In a recent interview, Arthur Mathews, co-creator of the Matt Berry vehicle Toast Of London, announced a revival of the project, bringing main character Stephen Toast to the apple pie-y shores of America.
Toast In America
“The idea is that he leaves Britain and goes to Hollywood,” Mathews told Chortle. “It’s set in America but it’ll be shot in Britain. They’ve been doing that for years, like they did with Episodes. Quite a lot is written – there’s five years worth of material! I had nothing to do in 2016 for some reason so I wrote a few episodes of Toast in case it ever came back.”
The Toast character was made by and for Berry’s unique voice and delivery, which already seemed like a parody of a certain sort of over-acting thespian, something that the Toast character simply made explicit. The programme had already seen something of a revival earlier in 2020, with Berry and others reprising their roles in a series of short audio sketches.
Berry himself has noted that Toast Of London was usually described with the backhanded compliment ‘cult’. But despite the spinoff not actually being shot in America, of late Berry seems to have decisively cracked the American market with his role in What We Do In The Shadows, where he appeared both as vampire Laszlo Cravensworth and completely ordinary man Jackie Daytona. And, crucially, Toast Of London’s back catalogue is all available on Netflix, so newcomers needn’t approach the revival completely blind.
Per Mathews, Toast Of London “just seemed to drift off into the distance” up against Berry’s schedule – not only What We Do In The Shadows, but also Channel 4’s Year Of The Rabbit, a voiceover role in Matt Groening’s Disenchantment, and his music career. Despite that inimitable voice, it’s the latter where Berry’s passion has always truly lain, and it was he who did the music for Toast Of London, as well as for the sketch show Snuff Box, his earlier collaboration with Rich Fulcher.
Within the British acting world, the ‘fame funnel’ of provinces to London to, ultimately, America is a well-trodden path. And, as said, What We Do In The Shadows met with a great deal of success stateside, so the revival is somewhat reflecting Berry’s real-life career (although Shadows was shot entirely in Toronto). This already creates an interesting tension, given that for all the Toast character’s classically-trained pretensions he was down on his luck, flitting between controversial and really quite dreadful stage roles, and excruciating commercial voice-overs. Against the glitz and glamour of a joke version of Hollywood, this could be something special.
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