Britain’s worst actor Steven Toast (Matt Berry) is back, in the second season of the hilarious comedy Toast of London. Series two sees Toast moving on to a range of new exploits and acting roles following the surprise success afforded to him by Michael Ball, aided by his eccentric agent Jane Plough (Doon Mackichan) and forever ready for bed housemate Ed Howzer-Black (Robert Bathurst). Thankfully, the season also sees expanded roles for Toast’s longtime rival Ed Purchase (Harry Peacock) and his wife (Tracy-Ann Oberman), as well as his army veteran, kitchen glove wearing brother Blair (Adrian Lukis).
The season is just as eccentrically hilarious as the first, inventing a whole new plethora of zany situations for Toast to get himself into. The first episode starts things rolling when Toast faces off against Purchase in the annual ‘Celebrities and Prostitutes Blow Football Tournament’ raising money for homeless horses, whilst other entries in the show see him become Britain’s top high winds actor and go toe-to-toe with the husband of a past lover, who is hilariously played by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.
Watching these episodes, it is obvious Berry and his writing partner Arthur Matthews have grown more confident with their writing skills, as they certainly up the ante in terms of both the laughs and episode plots which are on a whole much more bizarre than anything in the first season (and are all the better for it). One of the real strengths of this season are the sendups of a number of familiar TV and film genres, such as footage of a US daytime soap Toast appeared on with his ex-squeeze Lorna Wynde (Morgana Robinson). There is also an entire episode subplot that rips on the narrative of The Exorcist, in which Ed’s niece appears to be possessed by the devil only to be rescued by a homeopathy practitioner.
Though it’s unique brand of humour means Toast of London is probably never going to gain the widespread acclaim it rightly deserves, if you are a fan of other offbeat British comedies such as The Mighty Boosh or Little Britain, this is definitely worth a watch. Matt Berry is a thrill to watch on screen, and to be honest I personally could watch an entire show of him talking to himself alone in a room and still find it the funniest thing currently on air. If like me you have followed his career from the days of Darth Marenghi’s Darkplace to his starring role on The IT Crowd, I can promise that you’re in for a real treat.
So do yourself a solid, get yourself a copy of Toast of London Series 2 and plan a side-splittingly funny night in on the couch. It’s definitely worth it.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Running Time: 188 minutes
There are a whole host of special features on this DVD for anyone who is still craving a fix of Steven Toast. Not only does it include audio commentary for many of the episodes, but you can also catch deleted scenes, Toast’s Voiceover Showreel and a featurette of some of Toast’s most memorable stage roles.
Special Features Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Toast of London Series 2 is out now on DVD through ABC.