If you were of a certain age between 1984 and 1996, the satirical puppet show Spitting Image was bound to have graced your television screen at some point. In fact for many it was the highlight of an otherwise dull Sunday evening. With work or college looming the next day, what was better than a little near-the-knuckle humour at 10 p.m.?
At its peak, Spitting Image was watched by 15 million people. The very first episode featured Joan Collins in bed with John McEnroe, Margaret Thatcher impersonating the Queen and Bob Dylan protesting against cheese. Other magical moments during its 18-series run include a bunch of celebrities making a charity record because they are scared of Bob Geldof, George Bush taking part in Mastermind and any scene featuring Chris Eubank.
Whisperings of a Spitting Image return started last year, during the 30th anniversary celebrations of the show, but the original creators suggested that today’s leading politicians were simply too boring to be good fodder for satire. The voice of Margaret Thatcher on the show, Steve Nallon, said the reason politicians in the ’80s and ’90s were good subjects was that they were such controversial figures.
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The solution, then, seems to be to increase the quota of celebrity targets for the comeback. Those confirmed to be in for a bashing in the new show, alongside politicians like Boris Johnson and Vladimir Putin, include Beyoncé, Russell Brand, Andy Murray, Ant and Dec, Harry Styles and Simon Cowell.
The new six-part series, called Newzoids, promises a “biting look at the world of politics and celebrity” and includes impressions by Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson.
Newzoids will air on ITV in the spring. In the meantime, catch up with some of the original episodes of Spitting Image on YouTube.
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