a spoof autobiography of Steven Toast. It was also released as an audio book read by Matt Berry.
- [dead link]
- "Big Train at 20 - interview with Arthur Matthews". The Digital Fix. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
- "Toast of London Series 4 Renewal Announced by Channel 4". premieredate.news.
- "Toast of London's Matt Berry set to make history by playing theme tune live over show's credits". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
- "Toast on Toast by Steven Toast | Waterstones". www.waterstones.com. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
- "Steven Toast's 'Toast on Toast': read the first chapter". Time Out London. Retrieved 27 October 2019.