Spitting Image
Promotional poster for the first series featuring from L-R Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Donald Trump, Kanye West and Vladimir Putin
Genre
Created byPeter Fluck
Roger Law
Martin Lambie-Nairn
Voices of
Music byWillie Dowling
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes20
Production
Executive producersJeff Westbrook
Richard Allen-Turner
Joanna Beresford
Roger Law
Jon Thoday
Nana Hughes (Britbox)
ProducerMatt Stronge
Running time30 minutes
Production companyAvalon Television[1]
Original release
NetworkBritBox
Release3 October 2020 (2020-10-03) –
2 December 2021 (2021-12-02)

Spitting Image is a British satirical television puppet show. It is a revival of the 1984 series of the same name created by Peter Fluck, Roger Law and Martin Lambie-Nairn. Similar to the original, the series features puppet caricatures of contemporary celebrities, such as Adele, James Corden, and Kanye West, as well as public figures, including former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, several Conservative cabinet members such as Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Priti Patel, and US former President Donald Trump.

ITV had plans for a reboot in 2006, but these were scrapped after a dispute over the Ant & Dec puppets used to host Best Ever Spitting Image, which were created against Law's wishes.[2] In September 2019, Law announced the show would be returning with a new series.[3] It was confirmed in March 2020 that the show would return on BritBox.[4] Featuring 100 new puppets, the series debuted on 3 October that year.[5] It was renewed for a second series four days later.[6] The second series premiered on 11 September 2021.[7] The show was cancelled by ITV on 24 October 2022.[8]

Staff

Voices

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Puppeteers

Directors

Writers

Caricaturists

Production

In April 2017, it was reported that US broadcaster HBO was set to revive the series in light of the presidency of Donald Trump. However, no immediate official confirmation or announcement was made.[23] In September 2019, the show was confirmed to be returning to screens twenty-three years after it originally ended, with the unveiling of the puppets of Trump, Vladimir Putin, Mark Zuckerberg, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.[24] Roger Law stated that the pilot for the new series had been filmed and that talks were in progress with US networks to take the show to a larger, global audience.[3] According to Law, the revival is set to have a global appeal through a "uniquely British eye".[4] Originally NBC was set to distribute the series stateside, however they backed out weeks before its initial broadcast. Executive producer Jon Thoday cited their "nervousness" with the series' content as the reason for their departure.[25]

The writers for the revival include Jeff Westbrook, Al Murray, The Windsors creators Bert Tyler-Moore and George Jeffrie, Bill Odenkirk, David X. Cohen, Jason Hazeley, Keisha Zollar, Patric Verrone, Phil Wang, and Sophie Duker.[26]

On 4 March 2020, the show was announced to be returning on the streaming service BritBox, as its first official commission.[4] The show premiered on the service on 3 October 2020, featuring the voice talents of Billy West, Debra Stephenson, Debra Wilson, Guz Khan, Indira Varma, Jess Robinson, John DiMaggio, Lewis MacLeod, Lobo Chan, Matt Forde, and Phil LaMarr.

In an interview from July 2021, Law said that the second series would go massively over-budget like Boris Johnson's policies with full support from BritBox. He also said that the series would not be adding many new political figures, instead adding several footballers.[27]

Following the death of Elizabeth II in September 2022, ITV made the decision to write off £9 million which had been spent on several remaining unaired episodes of Spitting Image; they could not be effectively edited to remove reference to Elizabeth, and it was felt highly unlikely that they would now ever be broadcast.[28]

In October 2022, it was announced that the revived series had been cancelled.[29]

Episodes

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1103 October 2020 (2020-10-03)28 November 2020 (2020-11-28)
21011 September 2021 (2021-09-11)2 December 2021 (2021-12-02)

Season 1 (2020)

