If your answer to the question ‘Do you like Toast of London?‘ is a resounding ‘YES!’ (in an attempted fruity baritone) then you’ll be delighted to hear that the third season of Channel 4’s Rose d’Or winning cult comedy is now out on DVD, won’t you?
And while much of the lure of the show is hearing Matt Berry rumble, purr, and oddly enunciate his way through absurd comic situations – including taking part in a ‘Celebrities & Prostitutes Blow Football’ tournament, and averting nuclear war – Toast of London also has had some terrific cameo appearances from the likes of Brian Blessed, Steve Pemberton, Morgana Robinson, John Nettles, Timothy West, and, erm…Lorraine Kelly.
So join us now as we look back at the first three seasons and pick out five of the show’s best (and sometimes most unexpected) celebrities to pop up with Toast…
Did you know musical theatre star Michael Ball has twice the amount of blood in his body as that of a normal man? Absolutely true. It’s what allows him to belt out those big notes on stage. But when he’s not performing in Theatre-land, he’s acting as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s own debt-collector and enforcer ‘because it gives him something to do in between shows and winning awards’.
So when Toast owes Lloyd Webber £20,000 in Season 1’s Bond-themed episode ‘Bonus Ball’, Ball is on his case with a determination that would put Jaws, Oddjob, and Mr Hinx to shame, and a voice that can hold an incredibly long note.
Davison’s cameoed on Toast a few times now, all for no purpose that is important to the plot, which bizarrely actually makes his presence all the more entertaining. The first time he’s seen is in a five second clip as Toast talks to him in the bar in Season 2.
In later episodes he just pops up as an exaggerated version of himself (well, I’m guessing exaggerated…), either to clean his ears at the breakfast table, or make wine with his incredibly Northern girlfriend.
While we’re talking people who’ve played The Doctor, keep an eye out in the background of Toast’s local boozer during Series 3 for someone dressed as another recognisable incarnation of The Doctor…
Alright, it’s not the real, late, great Bob Monkhouse, back from the grave as he was in that prostate cancer ad, but Simon Cartwright’s impersonation of the comic legend (and the make-up on him) is so scarily spot-on that it might as well be.
It also helps that some of Monkhouse’s best jokes are resurrected with him: ‘I still enjoy sex at 74 – I live at 76 so it’s no distance.’
In what’s surely the most unexpected Hollywood celeb cameo in a British comedy since Johnny Depp turned up in The Fast Show, Mad Men star John Hamm appears as himself in Season 3’s ‘Hamm on Toast’, where his tremendous charisma (or ‘charismaaaaaeeerrr’) is enough to make Toast fall madly in love with him.
What other show could persuade Jon Hamm to appear, only them to stick him in a Lovejoy mask? Or have him stand in a room while Brian Blessed bellows from a bed? No wonder he’s wearing a perpetual sense of bemusement that suggests he has no clue what’s going on around him.
The news report
There are comedies watched by a great many more people that don’t get guest stars half as good, or as plentifully as Toast of London does. And the show saves the best for last in its Season 3 finale, as a news report on Toast burning down the Globe Theatre wheels out celebrities including Jude Law, Sam Mendes, John Simm, Lindsay Duncan, Martin Freeman and Tim Pigott-Smith to commiserate the loss of the venue.
As if that’s not enough, it’s worth it all just to hear the way Sam Mendes uses the phrase ‘some colossal twat.’
Who is your favourite cameo in Toast of London? Let us know below…