The satirical puppet show Spitting Image may have long since finished its run on prime time #Television, with many of the main characters it featured having long since departed this life, but the British interest in satire and poking fun at prominent people and #Celebrities has never completely died. With that belief in mind, ITV are to launch a new puppet show called Newzoids shortly, which will introduce the genre to a brand new audience and (they no doubt hope) be as successful as the original was.
Newzoids is to initially be a six-part series which the producers have promised will represent a "biting look at the world of politics and celebrity", many of the concepts that the original Spitting Image show had as its raison d'etre. Some of the original cast and crew will also be re-united for the new programme, which is to include leading impressionists such as Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson among the mimics.
With politicians and celebrities just as much in the news these days as they ever were in the past, there should be plenty of scope for the writers to make merriment. It is believed that they already have puppets prepared for the likes of Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray. With an eye on the forthcoming General Election and the likelihood of debates between the politicians, stand by for David Cameron and Nick Clegg to be lampooned.
Spitting Image was a massive television hit when it began in the 1980s, hitting a peak of 15 million people, with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in their prime as the leaders of the Anglo-American alliance. The show seemed to find rich material seemingly at will each week and became immensely popular as a result, as viewers enjoyed the way it was able to parody and build on what was going on in the news of the day. Created by Peter Fluck, Roger Law and Martin Lambie-Nairn for Central Independent Television, it ran for 18 series and was nominated and won numerous awards, including an impressive ten BAFTA Television Awards. No one and nothing seemed out of the reach of the puppet caricatures, with their prominent features and mannerisms exploited to the hilt. Viewing figures had declined by the mid-1990s, however, and time was called on the show in 1996, although a resurrection of the show was considered again in 2006 but never came to fruition. The show became so popular at its height that it spawned hit singles featuring annoyingly catchy lyrics, such as The Chicken Song which reached the lofty heights of number one in the British mainstream charts.
Backing the decision to revive the concept, ITV's director of entertainment Elaine Bedell commented: "ITV has a rich history of playing popular satirical comedy in peak time on its main channel, and it seemed a good time to revive it this year." #Government