In 1984, The UK was introduced to Spitting Image; a show in which significant political figures were reconfigured as caricatured puppets and, in short, completely roasted. The show was highly regarded across all generations, and is fondly remembered as being a hilarious take on the state of the times. It has just been announced that Spitting Image is to come thundering back to our screen with a whole new wave of ghastly incarnations of today's political figures to throw at us, including Prince Andrew, Dominic Cummings, Trump and many more.
Maraget Thatcher on Spitting Image (1988)
Whilst the show did it very effectively, Spitting Image did more than simply poke fun at influential figures. The TV show was responsible for getting a whole generation connected with politics. By translating the mundane events of British politics into a humorous and accessible spectacle every week, Spitting Image, although in an albeit rather vicious manner, brought the world of politics into the lives of young people. In the 80 & 90s, the average British teenager was able to identify most of cabinet due to the show; something that maybe can't be said for today's generation. So perhaps the return of Spitting Image might inject both knowledge and enthusiasm into the younger generations, and to help familiarise and interrogate the political figures deciding their future.
However, it will certainly be interesting to see how far Spitting Image will be able to take things this time. Labour politician Roy Hattersley was known for spitting a bit when he talked, for example. So, of course, Spitting Image created a grotesque caricature that had buckets of saliva erupting from its mouth and showering other puppets around him to the extent that they have to put up umbrellas. Society has developed to a stage where attacks based on personal appearances and insecurities are generally frowned upon, and considering that this was the backbone of a lot of the sketches throughout Spitting Image, it begs the questions of how much can they get away with now? I guess we will see soon enough.
Spitting Image will be availible on BritBox this Autumn.