Author Topic: Spitting Image to return?  (Read 10535 times)

weirdbeard

  • Tonight, Mr. Kite is watching The Bill
Spitting Image to return?
« on: May 17, 2004, 01:38:10 PM »
Quote
Media Guardian

Spitting Image, the satirical puppet show that mercilessly lampooned 80s and 90s politicians such as Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock and celebrities ranging from John Gielgud to Madonna, is set for a return to British TV.
One of the original producers, John Lloyd, has held talks with ITV executives about bringing the long-running show, which was broadcast between 1984 and 1996, back to the channel after nearly a decade.

Mr Lloyd, who produced the first five series of Spitting Image, has been working with co-creator Roger Law and Richard Bennett - who used to handle the financial side of the programme - on plans to revive the show.

He said he has also spoken to a number of the comedians who provided voices for Spitting Image puppets, including John Sessions, Harry Enfield and Rory Bremner, about becoming involved again - and all had responded positively.

Mr Lloyd is about to send the ITV controller of entertainment, Claudia Rosencrantz, a document detailing the proposed budget for the show and believes it could be back on air by the autumn next year.

"There's enormous enthusiasm from ITV to do it. We're just trying to work out how it would be affordable. The budget is about to go off to ITV," he said.

"Everybody seems to have residual affection for Spitting Image. It could be scrappy and uneven, but it's rather like a newspaper. You don't expect it to be brilliant every time, but there's something delicious in every edition," Mr Lloyd said.

An ITV spokeswoman confirmed Mr Lloyd had met with Ms Rosencrantz and the director of programmes, Nigel Pickard, about bringing back the show.

In the 80s Spitting Image's biting satire provided a running commentary on the Thatcher years, taking in the miners' strike and the poll tax, and attracted audiences of up to 15 million.

Ronald Reagan was regularly shown in bed with wife Nancy searching forlornly for his missing brain, while rightwing MP Lord Tebbitt appeared in full biker leathers and Kenneth Baker was morphed into an oleaginous snail.

TV regulators found themselves at the centre of a high court battle in 1985 when Guinness Book of Records founder Norris McWhirter claimed the programme had broken the law when it flashed up a picture of his face on a naked torso.

The show's lack of deference for British institutions such as the royal family provoked outraged newspaper headlines, there were accusations of blasphemy, sacrilege and libel writs, and a No 1 hit single, The Chicken Song.

However, by the mid-90s, as the death throes of John Major's government dragged on, the show seemed to have lost its relevance and cutting edge. Audiences dwindled to around 6 million viewers by the last series in 1996.

But Mr Lloyd believes the current political climate means the show could return to its old creative heights.

"The way things are happening at the moment is much more interesting and dangerous. It's not that Spitting Image has any better answers to all these terrible things that are going on in the world. But it's a thoughtful and amusing way of looking at stuff," he said.

"It would be there to make people laugh, make them feel better. You've got Michael Howard running the Tories. And Geoff Hoon - oh, what joy," Mr Lloyd said.

Spitting Image was always an expensive show to make, requiring the production of hundreds of puppets.

Mr Lloyd admitted a seven-figure investment would be necessary to get it off the ground again and he is talking to RTL subsidiaries Talkback Thames and Fremantle Media about funding and producing the show, as well as ITV.

"All we've got left are a bunch of moulds. The puppets have all got to be redone, which would be a considerable up front expense," he said.

"Back in 1984 when Spitting Image started nothing much was expected of it. But the expectation now would be very high. It would have to come on air and look like it used to straight away."

If ITV commissions the show again, Mr Lloyd said he would probably take an executive producer or editor in chief role, while Mr Law - who co-created the Spitting Image concept with Peter Fluck and Martin Lambie-Nairn - had given the project his blessing and would act as a consultant.

Spitting Image ushered an extraordinary array of performing, writing and production talent through its doors during its 11 years on air, and Mr Lloyd said he hoped to bring some of them back for the revival.

As well as Sessions, Enfield and Bremner, voices for the show were provided by comedians including Chris Barrie, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dennis, Alistair McGowan and Jan Ravens.

The original writing team included Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, who went on to create Red Dwarf. Others who worked on Spitting Image scripts over the years included Love Actually writer and director Richard Curtis and Drop the Dead Donkey co-creator Guy Jenkin.

"People like Harry [Enfield] and John [Sessions] have all moved on, but to my considerable surprise when I asked if they would be interested in doing voices again, they all said 'love to, what fun'," Mr Lloyd said.


