Cummings soon to a TV near you: Spitting Image returns after 24 years with PM’s advisor and a sweaty Prince Andrew among the puppets
- Satirical series Spitting Image to return later this year after ending 24 years ago
- The new series of the puppet show will target figures including Boris Johnson
- It will air this autumn on BritBox and include Boris Johnson and his chief adviser
Boris Johnson, his chief adviser Dominic Cummings and the Duke of York star as the new Spitting Image puppets unveiled ahead of the show’s return after 24 years.
The satirical series will air later this year on BritBox after originally running for 18 series between 1984 and 1996.
The Prime Minister’s puppet draws attention to his shock of blonde hair, while Mr Cummings’ sees the former Vote Leave director in his trademark hoodie with a flamboyant silver collar.
Andrew sports a tartan coat complete with paisley neckerchief.
Donald Trump, Beyonce, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Vladimir Putin, Bernie Sanders, Elon Musk, RuPaul, Adele and James Corden will also get the satirical treatment.
Programme-makers previously said: ‘With the world getting smaller and more turbulent, the time couldn’t be more appropriate for an iconic British satirical take on global events.’
The new series of Spitting Image will include a puppet of Boris Johnson. His puppet draws attention to his shock of blonde hair
Mr Cummings’ puppet sees the former Vote Leave director in his trademark hoodie with a flamboyant silver collar
Also targeted is the Duke of York. Andrew sports a tartan coat complete with paisley neckerchief in his puppet likeness
The show is the first original commission announced by BritBox UK, the streaming service launched by the BBC and ITV.
Spitting Image co-creator Roger Law is back on board for the show, which was watched by 15 million viewers in its heyday.
At £300,000 an episode, Spitting Image was TV’s most expensive light-entertainment show.
The show famously featured Margaret Thatcher in a man’s suit treating her cabinet – ‘the vegetables’ – with contempt, John Major as a grey puppet and the Queen Mother slugging from a gin bottle.
Ronald Reagan was featured in bed with two red call buttons, one marked Nurse, the other Nuke.
The show is produced by Avalon, whose credits include The Russell Howard Hour, Taskmaster, Catastrophe and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.
Spitting Image will air on BritBox later this year.
The series will air this autumn on BritBox, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex among the targets (pictured are their puppets)
Programme-makers said: ‘With the world getting smaller and more turbulent, the time couldn’t be more appropriate for an iconic British satirical take on global events.’ Pictured: The Trumps
The show is the first original commission announced by BritBox UK, the streaming service launched by the BBC and ITV. Vladimir Putin will also be mocked
Law, who will be executive producing the new series, said: ‘Public service satire announcement.
‘I’ve refused to resuscitate Spitting Image for years but when my pension ran out and my palm was crossed with silver what could an old man do?
‘The new Spitting Image will be global through a uniquely British eye, it will be more outrageous, audacious and salacious than the previous incarnation.
‘With scandalous scripts and A-list characters, it will be the people’s programme!
‘When Dominic Cummings gets the boot, Spitting Image will give him a job.
‘We’ve always employed weirdos and are sure Dom will be a great asset, he seems to hate politicians as much as we do. We will take back control from the likes of BoJo, Trump, Harry and Meghan, Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian.
‘We will be dazzled and amazed by Jurgen Klopp and Beyonce, we will have regular weather updates from our roving reporter Greta Thunberg. The timing is right, the puppets are ready, the people have spoken. And the message for the doomsayers and gloomsters is, this autumn we will get BritBox done!’
The show will be produced by Avalon, whose credits include The Russell Howard Hour, Taskmaster, Catastrophe and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
A puppet of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, showing him looking gaunt in a hoodie
BritBox Originals creative chief and ITV’s director of TV Kevin Lygo said: ‘We are thrilled that BritBox can provide the opportunity for British creativity to truly run wild, and we are looking forward to enticing new subscribers with the new series and service.’
Development of the puppets is already under way.
As on previous series, some scripts will be written and new puppets made nearer to airtime.
The show will be produced by Avalon, whose credits include The Russell Howard Hour, Taskmaster, Catastrophe and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.
Spitting Image will air exclusively on Britbox from autumn, and a second series will follow next year.
The show may be available on Britbox in the US – where a monthly subscription costs $6.99 – or in Canada where the fee is $8.99. However, this hasn’t been confirmed.
‘What about the vegetables? They’ll have the same as me’: How no politician or public figure was sacred to the satirists of Spitting Image
In its 12 years on our screens, Spitting Image mocked politicians from Westminster and around world, the Royals, sport stars, musicians and TV presenters.
The show’s best moments and classic characters:
Its most famous puppet was perhaps that of Margaret Thatcher, who wore a man’s suit in the show and treated her Cabinet with contempt.
One of the shows most famous moments was when, with the then-Tory cabinet around the dinner table, a waitress asked: ‘What about the vegetables?’ The model of Mrs Thatcher replies: ‘Oh, they’ll have the same as me.’
Margaret Thatcher replying ‘they’ll have the same as me’ when a waitress asked her, ‘what about the vegetables?’ during a dinner with her cabinet
Thatcher’s successor, John Major, came in for equally merciless treatment, with his puppet painted grey to reflect his perceived dull personality.
In a further mocking of the Tory leader’s perceived lack of charisma, some of the most famous scenes to feature him showed him and his wife, Norma, eating peas. Major would occasionally say: ‘Nice peas, dear.’
One of the classic sketches of former Prime Minister John Major complimenting his wife on her peas
The Royal Family were not spared the Spitting Image treatment. The Queen was habitually portrayed with a headscarf and CND badge and the Queen Mother carried a copy of the Racing Post and spoke with a Birmingham accent.
One of the most famous sketches to feature the Royals appeared after Prince William was born, when the Queen broke a bottle of champagne over his head to ‘Christen him’.
The Royal Family was also lampooned in a sketch showing the Queen and Prince Philip sitting in their palace while they learn a recession has robbed them of all their wealth.
Philip at first says ‘recession, what recession?’ before hearing the bad news – that their properties will be repossessed and they will be forced to live in a council flat.
Prince Philip pictured reading The Sun bearing a headline reading ‘recession, recession’
Tony Blair was regularly pictured with a huge smile or in sketches mocking him as a megalomaniac.
In the final episode – from 1996 – he was seen in front of his cabinet after an election victory boasting that he was ‘the clever one’.
Tony Blair on Spitting Image when he was celebrating with his cabinet after winning the election
Labour politician Roy Hattersley was regularly mocked for his lisp, with skits showing him spraying other people in the room with spit.
He was regularly seen alongside his partner-in-crime Neil Kinnock, who was nicknamed The Welsh Windbag and shown talking for hours about anything except his policies.
Roy Hattersley and ‘Welsh Windbag’ Neil Kinnock in a classic Spitting Image sketch
International leaders also featured in the show.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s distinctive birthmark on his head was shaped into a hammer and sickle
Soviet leader Mikhal Gorbachev with a hammer and sickle birthmark on his head
A grotesque characterisation of Prince Andrew before he was married to Sarah Ferguson is said to have offended the Queen.
The Andrew puppet was not only a naked centrefold but was using two pounds of Cumberland sausage as a prop.
This characterisation of Prince Andrew before he married Sarah Ferguson offended the Queen
Trade and Industry Minister Norman Tebbit – Mrs Thatcher’s loyal sidekick and enforcer – was parodied as a leather-jacketed thug.
He later admitted the parody was useful for his political career, writing: ‘It was good for my political career. I always won, I was never beaten.’
Norman Tebbit was portrayed on the show as one of Margaret Thatcher’s goons
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