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Series / Toast of London

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Steven Toast

A Brit Com in which Matt Berry plays Steven Toast, a Large Ham middle aged actor who spends more time dealing with his bizarre life and problems off stage than performing on it. It is broadcast by Channel4.

The series provides examples of:

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Jon Hamm, to the point that Toast's father leaves his entire estate, fortune, and freehold properties to him right before he dies.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Listen to Toast pronounce "BonjovIIIII" or "Madame GuGAAA".
    • "Power Bullads" are a type of song.
  • Artificial Limbs: Blair Toast has an artificial hand. It's an inflated rubber glove, stuck on the end of his arm.
  • As Himself: John Nettles, now down on his luck and resorting to poaching, then marching into people's houses to try and sell them the animals he's killed.
  • Awful British Sex Comedy: Toast was filming one of these at Pinewood Studios in 1969 when he accidentally walked onto the wrong set and met Stanley Kubrick (Who was faking the Apollo 11 Moon Landings).
    • Ray Purchase himself is something of an extreme homage to the "jealous husband" archetype, and his introduction is shot like one of these — having just come home from filming an awful sex comedy, he's outraged to find himself being cuckolded and Toast hiding in the wardrobe.
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  • Batty Books: Frank Forfolk, famous round the world yachtsman. His autobiography is called "Forfolk's Sake".
  • Bigger on the Inside: Several locations appear as tiny buildings from the outside, but are vast within, such as the new BBC Television Centre, which on the outside is a tiny portacabin in the middle of a field, but inside contains a very large office.
  • Bi the Way: Mrs. Purchase isn't adverse to bringing in a woman for a three-piece.
  • Bottomless Magazines: In one episode, Ray Purchase fires his six-shot revolver into the ceiling ten times without reloading, and still has enough bullets to threaten Toast,
  • Brick Joke: In the pre-credits sequence for Match Fit, Toast is recording the voiceover for the "Mind The Gap" annoucement on The London Underground, and is asked to leave a longer and longer gap between the words "the" and "Gap". Eventually, he says "Mind the" and then walks out of the recording booth. He doesn't return until after the end of the closing credits.
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  • British Brevity: Faithfully follows this trope; a single pilot, followed by three series (so far) of six episodes each.
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: When Toast learns that director Parker Pipe refuses to work with any actors who aren't "on the square", he decides to join the not-so-secret brotherhood:
  • The Cast Show Off: Matt Berry is an accomplished songwriter, musician and singer, which probably explains why there's a slightly surreal song interlude in most episodes.
  • Catchphrase: Many.
    Clem Fandango: Hi, Steven, this is Clem Fandango, can you hear me?
    Toast: Yes, I can hear you, Clem Fandango.

    Michael Ball: It's not rocket science.