Personally, I'm not sure if there's room for another impersanations show, even if it is relatively unique like Spitting Image.  At the moment we've got Alistair McGowan on BBC1, Dead Ringers and John Culshaw on BBC2, 2DTV on ITV, and Bremner, Bird and Forture are still doing the thing on Channel 4 aren't they?  I just hope it doesn't run the same jokes as the rest (e.g stupid George Bush, thick David Beckham etc.)

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2004, 01:55:47 PM »
"People like Harry [Enfield] and John [Sessions] have all moved on, but to my considerable surprise when I asked if they would be interested in doing voices again, they all said 'love to, what fun'," Mr Lloyd said.

             "Anyone for comedy  ?" cried Johnny bounding through the french windows.

              "What-O !" replied Hazzers and Johnny S.

              "Super, now all we need is another 80's millionaire has-been who's 'moved on'  because they're not funny anymore, to make up a four."

Ambient Sheep

  • I can't even get my Xmas lights to work any more
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2004, 02:09:24 PM »
Good news if true, it's sorely needed right now.

But:
Quote
Mr Lloyd admitted a seven-figure investment would be necessary to get it off the ground again and he is talking to RTL subsidiaries Talkback Thames and Fremantle Media about funding and producing the show, as well as ITV.

"All we've got left are a bunch of moulds. The puppets have all got to be redone, which would be a considerable up front expense," he said.

Didn't they only recently sell off the original puppets?  Short-sighted gits.

Mind you, I suppose many of them would be irrelevant or need aging anyway.

weirdbeard

  • Tonight, Mr. Kite is watching The Bill
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2004, 03:35:00 PM »
Just to move off-topic slightly, The Chicken Song is on TOTP2 tonight on BBC2 at 7pm.

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2004, 03:36:03 PM »
Quote from: "weirdbeard"
Just to move off-topic slightly, The Chicken Song is on TOTP2 tonight on BBC2 at 7pm.


Hooray!

That'd be newsworthy if I was anywhere near to having a finished site to put it on.

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2004, 07:56:25 PM »
Here it is if you want it spod-u-like

Spitting Image - The Chicken Song (TOTP) xvid 19mb

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2004, 08:07:51 PM »
If it were Channel 4, as ITV can't seem to produce a comedy show thesedays for shit, and had the same calibre of writing as it did in the '80s, then it would be great. A part of me hopes it does come back, but it has to be better than satire-for-the-masses Dead Ringers and 2DTV[/i]

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2004, 08:40:01 PM »

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2004, 08:56:33 PM »
Quote from: "Hoogstraten'sSmilingUlcer"
If it were Channel 4, as ITV can't seem to produce a comedy show thesedays for shit, and had the same calibre of writing as it did in the '80s, then it would be great. A part of me hopes it does come back, but it has to be better than satire-for-the-masses Dead Ringers and 2DTV


Ho - I remember when the comeback was first rumoured a few months back, Dead Ringers writer Nev Fountain announced that he hoped he'd get writing work on it if it happens (but why should it - because, after all, 2D-TV is exactly the same, and a lot cheaper to make).

But John Lloyd apparently can't stand Dead Ringers and all the pointless, whimsy-led, say-nothing-about-anything claptrap it's spawned.

Interesting that the BBC PR currently enjoys selling the notion that Dead Ringers "dares to say the unsayable" (even though they so obviously don't).

I'm really excited about this now. With the right team behind it the return of Spitting Image could put all of the above awfulness to shame.

The comedy revolution may well be on its way...

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2004, 09:24:17 PM »
I'm curious now. The Time Team sketch that's just been on Dead Ringers has used exactly the same jokes that me and Matt used in a throwaway context on our last Super Mario Kingdom letters page.

Look - http://www.thehusks.com/warpzone/SuperMarioKingdom/Letters/Home.htm#Letters

Only we didn't have a crap Tony Robinson impression.

Godzilla Bankrolls

  • What's your 3rd least favourite Robin Ince joke?
    • Smarter Than The Average
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2004, 09:34:28 PM »
When Fountain said he'd like to write for a new series of SI - was that when he mocked Darrell for liking Dr Who and being called 'Darrell'?

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2004, 09:38:44 PM »
Quote from: "Beloved Aunt"
When Fountain said he'd like to write for a new series of SI - was that when he mocked Darrell for liking Dr Who and being called 'Darrell'?


Yep.

