Sunday, June 25, 2006

Spitting Image

Am looking forward to a documentary tonight about the former satirical programme
Like just about everyone else, I was a bit of a fan at the time, and fully enjoyed it's unremitting savagery against it's targets, the fact that I was a teenager at the time, feeling angry about the things that went on, and seeing S.I. as a voice for how I felt (perhaps in the same way many baby boomers felt about That Was The Week That Was or Beyond the Fringe) helped enormously.
And it is missed, although by the time it finished in 1996 it had run out of steam, it is still remembered for some of it's sharp edges. Personal favourites of mine include John Major and some of his cabinet colleagues going into a cellar under a pub at night and not being able to find any barrels, taps, etc.., having arranged a Party there. Or Ronald Reagan running with Duracel batteries against three elderly soviet leaders (Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko )who used ordinary batteries, and a couple which are mentioned in Wikipedia's entry on S.I. :

Geoffrey Howe and Leon Brittan are standing at the men's urinal in a single sex toilet and Margaret Thatcher walks in and goes to the toilet next to them standing up. After she leaves Howe turns to Brittan and confides: "I can never go when she's in here."


Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet are in a restaurant. After Thatcher proclaims "Steak, I'll have the steak", the waitress asks: "And what about the vegetables?", to which Thatcher replied: "Oh, they'll have the same as me."

and one which might be topical at the moment!:

England football manager Graham Taylor giving a team talk to his players, with Paul Gascoigne being given instructions to "create space, get into a good position – next to the photographer" with further tactics involving alcohol and Page 3 girls to follow. Gary Lineker, befitting his conversely clean-cut image of the time, is accused of being unprofessional when he says he wants to do some laps and weights before getting an early night prior to the game.

Anyway watch it if you can. It's on just after 10PM on ITV.


the dĂșnadan said...

I remember Spitting Image well. I think the Labour Government has been very lucky not to have such an iconic satirical programme bashing away at it these last nine years.

Skuds said...

I gave up watching half-way through as I found the programme to bitty. I think it would have been better if it was either mostly documentary with the odd clip for illustration, or entire sketches with a few interuptions.

From the clips they showed I think Spitting Image suffers a bit from being too much of its time and does not age well.

Much as I loved it at the time and looked forward to it every week, I don't find it anywhere near as good now. Its a bit like the Young Ones - loved it at the time, but got bored by the re-runs (which I had been looking forward to).

Paul Burgin said...

Dunadan - What about Have I Got News For You and Rory Bremner. Not the same I know, but still..
Skuds - I wish I could disagree with you but I know exactly what you mean. I stuck with it to the end and saw some of the repeats being shown on ITV 4.
There were one or two gems, like John McEnroe arguing with his wife, post-coitial, and some good ideas like the then former surviving British Prime Ministers (Macmillan, Home, Wilson, Heath, and Callaghan), being imprisoned in a stately home for retired PM's. But those ideas didn't translate well and it was, all in all, a disapointment.
I think we also have to bear in mind that Spitting Image had a high shock factor, which is fairly commonplace now.

C4' said...

Spitting Image was a great show! How I miss it.

Paul Burgin said...

That said, it was amusing to see Nomran Tebbit's puppet again