History Main / SpittingImage

9th Sep '13 5:04:57 PM MarkLungo
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[[quoteright:185:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spitting-image_185.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:185:[[TakeThat Just like the real thing.]]]]''Spitting Image'' was a British satirical puppet show which ran on {{ITV}} from 1984 to 1996. It was produced by Spitting Image Productions for Central. The series was nominated for 10 BAFTA Awards, [[AwardSnub winning only one]], for editing, in 1989.

It could possibly be one of the most influential shows in British television history. By virtue of using puppets they could get away with things that other shows could not.

For the entirety of the show's run, Britain was ruled by the Conservative Party, so the government (and especially MargaretThatcher) was the show's favourite target. However, it did not spare the opposition parties, or other countries' leaders, or celebrities outside politics. Probably the most acerbically targeted country was apartheid South Africa.

The show ultimately ended due to the fact that they couldn't afford the new puppets they would need for a change of government; that, and the relatively bland composition of the JohnMajor government, which lacked the epic grandeur of the Thatcher years and - with the notable exception of Major himself - almost defied satire. Budgetary reasons make a revival too expensive.

The show has had several [[SpiritualSuccessor Spiritual Successors]] such as the traditional animation ''2DTV'' and CGI ''Headcases'', but none have ever matched its popularity. The concept was brought overseas and foreign remakes have been made in [[Series/LesGuignolsDeLInfo France]], [[Series/HurraDeutschland Germany]], the USA, Portugal, India, Russia and Israel among others, with varying degrees of popularity -- some bombed, others have outlasted the British original.

The show's team is also responsible for the famous video for "Music/LandOfConfusion" by Music/{{Genesis}}, which features puppets of noted personalities (and the three members of the band) similar to those featured on the show.

----
!!Famous sketches/themes include:

* '''The Chicken Song''': A parody of annoyingly catchy summer hits like ''Agadoo'', which naturally underwent {{Defictionalization}} and itself became a number one single.
** '''I've Never Met A Nice South African''': Musical number about the apartheid regime's abuses (and the West cosying up to it). The B side of The Chicken Song.
** '''Go Now''': A cover of Music/TheMoodyBlues hit, sung by the entire House of Commons, The Queen and eventually the entire country to Margeret Thatcher to tell her that she should resign. (It wasn't long before the real Thatcher did)
** ''Every Bomb You Drop'', to the tune of ''Every Breath You Take'' by ThePolice (and actually featuring Sting on vocals) served as a massive TheReasonYouSuckSpeech to the major political figures of the era.
* '''Thatcher's Cabinet at the Restaurant''': Mrs Thatcher's cabinet eat at a restaurant; she orders a raw steak, and when asked "What about the vegetables?" replies "They'll have the same as I'm having." (This line entered her legend, and people later thought she had really said it.)
** According to ''PrivateEye'', one ''Cabinet minister'' not only thought he was ''there'' when she said it, but [[CannotTellAJoke totally screwed up the punchline]] ("And the waitress asked 'what will the vegetables have?'")
* '''The President's Brain is Missing''': A series in which RonaldReagan's tiny brain makes a bid for freedom, at one point crawling into the dead Premier Chernenko's head and reanimating him to try and run the Soviet Union on American Republican lines. Half the jokes it coined were later lazily recycled by SpiritualSuccessor ''2DTV'' for GeorgeWBush.
* '''John Major and the Peas''': Captured the public vision of JohnMajor as dull and boring by literally giving him grey skin and having him indulge in inane conversations over peas with his wife Norma. It was also suggested that he had a crush on Virginia Bottomley, the writers proceeding to kick themselves for not choosing [[ReverseFunnyAneurysm Edwina Currie]] instead.
* '''The Two Davids''': The Liberal-SDP Alliance was portrayed as an unequal partnership between the dominating SDP leader David Owen and the shy, literally smaller Liberal leader David Steel. Steel later blamed his depiction for ruining his career- Steel was taller!
** In fact, this was subverted in real life as most historical sources confirm Steel was the more influential of the two (he also maintained a longer career in the House).
** David Owen was also portrayed as a cynical opportunist, to the extent that he was sometimes seen on both sides of the House of Commons ''at the same time''.
* '''Herr von Willcox''': Margaret Thatcher's neighbour is an aged AdolfHitler living under the alias "Herr von Willcox", who gives her advice on governance.
-->''"Wiz you zere, I feel like I already run ze place."''
-->'''"von Willcox":''' "First you need ze SS."
-->'''Thatcher:''' "Don't you mean SAS?"
-->'''"von Willcox":''' "I know vat I mean."
* '''Home for Retired [=PMs=]''': All the living retired Prime Ministers (such as EdwardHeath, HaroldMacmillan and HaroldWilson) live in a retirement home which they view as a prison camp and plot to escape from.
** With [[QueenVicky Queen Victoria]] filling in for [[OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest Nurse Ratched]].
* '''Paul Daniels''': "One Man and His Wig".
* '''Mary Whitehouse''': often seen in early episodes watching the show and simultaneously writing in to complain, overtly disgusted and yet secretly fascinated by it.
* '''The Royal Family''': Portrayed as a dysfunctional and yet somehow very relatable family:
** The Queen: seemed to be the most "normal" one of the bunch. Wore a rainmate and a tiara. Enjoys winding up Thatcher. Experiences occasional bouts of absentmindedness e.g forgetting to Troop the Colour or rifling through dustbins.
** Prince Philip: Prone to public gaffes. Perpetually in uniform and loves hunting. It appears that he and the Queen are quite HappilyMarried - he helps her to fake her own death and Troops the Colour for her in exchange for kebabs for breakfast.
** Prince Charles: Unpopular with the public and fond of New-Age. Seen talking to his vegetables at dinner.
** Princess Diana: The celebrity of the Royal Family, but slow-witted and [[invoked]] [[HarsherInHindsight hungry for publicity]]. Thought at one point her life was a soap opera in the most literal sense.
** Prince Andrew: A womanizer, often seen winding up Charles.
** Princess Anne: Rarely seen - generally a bit down in the mouth. Likes her horses.
** Prince Edward: A wimpy student.
** Princess Margaret: Constantly completely sloshed.
** The Queen Mother: A stereotypical drunken grandma with a Birmingham accent. Also fond of the horses, but more on the Ladbrokes side of things.