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2004, 11:16:49 PM »
At it's peak it was brilliant satire, and god knows we could do with some hard-hitting stuff nowadays.  I always felt that it was a real influence on public opinion of politicians eg the fall of Thatcher (Go Now) and the dull Major (Nice Peas, Norma)

Hope it happens

Elliot

  • Tokyo is full of Chu-Hi
    • My Tattoo Artist, Tokyo
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2004, 04:38:29 AM »
Wheres the purple hat and the blue moustache Ed?

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2004, 08:19:12 AM »
Quote from: "alan strang"
But John Lloyd apparently can't stand Dead Ringers and all the pointless, whimsy-led, say-nothing-about-anything claptrap it's spawned.

Does this mean that John Culshaw wouldn't be involved? Shame - there must be tonnes of mileage left in his Tom Baker voice.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2004, 10:28:58 AM »
Selling off the heads of the old Spitting Image doesn't really matter. I wouldn't have thought they'd have been in great condition after eight years and you would have needed to redo virtually every one anyway as so much time as passed.

What matters is the writing, of course. 2DTV is Spitting Image in computer animated form, and while it has never been great the last series was dire.

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2004, 12:39:07 PM »
Quote from: "Alberon"
What matters is the writing, of course. 2DTV is Spitting Image in computer animated form, and while it has never been great the last series was dire.


What matters first and foremost is the attitude of the production team. With Lloyd at the helm the quality of writing should be dictated nicely.

The writers on Dead Ringers and 2DTV will happily boast that they're actually 'Spitting Image' in a new guise (even the name 'Dead Ringers' flippantly suggests a connection). But they haven't a clue what the original series stood for.

Spitting Image in its heyday offended the sort of people who went around indignantly bleating "Why do they to criticise everything? They obviously have a lot of talent - why waste it on this reactionary rubbish? Why not create something nice and silly which everyone can enjoy?" The TV Times letters pages were full of such creepy dismissives at the time.

I'm looking forward to more of the same. I really hope Lloyd can pull it off.

TJ

  • Cook'd & Bomb'd - A Richard Herring Forum
    • Tim Worthington's Newsround
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2004, 02:54:24 PM »
This is very good news indeed. I still laugh when I think of old Spitting Image sketches (and that's not the memory playing tricks and 'only remembering the good bits' - there were definitely lean years, but for most of its lifespan it hit the mark pretty much consistently), and I doubt that people will be doing the same of Dead Ringers or 2DTV in twenty years time. They just dance around the edges of 'satire', whereas Spitting Image got straight to the point but *still* managed to be incredibly silly at the same time.

"So that's one ticket to Mrs. Thatcher Is Crap..."

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2004, 06:30:41 PM »
Dead Ringers and 2DTV, and other shows like Bo Selecta! and Monkey Dust, have this delusion that they're being oooh dark, edgy and bitingly satirical and cruel, when actually they're just conforming to the standard, accepted views of what represents satire and black comedy these days. Most modern satire has become like a lovable labrador, which occasionally tears up a cushion,  and which everyone is quite fond of and would miss if it went away.  It's kind of: 'You've been naughty, but we love you anyway.'

 Perhaps I'm mistaken, but the number of complaints (if any) for Dead Ringers etc. isn't even in the same galaxy as those of Spitting Image. I don't think they should just be about number of complaints, but it's a good ruler against which to measure how (maybe only superificially) effective satire is. 'How funny' is also pretty useful too....

Spitting Image, up until about 1992, was fantastically cruel and fuck you, especially by today's standards. I recently saw a Diana sketch which said, in almost the bluntest terms, that she's as thick as pig shit. Granted she was alive then, although that's not necessarily a barrier, but the only thing resembling that level of satiric vitriol are the cartoons of Steve Bell.

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2004, 10:52:57 PM »
Hopefully they can recapture the heyday of the late 80s with Thatcher and Regean, the Pope et al, which was laugh out loud funny even when I was eight. I hope they keep it with a slant to the political as well, towards its end it seemed to have more and more parodies of Easterners etc and other lame celebrity stuff, with the presumed intent to draw in viewers, but having the actual effect of alienating thier most devoted fans.

If they bring it back and its full of fucking posh and becks "aren't they stoopid!"  gags like every other satirical show I'll throw the telly out the window. What we want is cynicism, spite and loathing by the truckload.

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2004, 11:00:00 PM »
Yeah, what he said. Can anyone remember the parody of the smell of reeves and mortimer from the last series? Jesus, it was fucking painfull. It was a shame it went out with a fizzle rather than a bang, it would be great to have it back and as good as it ever was.