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Episode 1"Andy De Emmony, Steve ConnellyGemma Arrowsmith, David X. Cohen, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, George Jeffrie, F. Maxwell, Karl Minns, Tom Neenan, Bill Odenkirk, Nico Tatarowicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Phil Wang, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar3 October 2020 (2020-10-03)
22"Episode 2"Andy De Emmony, Steve ConnellyDavid X. Cohen, Sophie Duker, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, George Jeffrie, F. Maxwell, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Bill Odenkirk, Nico Tatarowicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar10 October 2020 (2020-10-10)
33"Episode 3"Andy De Emmony, Steve ConnellyDavid X. Cohen, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Noah James, George Jeffrie, F. Maxwell, Jordan Maxwell, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Bill Odenkirk, Nico Tatarowicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Phil Wang, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar17 October 2020 (2020-10-17)
44"Episode 4"Andy De Emmony, Steve ConnellyGemma Arrowsmith, David X. Cohen, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Laura Major, F. Maxwell, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Bill Odenkirk, Brona C. Titley, Nico Tatarowicz, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar24 October 2020 (2020-10-24)
55"US Election Special (Part 1)"Andy De Emmony, Steve ConnellyDavid X. Cohen, Sophie Duker, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, George Jeffrie, F. Maxwell, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Bill Odenkirk, Brona C. Titley, Nico Tatarowicz, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar31 October 2020 (2020-10-31)[a]
66"US Election Special (Part 2)"Andy De Emmony, Steve ConnellyDavid X. Cohen, George Jeffrie, F. Maxwell, Karl Minns, Bill Odenkirk, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar31 October 2020 (2020-10-31)
77"Episode 7"Steve Connelly, Andy De EmmonyDavid X. Cohen, Sophie Duker, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, George Jeffrie, F. Maxwell, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Pierre Novellie, Bill Odenkirk, Brona C. Titley, Nico Tatarowicz, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar7 November 2020 (2020-11-07)
88"Episode 8"Steve Connelly, Andy De EmmonyGemma Arrowsmith, David X. Cohen, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, George Jeffrie, F. Maxwell, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Tom Neenan, Bill Odenkirk, Brona C. Titley, Nico Tatarowicz, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar14 November 2020 (2020-11-14)
99"Episode 9"Steve Connelly, Andy De EmmonyDavid X. Cohen, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Travis Jay, George Jeffrie, Laura Major, F. Maxwell, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Bill Odenkirk, Brona C. Titley, Nico Tatarowicz, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar21 November 2020 (2020-11-21)
1010"Episode 10"Steve Connelly, Andy De EmmonyDavid X. Cohen, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, George Jeffrie, Laura Major, F. Maxwell, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Bill Odenkirk, Brona C. Titley, Nico Tatarowicz, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar28 November 2020 (2020-11-28)

Season 2 (2021)

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
111"Episode 1"Steve Bendelack, Adam MillerMatt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Sarah Isaacson, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Sarah Morgan, Megan Neuringer, Bill Odenkirk, Matt Stronge, Nico Tatarowicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook11 September 2021 (2021-09-11)
122"Episode 2"Adam Miller, Steve Bendelack, David SantCatherine Brinkworth, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Rich Fulcher, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Bill Odenkirk, Elizabeth V. Suggs, Nico Tatarwicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook18 September 2021 (2021-09-18)
133"Episode 3"Steve Bendelack, Adam MillerCatherine Brinkworth, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Sarah Isaacson, George Jeffrie, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Megan Neuringer, Bill Odenkirk, Nico Tartowicz, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar25 September 2021 (2021-09-25)
144"Episode 4"Adam Miller, Steve Bendelack, David SantCatherine Brinkworth, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Sarah Isaacson, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Sarah Morgan, Megan Neuringer, Bill Odenkirk, Elizabeth V. Suggs, Matt Stronge, Nico Tatarowicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar2 October 2021 (2021-10-02)
155"Episode 5"Steve Bendelack, Adam MillerCatherine Brinkworth, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Sarah Isaacson, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Megan Neuringer, Bill Odenkirk, Nico Tatarowicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar9 October 2021 (2021-10-09)
166"Episode 6"Adam Miller, Steve Bendelack, David SantCatherine Brinkworth, Matt Forde, Rich Fulcher, Jason Hazeley, Sarah Isaacson, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Sarah Morgan, Megan Neuringer, Bill Odenkirk, Nico Tatarowicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar16 October 2021 (2021-10-16)
177"Episode 7"Steve Bendelack, Adam Miller, David SantCatherine Brinkworth, Matt Forde, Rich Fulcher, Jason Hazeley, Sarah Isaacson, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Sarah Morgan, Tom Neenan, Megan Neuringer, Bill Odenkirk, Nico Tatarowicz, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook22 October 2021 (2021-10-22)
188"Halloween Special"Adam Miller, Steve Bendelack, David SantCatherine Brinkworth, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Sarah Isaacson, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Sarah Morgan, Megan Neuringer, Bill Odenkirk, Nico Tatarowicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert Tyler-Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar30 October 2021 (2021-10-30)[b]
199"Episode 9"Steve Bendelack, Adam MillerCatherine Brinkworth, Matt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Sarah Isaacson, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Tom Neenan, Megan Neuringer, Bill Odenkirk, Matt Stronge, Nico Tatarowicz, Bert-Tyler Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook, Keisha Zollar6 November 2021 (2021-11-06)
2010"Spitting Image: Christmas Special 2021"Steve Bendelack, Adam MillerMatt Forde, Jason Hazeley, Laura Major, Karl Minns, Al Murray, Sarah Morgan, Nico Tatarowicz, Brona C. Titley, Bert-Tyler Moore, Patric M. Verrone, Jeff Westbrook2 December 2021 (2021-12-02)[c]

