TOAST OF LONDON - SERIES THREE

PrintE-mail Written by Chris Jackson

Created by Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, The Mighty Boosh) alongside comedy writer Arthur Mathews (Father Ted, Big Train, Brass Eye), Toast Of London follows Steven Toast (played by Berry), an eccentric, womanising, almost-out-of-work actor whose world seems to be constantly filled with a never-ending deluge of problems. From having to cope with the hipsters in charge of the recording studio where Toast partakes in voiceover work between acting jobs, and dealing with his arch rival Ray Purchase (with whose ex-prostitute wife Toast is also having an affair), to finding his way out of larger problems such as the time a potentially world-threatening secret is revealed during a drunken appearance on breakfast television, each instalment serves as a self-contained story that forms a catalogue of tragically comic situations across the six-episode series.

We've already mentioned the undeniable pedigree of Toast's creators and their previous successes in TV-land, but a comedy show is nothing without a stellar cast. Matt Berry is superb as the slightly worn-down but eternally optimistic Steven Toast, with his often-quirky vocal delivery and real-life musical abilities coming into play at various points during each episode. Doon Mackichan (Smack The Pony, Brass Eye) stars as Toast's prim and proper (and slightly off the wall) agent Jane Plough (pronounced ‘Pluff’), with Harry Peacock (son of Trevor, The Vicar Of Dibley's Jim “No No No No No No No No... Yes” Trott) camping it up as Toast's nemesis Ray Purchase. Throw in some unexpected guest stars and cameos from Peter ‘Doctor Who’ Davison (and his foul-mouthed council estate girlfriend) and Mad Men's Jon Hamm (who Toast spends an entire episode falling in love with) among others, it's a wonderful ensemble that ensures each episode offers something different to the last.

In an era of ‘safe’ comedies such as Miranda and Citizen Khan, the delightfully absurd surrealism of Toast of London feels like a breath of fresh air. Having now reached its third series, you might almost expect the premise of the show to start wearing a little thin, but thanks to the imagination, creativity and, in the nicest possible way, silliness of its creators and cast, each episode of Toast manages to be consistently amusing. Occasional jokes might not quite hit their intended marks, and it's possible that some viewers might not take too well to some of the language and bawdiness (prepare yourself for a couple of C-bombs, if you're sensitive to that kind of thing), but there's always something ridiculous waiting just around the corner to raise a smile.

This DVD release also adds a few extra bits and pieces which fans of the series are sure to enjoy. A near 20-minute interview with Matt Berry discussing the music of Toast is a highlight, and there is almost half an hour of behind the scenes footage filmed with various members of the cast and crew. Add in a few out-takes, a deleted scene (just the one, sadly), photos, and storyboards, and you end up with a package that no fan of the show (or fan of this type of comedy) should be without.

TOAST OF LONDON - SERIES THREE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: MICHAEL CUMMING / SCREENPLAY: MATT BERRY, ARTHUR MATHEWS / STARRING: MATT BERRY, ROBERT BATHURST, DOON MACKICHAN, HARRY PEACOCK, TRACY ANN OBERMAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW


 


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