  • Celebrity Resemblance: Kikini Bamalam, daughter of the Nigerian ambassador, was the victim of an insane plastic surgeon who turned her into a dead ringer for Bruce Forsyth. Except her left hand.
    • And he clearly had a go at her vocal chords as well, because she even sounds like Brucie.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Jane gives Toast a satellite phone, with a built in oxygen mask and an emergency fire extinguisher. All of which come in useful when he's buried alive on the set of a movie.
  • Chekhov's News: Toast talks to Ed about fracking. He's saved from certain death buried alive by it later.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Toast's very strange drummer girlfriend has the required skills to save him when he keels over with a (near) heart attack.
  • Cuckold: Ray Purchase. Mrs. Purchase is always having sex with other men, especially Toast. In Match Fit she even has sex with Toast whilst Ray is asleep in the bed next to them. And at the end, because Ray loses a bet, he is forced to watch Toast have sex with Mrs. Purchase. Whilst strapped into a Clockwork Orange-style chair.
    • Toast himself, whose wife Ellen had sex during the speeches at their wedding. With Clem Fandango.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Downplayed; Steven usually dresses all in black and, while he's a bit of a jerk, compared to some of the others floating around his orbit he's a pretty reasonable guy.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Ray Purchase has the moustache and cartoonishly evil personality, although unusually he dresses all in white. In the first episode he is only mentioned, but Toast suspects him of conducting a needlessly elaborate scheme just to annoy him.
    Ed: So, you think he set himself up as a rogue cosmetic surgeon, to operate on a friend of a friend of yours, disfigure her and turn her into a Bruce Forsyth lookalike... just to piss you off?
    Toast: Yep. Thing is, I'm not even that pissed off.
    • ... and when me meet Ray in the next episode, he's such a bastard that it suggests Toast was right, as Ray probably would go to such unnecessary lengths. He also attempts to kill Toast twice, first by goading an insane director into murdering him, and later by simply trying to shoot him onstage. He's also notoriously homophobic.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: While discussing the plot of the play version of Calendar Girls, Toast expresses disbelief that anyone would want to buy a calendar with a load of older ladies posing in the nude. Ed mentions that he owns such a calendar, and gets himself so worked up describing how the ladies' modesty is covered by cakes, teapots, etc., that he says he's just going to go and have a look at his calendar. "To check some dates...".
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Addictive Personality ends with Toast and Ed laughing for just a little bit too long after Toast spouts yet another of Brucie's catchphrases.
    Toast: Didn't she do well?
  • Expy:
    • Axel Jacklin in High Winds Actor is pretty clearly supposed to be James Mason. In his career he's been pretty much typecast as sea captains, much like Mason played Captain Nemo. His voice is even an impersonation of Mason. Particularly humorous in that the episode revolves around actors being members of the Masons.
    • Peggy Plywood in Over the Moon is supposed to be director Joan Littlewood, right down to the cap and donkey jacket. Once again justified, as Littlewood died in 2002.
    • Weirdly, however, this is averted in Fool in Love, when Toast goes to stay with his friend, the artist Francis Bacon. Bacon died in 1992, and other characters even comment on the fact that he is supposed to be dead, but Toast can't understand why they're saying this, and still pops in to see Francis for a chat.
    • Also averted in Bob A Job, with the comedian Bob Monkhouse, who Toast is surprised to find is still alive (although, in reality, he died in 2003).
  • Fan Disservice: Any sex scene. Toast always keeps his vest on during the act, and the scenes usually focus on the ridiculous facial expressions that he pulls. In slow motion. Or on Mrs. Purchase's very bored face. A special mention should go to the shot of Toast's genitals in the last episode of season two.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Toast's regular haunt The Colonial Club is based upon The Colony Room, a famous drinking den for theatrical and artistic types such as Peter O'Toole, Tom Baker and Francis Bacon.
    • In Beauty Calls, an extra dressed as Baker's incarnation of the Doctor can be seen in the background, drinking gin and smoking a fag.
    • In Match Fit, Toast takes part in a Prostitutes and Celebrities Blow Football Tournament for the charity organisation "The River Rats", based on The Grand Order of Water Rats.
    • In The Moose Trap, the titular play takes the place of The Mousetrap.
  • Full-Name Basis: As a Running Gag, Clem Fandango always introduces himself by first and last name, and Steven always addresses him the same way.
  • Gargle Blaster: Peter Davison has his own home-brewing apparatus, with which he makes his own drink called the Black Death. Toast takes a swig, and his skin instantly goes grey, buboes grow on his face and he begins bleeding from the eyes (much like the plague after which it is named). Davison then tells him that he's really supposed to sip it. At the end of the episode, Davison and his girlfriend are revealed to have drunk themselves almost to death on it.
  • Good-Looking Privates / Hospital Hottie : Toast has something of a fetish for women in uniform.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Between Toast and pretty much anyone, but especially with his rival, Ray Purchase.
  • Hipster: Clem Fandango and Danny Bear are pretty obnoxious examples. Toast describes them as wearing "clowns' outfits".