Reception

The series received mixed reviews from critics. The decision to satirise Greta Thunberg garnered criticism as she was a minor at the time.[32]

Mark Lawson of The Guardian wrote approvingly in his four-out-of-five star review that "[a]dmirers of the franchise will be relieved that the revival ... has lost none of its savagery or willingness to shock."[33] Also writing for The Guardian, columnist Nesrine Malik described the new series as a "toothless performance" and the jokes "excruciatingly obvious".[34]

In his three-out-of-five star review, Ralph Jones of NME lauded the series' ability to satirise timely events, "its topicality is admirable: there are several sketches here about events that occurred as little as 12 hours before the recording. This is impressive on the radio but when puppets are involved, it’s almost breathtaking."[35]

The Economist was more mixed in their analysis, calling it "pretty tame" in light of the current political atmosphere and when compared to its 1984 predecessor, writing how "[i]n an era of cynicism and conspiracy theories, the radical act would be to make a show that celebrated public life."[36] Ed Power of The Telegraph was negative in his one-out-of-five star review pertaining to the two-part US election special, calling it "toothless" in its satire.[37]

German version

On 16 September 2021, a German version of Spitting Image called "The Krauts' Edition", began to air on the TV channel Sky. The German version has new puppets, including Sebastian Kurz, Jan Böhmermann, Annalena Baerbock, Karl Lauterbach, Markus Lanz, Heidi Klum, Thomas Müller, Olaf Scholz, Barbara Schöneberger, Armin Laschet, and Adolf Hitler. Puppets used in the British version such as Angela Merkel, Jurgen Klopp, and COVID-19, also appear in this version.[38][39]

Stage show

A stage show titled Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves The World opened at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 1 February 2023 and ran until 12 March. It was written by Al Murray, Matt Forde, and Sean Foley, and directed by Foley.[40] New puppets made for the show included Suella Braverman, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Paddington Bear, and Nigel Farage.[41] On 23 March 2023, it was announced that the musical would be open at the Phoenix Theatre, at London's West End, from 24 May 2023.[42]

