Spitting Image


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Margaret Thatcher and Spitting Image: we had no idea we would be joined at the hip | Roger Law

The theory has its adherents and dates back to at least , when Dorothy Hartley included it in her book Made in England:. Hence the country saying: As so often though, plausibility isn't the end of the story. The numerous forms of the term 'spitting image' - spit and image , spitten image , the dead spit of etc. Some commentators have suggested that 'spit' may be a corruption of 'spirit', but that appears to be fanciful and isn't backed up by any early examples of 'spirit and image'.

The allusion is more likely to be to someone who is so similar to another as to appear to have been spat out of his mouth.


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That idea, if not the exact phrase, was in circulation by the end of the 17th century, when George Farquhar used it in his comic play Love and a bottle , No version of the phrase is especially old. Law spoke as Cambridge University Library accepted the first tranche of an enormous archive of Spitting Image , the satirical puppet show shown originally on ITV from to The archive includes the first script and videotape for the pilot episode, which was not broadcast.

The initial 32 boxes of material contain rehearsal and post-production scripts, memorabilia, puppet design drawings and newspaper cuttings that shine a light on one of the most famous, and infamous, TV satire shows ever broadcast. At its peak the show reached an audience of 15 million. Law, 77, acknowledged that now would be a good time for Spitting Image to return. But it would not happen in the UK.

Do I want to spend it repeating Spitting Image as it was? I want to be somewhere you can do what you want, and that would be on the net or pay-for-view. The programme is rebroadcast on the digital network "PuppeTV" as a part of its "Puppets After Dark" post - watershed slot. In , the network dedicated an entire month to broadcasting all episodes of the show, from In an attempt to crack the American market, there were some attempts to produce a US version of the show. A minute 'made for market' show by the original Spitting Image team, titled Spitting Image: Introduced by David Frost , it departed from the sketch-based format in favour of an overall storyline involving the upcoming at that time Presidential election.

The plot involved a conspiracy to replace Ronald Reagan with a double actually actor Dustin Hoffman in disguise. Eventually, their plot foiled, the famous corporation activated their escape pod — Abraham Lincoln's nose — and left Earth for another planet, but in a homage to the beginning of the Star Wars movies were destroyed during a collision with 'a nonsensical prologue in gigantic lettering'.

The show was not very successful with its target audience, possibly because its humour was still very British and it was so irreverent about Ronald Reagan at a time when he was enormously popular with the American public. It did, however, receive great praise from critics and it was followed by several more television specials: Many British politicians in parliament during Margaret Thatcher 's tenure were parodied.

The Thatcher puppet had a strong dislike of anything French agreeing with Hitler about 'teaching those Frenchies where to go' and throwing an apple out of the window because it was French. In the first series, Thatcher sought advice from her enraptured neighbour Herr Jeremy Von Wilcox who is actually an elderly Adolf Hitler, living at 9 Downing Street about the unions and the unemployed.

Regarding unemployment, he says that people out of work should be put in the army, and tells Thatcher that he thinks the SS meaning SAS are a "great bunch of guys". Thatcher's Cabinet were often depicted as bickering schoolchildren, with Thatcher acting as teacher. Thatcher's successor John Major was portrayed as a dull, boring grey character who enjoyed a meal of peas with his wife Norma and was constantly mocked by Humphrey , the Downing Street cat.

Before Thatcher's resignation, Major had been portrayed as wearing a leopard print suit and swinging in on a trapeze, referencing his background as the son of a circus acrobat which he would frequently remind everyone about. Upon his appointment to Prime Minister, Major was initially portrayed as robotic with a spinning antenna on his head it was explained in a sketch that Thatcher used it to control Major, standing behind Thatcher in the crowd of sycophantic cabinet members, eager to repeat whatever the Thatcher puppet screeched.

The Opposition Labour Party politicians included:.