  • Hollywood Midlife Crisis: After seeming to be quite sane during his first two appearances, in Beauty Calls, Peter Davison seems to be going through one of these. He's got himself a much younger girlfriend (who is very foul-mouthed), causing his wife to have thrown him out of their home. He is now living with Toast and Ed, and is now wearing vaguely ridiculous-looking clothing, getting drunk with his girlfriend, and throwing childish tantrums whenever he's asked to do chores round the flat.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Wendy Nook is initially unwilling to participate in the Prostitutes and Celebrities Blow Football Tournament, until she finds out that it's in aid of homeless ponies. She is incredibly moved that some ponies are homeless and agrees to take part.
    • Mrs Purchase, although she isn't technically a prostitute.
  • Identical Grandson: In a flashback to Toast and Ed's father's judging a beauty contest some time in the 1970s in Beauty Calls, they are also played by Matt Berry and Robert Bathurst.
  • Ignore the Disability: When Toast is introduced to Kikini Bamalam (see Celebrity Resemblance) he is instructed to avoid any mention of Bruce Forsyth for fear of upsetting her. Sadly, he can't help himself and ends up spouting a load of Brucie's catchphrases on an involuntary loop.
    Toast: Nice to see you, to see you... nice. Forgive that. Ed did tell me that to mention any of your catchphrases was strictly, strictly, strictly, strictly, strictly, strictly, strictly, strictly, strictly, strictly, strictly, strictly, striiiiiictlyyyyyyy... You don't look actually anything like him.
    • In "Desperate Measures", Jane sends Toast to meet Bob Fennison, a musical director with "a very minor facial blemish" that's so minor she can't even remember what it is. Bob is a cyclops. The trope ultimately ends up being parodied and deconstructed; while Toast manages to keep it together, Bob — not comfortable in public situations — storms off because he feels the producer (and his lover), Duncan Clench, is domineering the conversation and taking a fancy to Toast, and later drowns Duncan and himself in a jealous murder-suicide, none of which has anything to do with his one eye.
  • I Have No Son!: Toast's father does not approve of him being an actor, so instead tells people that he is dead. By the end, he's told people this so often that he even believes it himself.
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: "Fool In Love" had Abraham Lincoln, Bruce Forsyth, London Bridge and a row of can-can dancers.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's always "Bruce F'sythe".
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: Toast's agent Jane Plough. Her surname is pronounced to rhyme with "Rough" and not like the agricultural equipment.
  • It's All About Me: Steven Toast is the sort of man who thinks that an enemy would engage in a long and convoluted scheme to disguise himself as a plastic surgeon and mutilate an African diplomat's daughter into looking like Bruce Forsyth solely as part of some ill-defined plan intended just to annoy him. Of course, Ray Purchase is such a petty, vindictive douchebag it wouldn't be entirely out of character for him. But nevertheless, it's also a sign of a fairly healthy ego on Toast's part to immediately jump to such a conclusion upon first hearing the story.
  • Jerkass: Toast isn't a particularly pleasant man. He's generally angry, rude, selfish, impatient, bitter, and doesn't really respect anyone. Although this is mitigated by the sheer amount of crap he puts up with and the fact that there are far worse people around him, like Ray Purchase.
  • Large Ham: Toast himself. Which is not surprising, given that he's played by Matt Berry.
  • Last-Name Basis: Toast is nearly always addressed as simply Toast, even by his brother. In fact, the only people that call him Steven are Danny Bear and Clem Fandango, which clearly gets his back up.
    • Mrs Purchase's first name is never revealed.
  • Light Is Not Good: Ray Purchase is frequently found dressed in all white, and is a massive dick.
  • Moon-Landing Hoax: Turns out the moon landing was staged. And directed by Stanley Kubrick.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Played for laughs with Toast's slightly strange girlfriend who plays percussion, all of the time. Naturally this gets a little annoying after a while.
  • Mushroom Samba: in High Winds Actor, Jane starts hallucinating bats everywhere. Turns out she's back on the acid.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The three random ripped dudes playing frisbee in "Afternoon Tea".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Arab billionaire who hires Toast to appear in his movie Prince Philip: Scoundrel Dog is in no way supposed to be Mohamed Fayed.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: While Toast's girlfriend on "Man of Sex", being a "Doctor of Drumming" clearly isn't that kind of Doctor and probably shouldn't have responded to the question "Is there a doctor in the house?" she is able to restart his heart with drumming.
  • Off the Wagon: Toast picks up legendary stage actor Ormond Sacker from rehab and takes him straight to the pub. Seven times.
  • Older Than They Look: Toast looks to be in his early forties (Matt Berry himself is 40 as of 2014), and yet flashbacks of Toast's previous acting jobs include an Awful British Sex Comedy in 1969, an appearance in a children's programme in 1974 (thanks to a Freeze-Frame Bonus of the VT clock during the clip), and an episode of Doctor Who which, judging by Tom Baker's costume would have been made in 1974 or 1975. Who knows how old he actually is?!
    • Also Jane Plough, who in High Winds Actor celebrates 40 years as an agent, even though Doon Mackichan who plays her is only 51. Did Jane become an agent at the age of eleven?
  • Oral Fixation: Mrs Purchase almost always has a cigarette in her mouth, even during sex with Toast.
  • Overly Long Gag: Steven Toast, defending his rather ill-judged decision to reveal the ending of a murder mystery he was starring in on live radio:
    Toast: It's like that Titanic film. Everybody knew what was going to happen in the end, but it was still a tremendous hit.
    Every Single Person Toast Talks To, One After Another: This is very different, Toast.
    Toast:' Honestly [Person Toast Is Currently Talking To], I don't think anybody's going to agree with you about this.
