Spitting Image to return on BritBox, 24 years after the TV show ended

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image copyrightBritBox/Spitting Image
image captionMeghan and Harry are among the new puppets

Spitting Image is to return to screens on streaming service BritBox UK this autumn, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York among those set to be mocked in puppet form.

The satirical TV show, made famous in the mid-1980s, will also target Donald Trump, Beyonce and Boris Johnson.

It's the first original commission from the BBC and ITV's streaming service.

Co-creator Roger Law is on board as executive producer, and said he had declined to revisit the show until now.

"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?" he joked.

"The new Spitting Image will be global through a uniquely British eye, it will be more outrageous, audacious and salacious than the previous incarnation."

image copyrightBritBox/Spitting Image
image captionDonald Trump will get the Spitting Image treatment

The programme originally ran from 1984 to 1996 and featured Margaret Thatcher in a suit, the Queen Mother drinking gin and Ronald Reagan in bed with two red call buttons, marked Nurse and Nuke.

The show was watched by 15 million viewers at its peak and was nominated for a host of Bafta and Emmy awards.

Around the broadcast of the Spitting Image at 30 half-hour special in 2014, Newsnight described the influential show as "a hybrid of Cambridge footlights, English caricature and Punch and Judy".

The series was set to return to ITV in 2016, but failed to materialise after a dispute over the Ant and Dec puppets used to host Best Ever Spitting Image.

image copyrightAvalon/Spitting Image Workshop
image captionSketches for a Spitting Image puppet of Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings

The new series will also poke fun at the likes of Vladimir Putin, Bernie Sanders and the UK Prime Minister's chief political advisor Dominic Cummings, as well as celebrities like Adele, Kim Kardashian, Greta Thunberg and Jurgen Klopp.

In a statement, the 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."

ITV director of television Kevin Lygo said he was "thrilled" to be able to provide the chance for "British creativity to truly run wild".

image copyrightAvalon/Mark Harrison
image copyrightAvalon/Mark Harrison
image captionRapper Kanye West (top), Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

The anarchic show that packed a punch - and 15 million viewers

  • Spitting Image was created by caricaturists Peter Fluck, Roger Law and Martin Lambie-Nairn
  • At its height it pulled in an audience of 15 million viewers
  • It was nominated for nine BAFTA Television Awards (winning two) and four Emmys
  • Much of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet was parodied, with Douglas Hurd depicted with "Mr Whippy ice cream" hair, and her successor John Major caricatured as a dull, grey puppet with a penchant for peas
  • World leaders were also stereotyped, with Mikhail Gorbachev's forehead birthmark redrawn as a hammer and sickle
  • The series was axed in 1996 because of declining audience numbers

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