Twenty-four years after the original run of 18 seasons ended, the British satirical puppet show Spitting Image returns to Australian screens on Monday â ???? and Scott Morrison is one of his rubbery cartoons.
Dressed in a Hawaiian shirt â ???? probably bought on vacation when bushfires ravaged Australia last summer. The prime minister « looks a little silly, » says Roger Law, co-creator of the original show.
The prime minister’s puppet « looks a bit of a sucker, » says Roger Law, co-creator of the original Spitting Image.
« The caricature was drawn by Johannes Leak, son of [political cartoonist] Bill Leak, » he adds. It’s a very good puppet. â ????
With Peter Fluck and Martin Lambie-Nairn, Law created Spitting Image in 1984 at the height of the Reagan-Thatcher years. At its peak, it was one of the most successful shows on British television, although it usually aired after 10pm due to its edgy content. It inspired numerous copycats around the world – including Rubbery Figures in Australia and Kiwi Spit in New Zealand – but by the time it ended in 1996, Law was exhausted.
One new doll takes about a week to make, and about 100 have been made for this new 10-episode season. The elements of social satire and the recurring storylines can be written in advance. However, timely response to news events is critical to the show’s DNA. Each episode is recorded just a few days before it is broadcast.
At 79, Law had a tough stab at retirement and split his time between the UK and Bondi (he has lived in Australia for 20 years). . So what drew him back?
« Christ, the timing is right » he says. It is very difficult for satirists to get a lot of mileage to people like Trump and Boris [Johnson] because they are doing it for you. But with dolls, you can get them to do things that humans don’t. On our show, Trump has an enlarged colon, he tweets with his asshole. It’s very graphic. â ????
It’s not just figures from the right that are impaled; Favorites of the left, including Jacinda Ardern and Greta Thunberg, also show â ???? The former as Mary Poppins, the latter as someone who « really, really cares about literally everything, » as spokeswoman Jess Robinson puts it.
For Robinson? Who was a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent in 2017, making singing impressions from Shirley Bassey, Adele and, yes, Julie Andrews? being on the show « is the culmination of an impressionist’s career ».
Matt Forde, whose Donald Trump is one of the highlights of Spitting Image Redux, likes to ridicule the mighty « in sometimes grotesque and disgusting ways, » but isn’t sure how much harm it does them.
« Unfortunately, history shows that satire has no power over politics, » he says. « There are many of us taking Mickey out of governments around the world and I’m afraid it won’t bring them down. « . â ????
But after the American people (maybe) toppled Donald Trump, was the show stripped of its driving force just as it got rolling?
« I think there is still a lot of life in him, especially if he is going to start Trump TV, but it’s not the same » ???? Forde says. « The comedy was directly linked to the tragedy » It was only a comedy because he was in charge. Had he lost in 2016, he would have just been a raging guy in a golden apartment. The fact that he was actually responsible for behaving like this was horrific, but so too where the comedy was included.
« We can still do fun things to him now, but he’s just a sad old man, » he adds. The spell was broken. â ????
Spitting Image will be streamed on BritBox, a joint venture between the BBC and ITV that launches in Australia on Monday.
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World News – AU – Morrison turns to rubber as Spitting Image rebounds
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