  • Performance Anxiety: In Over the Moon, Toast is extremely anxious about having to perform Macbeth live on television, so much so that he cannot let go of a pillar in his dressing room. He ends up performing the entire play whilst holding onto the pillar. And getting rave reviews for it.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: While never exactly exceptionally modern, Toast becomes one of these in Global Warming (insisting people in wheelchairs be moved because they were distracting him, abusing an Asian tourist for not speaking English clearly, complaining about a woman breastfeeding in public and being seen going into a porno theatre) forcing him to deal with the PC police.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Among the many things that make Ray Purchase both a villain and an absolute tosser is the fact that he's openly homophobic.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Toast doesn't know much about modern pop culture. He has no idea who Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga or Coldplay are, nor J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter. And of course, Benedict Cumberbatch. He doesn't know what bowling is either.
    • Not surprising, as Toast claims never to watch television.
    Toast: But I have heard that Breaking Bad is very good.
  • Pyjama Clad Hero: Toast's flat-mate Ed Howzer-Black is almost exclusively attired in stylish pyjamas and a silk dressing gown, although this is somewhat justified since he's usually in the flat nearly all the time, although he even wears them when he is driving or visiting Toast at his theatre dressing room. He does dress in a nice linen suit with a panama hat at one point, which momentarily confuses Toast.
    Toast: Why are you dressed as the Man from Del monTAAAY?
    • Mrs. Purchase is also always wearing her negligée and dressing gown, even outside. Except in the East End, where she is dressed as a Victorian prostitute.
  • Punny Name: In 'Vanity Project', Alan Ford plays a cabbie named (only in the credits) Mick Carriage. Put another way? Paddy Wagon. Also qualifies as a Stealth Pun and a Meaningful Name.
  • Really Gets Around: Mrs. Purchase. She even advertises in phone booths. And on a billboard (which simply has a picture of her and the words "Mrs. Purchase: Call for sex"). But she's not actually a prostitute, because she doesn't accept money from anyone for sex. Except for Ray.
  • Running Gag:
    • Toast replying "Who?" whenever anyone mentions Benedict Cumberbatch.
    • In the first series, various actors of influence being ruined by Operation Yewtree, usually with the refrain that "the 70's were a different time".
    • "Yes I can hear you, Clem Fandango."
  • Saying Sound Effects Outloud: Many of Toast's voice-overs will include what would seem to be sound effects but which Toast will have to say as words. In one case, Toast is given a script that just says "neigh" and it's unclear whether he's supposed to say the word "neigh" or make the sound of a horse. He initially assumes the former but is later told the latter, being told they can't get a horse in to the studio to do it due to OH&S concerns.note In another case, Ray Purchase is in the booth with Toast reading from a script and Toast has been given a script of sound effects being expected to say "bang" when there's a gunshot and "smash" when some glass is smashed. Toast realises just how ridiculous this is and it seems to be done intentionally to annoy him.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Ray bloody Purchase... although he is more genuinely dangerous than most examples, having tried to murder Toast several times.
  • Skunk Stripe: Toast has one of these. He got it by falling out of a tree.
    • As does Wendy Nook. Who also got it by falling out of a tree.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Mrs. Purchase smokes after sex. And before sex. And during sex, actually.
  • Special Edition Title: For the James Bond spoof Bonus Ball, we get a spoof set of Bond style credits. With a special song performed by Michael Ball.
  • Speed Sex: In Beauty Calls when talking to Ed about the sex he (Toast) had just had in the last scene, Toast described it as, "Straight down to it, over in seconds" and "A quick park. No foreplay. Just the way the ladies like it."
  • Spoiler: While being interviews on the radio, Toast lets slip the identity of the killer in long-running play "The Moose Trap". Once everyone knows that the chauffeur did it, people stop coming to the play.
  • Squashed Flat: A rare live-action example occurred in "Man of Sex".
  • Stalker with a Crush: Toast gets followed around by a woman who wants him to call her. He's a bit scared of her, given that she stabbed her last boyfriend.
  • Stylistic Suck: Throughout the first series, Toast is appearing in what is described as "the worst play in the world". We finally see part of it in episode six. It's pretty awful. So awful that it's actually improved when Michael Ball gets shot and killed during the performance.
    • Toast also tries his hand at writing a Fifty Shades of Grey style erotic novel. Bits that are read out are truly terrible. And made even funnier by Toast's hammy delivery. Unlike the play, everyone in-universe seems to think it's genuinely brilliant.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Ray Purchase's wife is always called Mrs. Purchase. Even in the prostitute's cards she leaves in phone boxes.
  • Throw It In!: In Universe: Toast's Sat-Nav voiceover has all of his swearing and sighing left on the finished product.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Toast's father, Col. Gonville Toast, is played by Matt Berry in flashback in Beauty Calls and by BRIAN BLESSED in Hamm on Toast.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Toast recalls smoking "Children in Need" back in The '60s.
  • Victorian London: In High Winds Actor, Toast has to venture into the East End. Despite being set in 2014, it's exactly as it was in the days of Jack the Ripper, complete with swirling fog and cockney prostitutes. Naturally, one of them is Mrs. Purchase, and as usual she is smoking. Although, appropriately, she is smoking a clay pipe rather than her ever-present cigarettes.

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