New Spitting Image Isn't Going To Be As Good As The Original
This article from 7/15/2020 caught my attention today,
The last time we heard any news prior , Spitting Image was going to be on BritBox and it still is , but before that it was announced as being revived as an “ American Spitting Image “ on NBC while at the same time Les Guignols De L’info was in talks of a possible deal with Fox.
Roger Law talked in 2018 about American writers writing the show while the show would be filmed in the UK.
From the looks of what I’m reading in the article, the New Spitting Image Isn’t Going To Be As Good As The Original.
In 2018, Roger Law hinted that he needed the money. He’s 78 and owns the other half of copyright to Spitting Image.
Spitting Image’s fanbase is unfortunately very small and or not as vocal as most fanbases on the internet. Still one thing is for sure, for the most part, Spitting Image views on YouTube get decent views.
Spitting Image used to get 15 million viewers a week at most. But it seems like it’s not enough to sell those Bob Crow quote shirts like they used to “ If We All Spit Together , We’ll Drown The Bastard.”
However , fans demand the same quality as they got from 1980s Spitting Image and are less than satisfied to received anything less. As much as I enjoyed 2DTV and Newzoids ( and I agree, Headcases was CRAP ! ) still, it’s not what the fans want.
In the 2000s, rumors through out mentioned the status regarding the possible return of Spitting Image. John Lloyd seemed the most enthusiastic about a possible revival. At one point, he got Private Eye’s and Spitting Image’s ORIGINAL head writers / satirists ( WHO ARE STILL AT PRIVATE EYE MAGAZINE BY THE WAY ) Ian Hislop and Nick Newman to write a pilot. ( Something unfortunately we are not going to be seeing in the new Spitting Image which we desperately need. ) .
The closest we ever got to a New Spitting Image was when Spitting Image ( like ) Ant & Dec puppets hosted the documentary special “ Best Ever Spitting Image “ which was one out of several Spitting Image documentary specials that were coming out at the time most likely to celebrate the shows 20th anniversary such as “ Must See TV “ & the Comedy Connections documentary ( which didn’t feature the Ant & Dec puppets ) .
It’s been rumored that since the Ant & Dec puppets were made without approval from Roger Law who owns the trademark & copyright of the Spitting Image brand ( Brand ? WTF ? ) , he said no to the revival. However it was captioned on the bottom of the screen shortly after the Ant & Dec puppets appeared that they were created because the show couldn’t be revived.
The Ant & Dec puppets were designed, built and performed by people who were involved on Spitting Image so in my opinion, they count as Spitting Image puppets.
John Lloyd often went from being in talks with Roger Law and anyone involved in the original series mentioning how they would love to return and doing everything he could to get something going to mentioning how the show couldn’t be revived because of the publics ability to mock politicians in power on the internet easily ( which of course is the worst excuse ever ) .
But the real reason was the show is considered to be the most expensive kind of TV show to produce. This is on of the reasons why Les Guignols De L’info has beat Spitting Image , they had more money than Spitting Image ever had and they went further than Spitting Image ever had in terms of how far they would go regarding razor sharp political satire. Les Guignols De L’info’s political satire was often dark, pretty much reviving the spirit of “Every Bomb You Drop ( Every Breath You Take parody which they were able to actually get Sting to sing the parody to his own song , and then satirize him on the show in 1986 but eventually got him to voice his own puppet in the Peter & The Wolf special which Spitting Image puppets was the only Spitting Image thing about the special ).”
Les Guignols De L’info got on the nerves of Billionaire Vincent Bolloré that him and his friend ( and regular target of Les Guignols De L’info since the mid 1990s ) Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to end the show in 2015 which resulted as forcing the show to change and therefore cause viewership to drop until it’s cancelation in 2018.
Spitting Image ALSO changed by the 1990s, but WORSE than what Les Guignols De L’info which still had some charm to it regardless of drop in dark political satire , writers, show runner, and budget.
Bill Dare made the discussion to make Spitting Image a “Funny popular comedy show” which he later made “Dead Ringers” which is like a radio version of Spitting Image and ironically similar to Spitting Image’s roots being partly inspired by satirical radio program “ Week Ending”.
