The previous 30-something years in showbusiness haven’t been sort to ageing actor Steven Toast (Matt Berry). His reveals have been picketed by protestors, he’s been pressured to flog laxatives and Congolese cigarettes, and the old-school London he is aware of is disappearing. So when an audition for a job in Hollywood is available in, he barely bats an eyelid. “All these British actors are obsessed with working in America,” he booms at his agent in his trademark RP. “If you’re in a s*** show, it doesn’t matter where you film it – you may as well be in your own bed.” But by the top of the episode, Toast is jetting throughout the pond to seem in a brand new Star Wars movie. The UK performing scene has failed him, however perhaps, someway, Hollywood can be completely different.
The collection opener of Toast of Tinseltown, Berry and Arthur Mathews’ new spin-off from their wacky sitcom Toast of London, sees the idiotic actor initially return to his outdated stomping floor of Soho members’ golf equipment and his agent’s workplace. Toast’s anger drawback has acquired worse – a lot in order that he’s been branded “an unreasonably angry piece of s***” in The Stage newspaper. It doesn’t assist that he’s nonetheless dropping out on roles to his long-time rival, the equally moustachioed “Ray bloody Purchase” (Harry Peacock). Learning that Ray beat him to yet one more half in a Hollywood movie, Toast lobs a telephone out of the window, karate chops a desk in half and repeatedly smashes his head in opposition to any desk he can discover.
After a seven-year break, the opening episode permits viewers to reacclimatise themselves with Toast’s world, whereas additionally highlighting just how issues have modified. Doon Mackichan’s beehived agent Jane Plough (pronounced “pluff” like Brian Clough), who over-enunciates and shows cigarettes on her desk like a bouquet, is nonetheless as ineffective as ever. And irrespective of how badly Toast behaves, his housemate Ed Howzer-Black (Robert Bathurst, a spotlight) nonetheless genuinely cares about him.
Episode one additionally reintroduces the viewer to the weird, Mighty Boosh-esque tone of the present. Much like Jamie Demetriou’s wonderful Stath Lets Flats, humour comes from weird pronunciation and absurd names – in episode one alone, we’re launched to characters referred to as Sue Pipkins, Neil Doubledecker and Des Wigwam.
But America brings exciting new opportunities. Larry David makes a surprise cameo in the opening minutes as a conspiracy theorist (a genuinely impressive get for the show, if slightly dampened due to it taking place over Zoom). Later, SNL legend Fred Armisen plays a man called Russ Nightlife.
From one episode alone, it’s laborious to inform whether or not Toast of Tinseltown will stay as much as the lofty heights of its predecessor. Certain issues have been barely misplaced within the transfer from Channel 4 to the BBC – we don’t get one of Berry’s dream-sequence songs within the opening episode – however the outdated faves are nonetheless there. Toast nonetheless responds with a baffled “who?” to names like Idris Elba and Sam Mendes, whereas audiences will remember to punch the air on the return of the phrases: “Steven, this is Clem Fandango, can you hear me?” from Shazad Latif’s recording studio hipster. It’s been some time, however sure, we are able to hear you, Clem Fandango.