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Spitting Image

Arthur Scargill , who was a member of the Labour Party until , appeared as head of the National Union of Mineworkers , and was portrayed as a big-nosed egotist who was ignorant about mining. In , a puppet of Tony Blair made his appearance. He was originally a public school boy, wearing grey shorts, blazer and cap. When Blair did become Labour leader, the puppet changed and he was portrayed with his grin replaced with an even bigger smile if he said something of importance.

The deputy leader, John Prescott , was portrayed as a fat bumbling assistant, along with a squeaky voiced Robin Cook , and an enormous glasses-wearing Jack Straw. They were soon replaced by Paddy Ashdown , whose "equidistance" from the larger parties was satirised by his frequent appearance at the side of the screen during unrelated sketches, saying: This running gag was used when Ashdown's extramarital affair was revealed, and his puppet commented that "I didn't touch her on the left leg, or the right leg, but somewhere in-between.

Wilson constantly attempted escape, whilst Callaghan took delight in tormenting him. Edward Heath was also said to have resided there, but he was not seen on screen. Other members who were parodied include: Next to his bed were red buttons labelled 'Nuke' and 'Nurse'. His wife Nancy was the butt of cosmetic surgery jokes. Mikhail Gorbachev had his forehead birthmark in the shape of hammer and sickle.

All other Russians looked like Leonid Brezhnev , often said "da" "yes" and talked about potatoes. In Russia it was snowing even indoors and the Soviet television had extremely low-tech visual effects. Botha was shown as a racist cleverly disguising his views once he had a badge "anti-anti- apartheid ". Adolf Hitler incognito had a house at 9 Downing Street. England manager Bobby Robson was a senile worrier nicknamed 'Rubbisho'.

England midfielder Paul Gascoigne appeared, frequently crying — a parody of the World Cup semi-final against West Germany in which he famously cried after being booked, which would have ruled him out of the final had England won the game.

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Spitting image'?

Ian Botham was a violent drug addict, while Mike Gatting spoke with a high voice. Lester Piggott had to be subtitled. Boxing characters included Frank Bruno with his trademark laugh and catchphrase "where's 'Arry? Snooker player Steve Davis was boring, upset because he had no nickname, but thought himself interesting.

News reporters were also depicted. Alastair Burnet was sycophantic towards the Royal Family and with a nose that inflated. Sandy Gall was effeminate, always worrying what coat he would wear. John Cole was incomprehensible and had to be dragged off-screen when he talked too long. Nicholas Witchell was always turning up during a strike to work rather than report.

'Spitting image' - the meaning and origin of this phrase

Jeremy Paxman appeared as uninterested and self-loving. William Rees-Mogg was portrayed as a censorship-crazy person with eyes that would frequently pop out of the socket. David Coleman had a very loud ear prompter and sometimes did not know what he was commentating on. Frank Bough was portrayed as being a drug user. Bruce Forsyth spoke every sentence as though it was a catchphrase. Film critic Barry Norman was not a fan of his puppet, because it had a wart on its forehead.


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  • Comedian Billy Connolly was portrayed as a jester, and Jimmy Tarbuck was said to use old jokes and always take part in Royal Variety Performance. Bernard Manning was an obese racist, Ben Elton was always shown with a microphone. Writer and MP Jeffrey Archer appeared as an annoying, self-commenting writer whose books were not read by anyone. A Mick Jagger character seemed perpetually high, and Keith Richards so old and haggard that he thought he was dead. Ringo Starr was a drunkard, and Paul McCartney was always releasing albums and films that flopped.

    Madonna changed her hair and clothes with every episode, and Michael Jackson 's skin turned lighter. Luciano Pavarotti was hugely overweight and ate everything he saw. Esther Rantzen always had a permanent grin. Cilla Black had large teeth and a thick Scouse accent. Actor Dustin Hoffman spoke nasally and was parodied for his method acting.

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    John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier were lamenting their friends, even their own death. Roger Moore was shown as an actor "with a wooden delivery" — only his eyebrows moved. Arnold Schwarzenegger was muscle-bound but insecure about the size of his genitals.

    Donald Sinden was parodied as also trying to become the greatest Shakespearian actor and get a knighthood.

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