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2004, 11:01:13 PM »
The heyday began as soon as Grant Naylor joined, it was amazing from there to the early nineties.

Jemble Fred

  • ... And I ain't ashamed.
    • 100% BALLS
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2004, 09:25:25 AM »
Quote from: "Rats"
Yeah, what he said. Can anyone remember the parody of the smell of reeves and mortimer from the last series? Jesus, it was fucking painfull. It was a shame it went out with a fizzle rather than a bang, it would be great to have it back and as good as it ever was.


You mean the Royal 'Smell Of'? I liked that, but I was the biggest 15 year old R&M fan in the world atthe time.

Jemble Fred

  • ... And I ain't ashamed.
    • 100% BALLS
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2004, 10:33:06 AM »
Yahoo, pardners:


Quote
Becks Swaps Real For New Manager

        David Beckham will be playing for a new boss this summer - in a TV spoof for BBC's Sport Relief.Becks
        has teamed up with Fast Show star Paul Whitehouse, who plays comedy character Ron Manager.The
        character is famous for his "jumpers for goalposts" catchphrase and Whitehouse apparently had the
        England soccer captain in stitches.

        The film will be aired on July 10 as part of the Sport Relief telethon.

        A source has told the Daily Star: "It is going to be one of the highlights of Sport Relief and is really, really
        funny."

        But the paper says that despite his charity work Becks is likely to be in the firing line as one of the main
        puppets in a possible new series of Spitting Image.

        The satirical show, which features latex puppets of celebrities and politicians, is set to make a
        comeback nearly a decade after it was axed, according to insiders.

        And, naturally, another top target is likely to be Beckham's wife, Victoria.

quadraspazzed

  • Off to the left
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2004, 01:03:23 PM »
nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2004, 01:10:52 PM »
The Daily Star has assumed that Spitting Image might take the piss out of David and Victoria Beckham.

Since when did that constitute an actual announcement? Hardly worth a "noooo".

If Spitting Image do take the piss out of them I trust that it'll be particularly and exceptionally nasty, and use a slant that no-one's done before. It's nothing to get worked up about.

Emergency Lalla Ward Ten

  • Rose-tinted glasses? No, they're x-ray specs
    • http://www.myspace.com/irkthepurists
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2004, 02:47:25 PM »
I was thinking, how could you approach Posh and Becks in an original/angry/non-Nev Fountain way? We're in a strange time nowadays as far as celebrities are concerned - most people will admit that the public image of said couple is carefully contrived and stage managed, and that the stories about Beckham having affairs were probably deliberately placed in the media at the request of his advisors to get him in the papers etc, but people will still happily play along: 'I know it's all bollocks, but...ha ha, he's a bit thick everyone!'. They didn't do this so much in the 80s - if someone was a cunt, they were a cunt. It was much more straightforward.

So really Spitting Image should be attacking the public stupidity which allows the Posh and Becks franchise to continue. And to do that, they'd have to cast Beckham as super intelligent or something. Would that work? Would the viewing public accept it?

Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2004, 03:39:21 PM »
Well, you'd have a highly intelligent Beckham speaking in a plummy voice arranging various tabloid stories (dismissing various wild suggestions as not extreme enough or something), quickly putting on his thick act whenever a member of the press appears, then reverting to the intelligent version to plot more ridiculous tabloid stories.

And if you want your trademark puppet visual gag, you can have Victoria in his kit bag being clomped over the head and pushed back in every time her head pokes out and tries to say something. I dunno, something like that.

That's how I'd probably do that idea anyway.

TJ

  • Cook'd & Bomb'd - A Richard Herring Forum
    • Tim Worthington's Newsround
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2004, 03:41:05 PM »
Quote from: "Darrell"
Well, you'd have a highly intelligent Beckham speaking in a plummy voice arranging various tabloid stories (dismissing various wild suggestions as not extreme enough or something), quickly putting on his thick act whenever a member of the press appears, then reverting to the intelligent version to plot more ridiculous tabloid stories.

And if you want your trademark puppet visual gag, you can have Victoria in his kit bag being clomped over the head and pushed back in every time her head pokes out and tries to say something. I dunno, something like that.

That's how I'd probably do that idea anyway.


By George, I think he's got it.

Jemble Fred

  • ... And I ain't ashamed.
    • 100% BALLS
Spitting Image to return?
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2004, 04:09:46 PM »
They've missed a lot of great stuff in the last decade, though. I remember missing Spitting Image especially at the height of the Spice Girls' reign.