However with Spitting Image by the 1990s, the only thing that was razor sharp satire and entertaining was occasional moments but mostly the music parodies / music satires that still stayed as anti-establishment as ever, the music parodies / music satires were still good.
And the puppetry was still energetic and slapstick comedy like.
But other then that, 1990s Spitting Image just seemed like a puppet show version of Saturday Night Live. It wasn’t as slow and Americanized like Headcases, but 2DTV and Headcases WAS FUNNIER THAN 1990s Spitting Image.
1990s Spitting Image is the rarest of Spitting Image to find because it has barely been released on DVD. But even with the worst of Spitting Image, there is something interesting there. Even Peter & The Wolf and that Johnny Condom Sex-Education film.
But in order for a successful Spitting Image revival to happen, satire ALWAYS depends on the satirists’ own political ideology.
Les Guignols De L’info was known for being leftist / left populous and ending their anti-American Imperialism / Capitalism ( aka The World Company / War In Iraq / etc )
gave them the “ Anti-American “ reputation.
Charlie Hebdo which was similar to Les Guignols De L’info but in Magazine form admitted to being Leftist / Anarchist / Far Left Leaning.
When it came to Spitting Image ,
Steve Nallon mentioned that Roger Law was a “ socialist “ . Roger Law is often seen in interviews wearing a cap with a Red Star on it, even today.
And John Lloyd even mentioned how there was Leftists involved at Spitting Image.
“ I was you know, the liberal voting middle-of-the-road reasonable BBC trained producer trying to mediate between these lunatics and they were all Marxist ( shaking fist ) , you know , Che Guevara hats and all this kind of stuff. “ _ John Lloyd ( Whatever Happened To Spitting Image 2014 / BFI Panel Discussion at the 30th Anniversary Celebration of Spitting Image screening. )
" In the past most caricaturists ( satirical cartoonist ) had to work by themselves. The best caricaturists ( satirists ) are obsessive. The best ones work obsessively. They probably have a deeply distressful nature. Maybe romantics , Idealists , moralists , or social reformers. They object to what’s around them. But the ability to make people laugh at a funny face is a very fascinating tool and a weapon. “
_ Peter Fluck ( Satirist / Caricaturist / Puppet Maker / Co-creator of Spitting Image .
- Whatever Happened To Spitting Image ( documentary ) 2014 * )
Like all great political activists, they had a vision and praxis.
Unfortunately at some point, many just gave up or retired to just give interviews and write books for the next generation as they get older.
Ian Hislop admitted to being a Democrat ( Liberal Democrat … I’m guessing ) in a BBC interview in 2019.
Many people mentioned how Private Eye has lost it’s razor sharp satirical edge and of course Ian Hislop has been editor of Private Eye Magazine since 1986 which at the same time he was able to being one of the head writers / satirists along with his writing parter Nick Newman ( also at Private Eye Magazine and still is ) , as well as being a part of “ Have I Got News For You “ since it’s beginning.
Spitting Image Writer Steve Punt criticized “ Have I Got News For You “ in the Comedy Connections documentary as being one of the causes for Spitting Image’s cancelation because network executives could see how that show’s budget was cheaper next to Spitting Image questioning why should they pay such a budge budget for a topical satirical comedy show.
Ian Hislop’s political stance regardless if he is a “ Democrat “ usually seemed loosely because Ian Hislop’s own political ideology has often been a mystery and not mentioned until recently in that interview.
Still we need to remember that Ian Hislop and the other Spitting Image writers were just as razor sharp in their political satire to David Owen & David Steel to the point where they accused Spitting Image for ruining their chances in winning the 1987 Election.
If you ever watch Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You or see him in interviews / lectures or behind the scenes at work at Private Eye Magazine ,
his sense of satirical humor is recognizable to classic 1980s Spitting Image.
Out of all of those who worked on Spitting Image , he was the one still spitting and kept the satirical spirit of Spitting Image alive.
I would say that Ian Hislop’s focus is on satire more than being devoted to a strict political ideology.
