|Toast (2010 film)|
|Directed by||S.J. Clarkson|
|Produced by||Nicole Finnan
|Written by||Lee Hall|
|Starring||Helena Bonham Carter
|Music by||Matt Biffa|
|Editing by||Liana Del Giudice|
Ruby Film and Television
|Distributed by||W2 Media|
11 August 2011 (theatrical)
Newcomer Oscar Kennedy, in his first acting role, portrays the young Nigel. Freddie Highmore plays a 15-year-old Slater, with Helena Bonham Carter as his stepmother and Ken Stott as his father. The first showing was on BBC One on 30 December 2010 and the film received a gala at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival.
The film was released in cinemas on 11 August 2011.
The Slaters of Wolverhampton are dealing with Nigel's (Oscar Kennedy) mother's (Victoria Hamilton) chronic debilitating asthma making his father Alan (Ken Stott) sick with worry and a cantankerous personality. Nigel longs in life for more than a succession of tinned goods served at dinner unless they boil dry and burned when the standard holdout toast is served. Mind you, toast is not his nemesis as the crispiness of the outside gives way to the buttery softness inside. His mother does very infrequently attempt more but nothing changes before her death. His father then cooks but in the same style of the mother and even that ends in frustration and disagreement. What Nigel comes away with is that he is not liked. Confiding in a friend, Nigel learns that the way in which he could attempt a better relationship with his father is to cook a meal for him.
That is not possible as without housekeeper, Alan brings in the married and "common" Mrs. Joan Potter (Helena Bonham Carter) who seduces Alan with her apple pie. The two start to spend time together in the evenings at one point exiting her council house through an upstairs window not to be caught by her husband.
Without announcement the Slaters make move to the Herefordshire countryside. It also includes bringing along the Mrs. Potter whose realm, eventually the chagrin of Alan, is gourmet cooking. Eventually, her lemon meringue pie makes an appearance and it becomes Nigel's quest to learn the secret recipe. Skip forward to his teen years, Nigel (Freddie Highmore) starts his interest in and gets some recognition cooking at school home economics classes.
Alan's cantankerous temper returns with the excessive eating he must do to keep the Mrs. Potter at bay with Nigel's emerging cooking interest especially as Alan and Joan are to be married. Nigel hopes as an outlet to his growing food interest to keep a Saturday job at a local pub but the new Mrs. Slater née Potter sees to it that the job has to be let go. It was not soon enough for him as before his departure he get an inkling of sexual attraction when the pub's owner's son at ballet school makes an appearance, encourages Nigel to take a chance at the world, share a kiss and then returns to school leaving Nigel on his own.
Nigel gets home, finds his father has died and then resolves to make off for London to get away from the Mrs. Potter. Mrs. Potter begs Nigel not to go, and asks only of him to say something.
Nigel ends his relationship with Mrs. Potter by saying she has won and he never wants her in his life ever again. And leaving her in total confusion he thanks her. He makes it to the The Savoy Hotel and is interviewed for a kitchen job by a toast snacking chef portrayed by the real Nigel Slater. He is accepted much to his disbelief but the chef says that Nigel will make it. Then, Nigel puts on his chef jacket, clearly reading Savoy London. The last shot is Nigel staring into something, with his chef jacket on, smiling.
- Helena Bonham Carter as Joan Potter
- Freddie Highmore as Older Nigel Slater
- Ken Stott as Dad
- Oscar Kennedy as Young Nigel Slater
- Frasier Huckle as Warrel
- Victoria Hamilton as Mum
- Matthew McNulty as Josh
- Clare Higgins as Mavis
- Ben Aldridge as Stuart
- Selina Cadell as Ruby
- Sarah Middleton as Beany
- Kia Pegg as Primary School Girl
- Corrinne Wicks as Secondary school teacher
- Nigel Slater as Chef
The film was mainly shot in Birmingham and Worcestershire with the Black Country Living Museum turned into 1960's Wolverhampton. The main sets were built in a disused bank on Broad St. The location filming of Penarth was the only very wet and cold day of the whole shoot and script changes occurred on the day to accommodate. Filming lasted from 21 June to 24 July 2010.
Slater's stepsisters Ann and June Perrens have criticised Toast, stating that their mother, Dorothy Perrens – renamed "Mrs. Potter" in the film – had been falsely portrayed as a seductive cleaner who frequently used foul language.("I really cannot believe that I pay my licence fee only to have them portray my dear mother as a tart"), and Slater's father, Tony – renamed "Alan" – was also represented in a negative light ("He was a lovely man, an absolute perfect gentleman. He was kind and caring, everyone said it"), although they admit that Tony was not particularly fond of his son. They also claim that while Perrens was indeed a good cook, she never actually served lemon meringue pie, and their stepfather had died of chest pain as a result of a strenuous game of tennis, as opposed to their mother's deliberate overfeeding as portrayed in Toast. Slater has refused to comment.
- BBC (12 June 2010). "Toast". BBC1. Archived from the original on 25 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- "'The King's Speech,' 'Toast,' 'Sacrifice' Get Galas in Berlin". Hollywood Reporter. Hollywood Reporter. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- "Toast at the Berlin Film Festival". Berlin Film Festival. Berlin Film Festival. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- "Toast (2010) - IMDb". Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- "Helena Bonham Carter to film new movie Toast in Birmingham and Black Country". Birmingham Post. 23 June 2010. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
- Nigel Slater's cooked up a load of cruel lies about our mother, say the food writer's stepsisters after watching BBC dramatisation of his childhood