Spitting Image to return to TV after 24 years

·3-min read

Spitting Image is making a return to the small screen – with Dominic Cummings and Donald Trump among its new victims.

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.”

The series will air this autumn on BritBox, with Boris Johnson, his chief adviser Mr Cummings, US President Mr Trump, Beyonce, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York to be ridiculed in puppet form.

Spitting Image (Avalon/Mark Harrison/PA)
Spitting Image (Avalon/Mark Harrison/PA)

Vladimir Putin, Bernie Sanders, Elon Musk, RuPaul, Adele and James Corden will also get the satirical treatment.

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 ran for 18 series between 1984 and 1996 and 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.

A sketch for the Dominic Cummings puppet (Avalon/Spitting Image Workshop/PA)
A sketch for the Dominic Cummings puppet (Avalon/Spitting Image Workshop/PA)

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!

Donald Trump (Avalon/Mark Harrison/PA)
Donald Trump (Avalon/Mark Harrison/PA)

“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!”

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.