It’s hard to say if Ian Hislop was a leftist, but as an admirer of George Orwell as well as the history of Satire itself, he is familiar with it.
Ian Hislop has probably been best known as “ THE MOST SUED MAN IN BRITAIN “ because of his satire in Private Eye. He often got sued while being a writer at Spitting Image which often got mentioned on the show.
And when he left the show, like Spitting Image impressionist / voice artist “ John Sessions “ the debut of his own Spitting Image puppet came shortly after.
It obviously shows how important Ian Hislop’s involvement on Spitting Image just like Jerry Juhl with The Muppets, the writers don’t usually get as much attention as the main performers do but they are just as important.
With Ian Hislop able to still be a part of Have I Got News For You, Still be an editor at Private Eye along with Nick Newman, it shows that even at the age of 60 , he still an active satirist.
According to Steve Nallon ( aka Thatcher on Spitting Image ) on his blog article on his website “ Satire or Just Spit “ as well as a TV interview ,
Steve Nallon even though wasn’t a writer on the show, also has a fondness for the literary art form of satire.
“Somewhere in the satirist’s heart there must be an anger about the way the world is.
Or should that be how people are?
The targets of satire are often seen to be of political systems, institutions or class structures
but equally there are of the human failings of hypocrisy, greed, piety, pride and pretension.
The satirist isn’t a cynic, but a disillusioned romantic who
deep down wants the world to be better than it is
and is pretty pissed off that it isn’t.
The creative forces of the satirist come from a sublimation of anger and indignation
refined and combined with a talent for the comic or caricature.
But sometimes the anger isn’t too far below the surface. Indeed, on a personal level,
the weakness of the satirist is often how easily he ( or she ) is riled.
they seek to correct the culture around them that threatens their own
values rather than the prevailing ideology. The very fact that satirists
are allowed to say the things they do within the framework of a
dominant socio-economic capitalist structure merely
proves they are ultimately servants of the system rather than its enemy. “
“ If I had a message to young satirists it would be …. Learn to care.
Learn to care about the world and not be so cynical about it. ”
_ Steve Nallon
However Roger Law decided for “ A New Generation of Writers and Voice Artists “ to come for the New Spitting Image.
Still as I mentioned earlier, it makes me wonder about the tale of Two Roger Laws.
The Satirist / The Leftist and The Sell Out.
Unlike Les Guignols De L’info ( Even though there was the show and it’s revival that’s still on the air WHICH IS ACTUALLY GOOD ! The revival is probably better than the original. Les Minikeums . )
Spitting Image was known for selling out on commercials as far back as Spitting Image’s popularity in 1986. Even at one time doing a french train commercial.
The Genesis music video “ Land of Confusion “ still to this day is the most popular thing Spitting Image has ever done.
And as I mentioned, Johnny Condom and Peter & The Wolf.
One of the reasons I’ve heard was because Spitting Image Productions went into debt.
It’s strange how there was a video a few years ago of Roger Law setting fire to many of the legal letterheads and legal documents of Spitting Image Productions ( Legal stuff not the creative puppet stuff which he donated to the University he used to go to. ) and in 2013 mentioning that Spitting Image could be a “ Cult thing on the net “ but still being aware that Network Executives are “ Americanized “ and are too cautious about budgets which they want to “ cover their bottom “ .
Without getting too much into it for now, there could be another reason.
Roger Law is 78. Many times when giving lectures, he would have a cane on him.
In 2018 he mentioned “I’m far too old, I shouldn’t be in the studio like this. “
Also he has silver teeth.
Roger Law is getting old. Like Jim Henson, He was in his 40s during his famous show.
So since Roger Law owns the copyrights / trademarks of Spitting Image,
donated what he had of Spitting Image to a University,
Perhaps it’s not only for him to earn money in his pocket.
He has a ceramic business where he made GIANT bowls,
he even moved to China making them too.
Roger Law has always been known as been a very active , working sculpture.
But again, because Spitting Image’s fanbase is small,
perhaps in a way,
Roger Law is trying to SAVE SPITTING IMAGE’S LEGACY !