References

  1. ^ "Spitting Image Lands On Britbox UK From 3rd October". Avalon. 11 September 2020. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Ant and Dec stunt ends 'Spitting Image' return". Digital Spy. 17 November 2006. Archived from the original on 12 September 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Spitting Image show plots return to TV after 23 years". BBC News. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Spitting Image to return on BritBox, 24 years after the TV show ended". BBC News. 4 March 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  5. ^ Cremona, Patrick (11 September 2020). "Spitting Image revival to debut on BritBox next month with 100 new puppets including Boris Johnson and Donald Trump". Radio Times. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  6. ^ Katner, Jake (7 October 2020). "'Spitting Image' Renewed For Second Season By BritBox". Deadline. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Spitting Image Returns: Series 2 | Spitting Image". YouTube. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  8. ^ Sherwin, Adam (24 October 2022). "Spitting Image has been cancelled by ITV, despite national need for political satire, says star". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hilton, Kevin (14 January 2021). "This is how The Farm put together the audio for Spitting Image". RedShark. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Meet Spitting Image's new first lady : Jess Robinson is the puppet show's voice of celebrities from Gwyneth to Greta". Thejc.com. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  11. ^ "Spitting Image". Jessrobinson.co.uk. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  12. ^ Jess Robinson September 9 "Seriously, #SpittingImage is such a dream job and I have even more characters in the new series including some more of my heroes Phoebe Waller Bridge, Olivia Colman and Jess Philips."
  13. ^ Mistlin, Alex (9 August 2021). "'They wanted my meerkat to sound like a Russian Alan Sugar' – meet TV's secret superstars". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  14. ^ "Vladimir Putin". Behindthevoiceactors.com. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  15. ^ a b "The voice of Johnson and Trump on Spitting Image". BBC News. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  16. ^ Roper, Kerri-Ann (30 October 2020). "Spitting Image star: Trump is intellectually insecure". Sunday World. PA Entertainment. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  17. ^ Gamster-Newton, Becky (8 September 2021). "7 Questions with… Matt Forde: 'To be asked to impersonate the President of the United States – you never think it's going to be you!'". BT Group. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  18. ^ "The Huge Reveal of Piers' Spitting Image Puppet! Will He Be Outraged?". Good Morning Britain. 30 September 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  19. ^ "Spitting Image - News - Daniel Barker - Voice Over Artist". 9 April 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Spotlight". Spotlight.com. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Spotlight". Spotlight.com. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  22. ^ "George Jeffrie". United Agents. 24 September 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  23. ^ "HBO to make Spitting Image series". British Comedy Guide. 22 April 2017. Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  24. ^ Addley, Esther (27 September 2019). "Look who's back: Spitting Image returns for our chaotic times". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  25. ^ Kanter, Jake (7 October 2020). "'Spitting Image' Producer Says NBC Backed Out Of Series Because Of "Too Much Nervousness"". Deadline. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  26. ^ "Spitting Image lands on BritBox UK from 3rd October 2020". ITV Press Centre. 11 September 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  27. ^ Beasley, Tom (23 July 2021). "'Spitting Image': Marcus Rashford and Gareth Southgate become puppets after Euro 2020 success". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  28. ^ "ITV plc Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2022" (PDF). itvplc.com. p. 196. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  29. ^ Sherwin, Adam (24 October 2022). "Spitting Image has been cancelled by ITV despite national need for political satire, says star Matt Forde". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  30. ^ Webb, Beth (15 October 2021). "'Spitting Image' returns to live TV with Halloween special". NME. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  31. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (20 December 2021). "Satire 'Spitting Image' to Make West End Debut, Lampooning U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson". Variety. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  32. ^ Chilton, Louis (23 September 2020). "Spitting Image: 'Gross and explicit' trailer for BritBox comedy series released following Greta Thunberg criticism". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  33. ^ Lawson, Mark (2 October 2020). "Spitting Image review – welcome return for comedy that revels in giving offence". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  34. ^ Malik, Nesrine (11 October 2020). "The return of Spitting Image shows how toothless British satire has become". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  35. ^ Jones, Ralph (3 October 2020). "'Spitting Image' review: satirical puppet show aims to shock". NME. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  36. ^ "The new "Spitting Image" will please the puppeteered more than the public". The Economist. 16 October 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  37. ^ Power, Ed (31 October 2020). "Spitting Image, US Election Special, review: this toothless satire fails to land a single blow". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  38. ^ Temel, Peter (1 September 2021). "German TV version of "Spitting Image" with guest from Austria". Kurier. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  39. ^ "Spitting Image Krauts (German Edition) - Trailer Teaser". YouTube. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  40. ^ Bennett, Steve. "Spitting Image Live premiere announced : News 2022 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". www.chortle.co.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  41. ^ Dillon, Luke (12 January 2023). "Spitting Image Live release first look photos of new puppets". WestEndTheatre. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
  42. ^ "Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image the Musical". YouTube. Retrieved 23 March 2023.

Notes

  1. ^ Debuted on Britbox, also broadcast on ITV the same day at 10pm.
  2. ^ Premiered on BritBox and ITV at the same time at 9:30pm [30]
  3. ^ Premiered on December 24th on ITV[31]