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Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

An adaptation of Nigel Slater's bestselling memoir, Toast is the ultimate nostalgic trip through everything edible in 1960's Britain.

Nigel's mother was always a poor cook, but her chronic asthma and addiction to all things canned does not help. Nigel, on the other hand, laps up cookbooks, spending all his time gazing longingly at the delights on offer in Percy Salt's grocers. As his mother's illness worsens, so does Nigel's relationship with his father. The bolognaise he cooks is far too exotic; the uncooked Fray Bentos pie simply must be finished; and his father's rage as Nigel insists on picking every last bit of jelly off the tinned ham at the annual picnic hits an all-time high.

Just before Christmas, Nigel's mother dies, leaving Nigel and his father heartbroken. His father begins to spend his evenings at the Masonic lodge, until a new cleaner, Mrs Potter, arrives on the scene. Mrs Potter's figure, charms and lemon meringue pies quickly bewitch Nigel's father and, much to Nigel's horror, the three soon embark on a move to the country. The one silver lining in the cloud of a new school is domestic science class, through which Nigel can finally shine, and cooking soon becomes the key weapon in the battle for his dad's affections.

Ironically, the main casualty of these culinary skirmishes is Nigel's father, as his waistline grows and grows as Mrs Potter's cooking turns obsessive. When Nigel lands a job in the kitchen of his local pub, his eyes are opened to a world of opportunity, both culinarily and sexually. He soon becomes smitten with both the new owner's cooking and with her son.

When his father dies, Nigel's mind is set as he packs a bag for London and arrives at the door of The Savoy Hotel.

Last on

Mon 5 Nov 2012 22:00 BBC Four

Music Played

7 items
  • Toast – being Nigel

    Toast – being Nigel

    Freddie Highmore, who plays a young Nigel Slater, talks about working with Helena Bonham Carter again, and not being a very good cook.

    Read the interview
  • Toast – the making of Mrs Potter

    Toast – the making of Mrs Potter

    The Alice in Wonderland actress speaks about her decision to play Mrs Potter, and her 'textual' relationship with Nigel Slater.

    Read the interview
  • Photo: Let them eat cake

    Photo: Let them eat cake

    Nigel Slater has said he sought solace in food after his mother died when he was nine, and he then had a difficult relationship with both his father and step-mother.

  • Photo: Ken Stott

    Photo: Ken Stott

    The Scottish actor takes up the role of Nigel Slater's father. Stott, arguably, is most famous for playing tough-talking detectives in Rebus and Messiah.

    Find out more about the cast and characters
  • Photo: Behind the scenes

    Photo: Behind the scenes

    Go behind the scenes of the production
  • Nigel Slater talks about Toast

    Nigel Slater talks about Toast

    "Helena is full of surprises as anyone who has seen her in Fight Club or Enid knows and I was excited..."

    Read Nigel's post on the BBC TV blog


Mrs Potter
Helena Bonham Carter
Victoria Hamilton
Young Nigel Slater
Oscar Kennedy
Matthew McNulty
Percy Salt
Colin Prockter
Clare Higgins
Ben Aldridge
Selina Cadell
Rob Jarvis
Nigel Slater
Roger Walker
Mrs Adams
Marion Bailey
Milk Girl
Kia Pegg
Louise Mardenborough
Lee Hall


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