At the time where President Donald J Trump is the most recognizable and HATED Far-Right politician in the world, what better time is it to revive Spitting Image and perhaps to save it.
This is just my opinion.
There was a crowdfunded Roger Law documentary that still hasn’t been released however Roger did write a couple of books. One is a rare one from the 1990s “ A Nasty Piece of Work “ and his autobiography which is available on Kindle / ebook format.
In conclusion ,
This article proves to me that the New Spitting Image revival on Britbox regardless of Roger Law’s involvement IS NOT GOING TO BE AS GOOD AS THE 1980s original.
The puppets however bring back the dark irreverence as it did during the 1980s.
But still, the obvious signs can’t be ignored.
Capitalism is even worse than it has ever before. Thatcher came from the start of Neo-Liberalism and now is Late Stage Capitalism.
While watching “ Whatever Happened To Spitting Image “ listening to Peter Fluck mentioning how he gave up on satire when he started to believe that it wasn’t going to change anything and that caricaturists / satirists weren’t going to change the world, as well as how negative and depressing it got after while.
As a satirist and Anarchist and satirical puppeteer myself, I have discovered that satire is good praxis in terms of building an Anti-Authoritarian culture ( Cultural Anarchism ) . Also Spiritually it relates to the Heyoka Mirror Empath ( Sacred Clown ) .
The Capitalist Ruling Class is the enemies of life, if we had a popular anti-authoritarian culture that was even stronger than the movements and culture of the 1960s , we could finally have REVOLUTION for a Better World !
As John Lloyd mentioned , “ Spitting Image was a show that made people laugh and made people think. “ and it was often said that Spitting Image made politics popular, especially to Youth Culture.
If you compared 1980s Spitting Image to 1990s Spitting Image , you’ll notice many differences.
Politically it seems to me that 1990s Spitting Image was kind of LIBERAL compared to 1980s Spitting Image which was basically Left Wing but leaning towards Leftism which is the best kind of Political Satire you can ask for.
However, if they wanted to risk everything and get right down to Anarchist propaganda, be my guest. :)
“ All Art Is Properganda, on the other hand, not all propaganda is art. “ _ George Orwell
There’s a quote I often see which I’m not sure where it originated from , but it’s
“ Art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. “
The ending of Series 12 of Spitting Image was probably the final time Spitting Image did something that was pure serious political satire ( even though it was Conservatives dressed up as Hippies ) .
Spitting Image had serious moments, and cared about the unemployed and the homeless.
I don’t care how many YouTube videos a Spitting Image fan can comment on,
No one can be a true Spitting Image fan and a RIGHT WING bully / cyberbully / cyberstalker !
Satire is a left wing thing, always anti-authoritarian.
Unfortunately , popular satire especially in America is just like it’s politics.
Liberal or Libertarian Party.
What’s why Saturday Night Live isn’t as funny in comparison.
Perhaps that’s why Mad Magazine lost it’s edge years ago.
Perhaps that’s why South Park is now Right Wing Libertarian ( Party ) .
Americans aren’t as good at Satire as those in Europe ,
America is too patriotic / nationalistic and pro-capitalism while the rest of the world HATES THEM !
Les Guignols De L’info was even featured as well as Ian Hislop in the PBS crossroads documentary “ Anti-Americans : A Love / Hate Relationship “.
If you live in America, being Anti-American and being Leftist is a Taboo.
So when you have the head writer being a member of the Writers Guild of America who’s responsible for Zombie Simpsons / Jerk-Ass Homer / episodes of The Simpsons which Classic fans HATE !
It doesn’t matter if the puppets are going to be great.
Like Classic Simpsons vs Current Zombie Simpsons,
there’s a difference between rebelling within the system as satirists not caring about getting fired vs
being civil and fair to everyone as well as making .
Probably because of Late Stage Capitalism,
not even Liberals who once did great satirical and creative things
aren’t as rebellious as they once were.
In the 1980s, Thatcher and Regan were the main targets.
On Les Guignols De L’info and 1980s Spitting Image, EVERYONE was a target because they were The Establishment.
Every Bomb You Drop as well as Genesis’s “ Land of Confusion “ , the lyrics explained the political spirit which is satire and Spitting Image.
Perhaps this is why Phil Collins dropped his lawsuit which we was going to sue Spitting Image for the sketch “ I’m So Lonely “.
Still, that didn’t stop them for saying things on the lines of “Piss Off , Bald Headed Git ! “ and other similar insults. ;)
There's too many men
Too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can't you see
This is a land of confusion.
This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth living in.
Every bomb you make, (Ronald Reagan)
And every job you take, (Margaret Thatcher)
Every heart you break, (Arthur Scargill and Ian MacGregor)
Every Irish wake, (Ian Paisley)
I’ll be watching you…
Every wall you build, (Erich Honecker)
And everyone you've killed, (Robert Mugabe)
Every grave you've filled, (Fidel Castro)
All the blood you've spilled, (Colonel Gadaffi)
I’ll be watching you…
Oh, can't you see? (Erich Honecker)
You belong to me. (Idi Amin)
There’ll be a bill to pay, (Leonid Brezhnev)
On that judgement day... (Adolf Hitler)
For every empty plate, (Indira Gandhi)
And every word of hate, (Ruhollah Khomaini)
Those who subjugate, (P.W. Botha)
Those who violate, (Konstantin Chernenko)
I’ll be watching you… (Death)
_ Spitting Image ( 1984 )
As proven by the cancelations of Spitting Image and Les Guignols De L’info , perhaps even The Simpsons’ attempt to attack The Authoritarian Family within the system only to end up being Liberal and now owned by The Walt Disney Company,
This is what happens when you work within the systems and you trust capitalists of any kind,
they aren’t easily outsmarted.
Still, what made shows satirical and creative in the past, was there were open minded liberal executives who were willing to take a chance and allow things to slide past them.
Today it’s impossible.
The best political satire anyone could make these days are outside of the system which is what I do with my satirical puppetry and cartooning work for 15 years now.
I’m still excited to see new Spitting Image.
Even if it isn’t going to be as good as the original.
I’m just saying, if your expecting a return of Jon Glover, Chris Barrie and all the original Voice Artists & Impressionists ,
If your expecting a return of satirist writers like Ian Hislop and Nick Newman,
If your expecting the satirist praxis of working within the system towards a leftist revolution,
Chances most likely then not, it’s not going to happen.
Maybe I’m just expressing this as an Anarchist but if Right Wing politics disappeared,
Don’t be fooled.
Right Wing politics is a part of the problem,
but the root cause of ALL political problems is Hierarchical Power over others.
Don’t Forget To Spit !
It’d like to end this with the last words of Spitting Image.
Their Twist & Shout parody that ended the series.
( some of the lryics while watching the video were hard to translate but I did my best. )
“ Well, You know we make you want to SPIT,
Forever Grinning, SPIT
I’m Never Winning , SPIT,
Nucular Testing, SPIT
I Loath Protesting, SPIT
All The Knee Capping, SPIT,
All The Crap Acting, SPIT
Rubbish Telly ( TV / Television ) , SPIT
Bein’ Smelly , SPIT
Don’t forget , we make you ill.
And don’t forget to Spit.
I don’t remember all the weapons we’ve sold,
Oh that was awhile ago, when you were only 96 years old.
And sure that you know, we’ve been bad to you before,
We’ve been looking after ourselves,
WE MAKE YOU WANNA … SPIT ,
We’ve got our tits out,
I’ve got my ritz out,
The National Lottery,
Why aren’t we divorced yet,
The Guardian is a nuisance,
They Make You Idiots,
Say You’ll Spit
Throw your head back baby
Say You’ll Spit
Throw Your Head Back Baby
Everybody Spit Now
Everybody Spit Spit Spit Spit Spit etc
You Know I’m Feeling Alright. “
One other thing, the Bob Crow quote
“ Spit On Your Own and You can’t do anything, but, IF WE ALL SPIT TOGETHER, WE’LL DROWN THE BASTARDS. ! “
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