----
!!Tropes of ''SpittingImage'':
* AmusingInjuries: Since puppets are central to the show: it features a lot of slapping and punching around.
* AnachronismStew: The show mostly centered around events that were topical in the 1980s and 1990s, but some sketches put the celebrities in a historical context. Also, sometimes celebrities who had already passed away years before the show debuted were featured on the show, like TheMarxBrothers, LaurelAndHardy, ElvisPresley, BingCrosby, WinstonChurchill, AdolfHitler, BenitoMussolini, ...
* BadCopIncompetentCop: If you replace the words 'cop' with 'politician', you have the show's general portrayal of the Conservatives and Labour. To be exact, they portray the conservatives as evil money-hungry people with victorian values (and empathy), but point out that Labour was too incompetent to be worth voting for, so no-one did.
* BilingualBonus: You can hear President Mitterrand call Margaret a cow at one point. Plus the other puppet in the Ian Paisley ''Night Thoughts'' sketch is actually doing [[ShownTheirWork proper sign language]].
** In the Derek Jameson sketch about German television, Chris Barrie is speaking real German.
* {{Blackface}}: Parodied with the "The White & White Minstrel Show". [[InvertedTrope Black people with whitefaces]] singing about Apartheid South Africa where "blackfaces don't belong with blacks".
* BlandNameProduct: [[IncrediblyLamePun Fauna]] Lo-cal Spread anyone?
** Reptiles Bland Blend Coffee, tastes more like [[LargeHam Donald Sinden]] than ever before!
* BritishNewspapers: Frequently parodied the adverts used to sell these:
--> "The Daily Telegraph - for Boring Old Toads."
* BritishStuffiness: In the 'British Revolution' arc, the 'people power' revolutions that brought down communism in Eastern Europe finally reach Britain - but are carried out in a far more...''refined'' manner.
--> '''Newsreader''': "Elsewhere, there are sporadic clashes between the army and the police..."
--> '''Policeman''' ''(pointing at tank)'': "Excuse me sir, is this your vehicle?"
--> '''Soldier''': "Look, I can explain, there's been a revolution!"
--> '''Policeman''': "I can't help that sir. You're on a double yellow."
* ButtMonkey: Sir Geoffrey Howe for the Conservatives, Michael Foot and Gerald Kaufman for the Labour Party.
* CallBack: After John Major became Prime Minister, Major takes his cabinet out to dinner a la the "Thatcher's Cabinet at the Restaurant" sketch. When the waitress asks Major about the vegetables, the entire cast save Major anxiously awaits the classic punchline, only for Major to respond "peas and carrots."
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Justified with the disappearance of the Terry Waite puppet, as his real life counterpart was kidnapped in 1987. He had previously been seen on the show returning from negotiations abroad with lots of duty-free shopping for the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie.
** Also, whenever a celebrity died or disappeared from the public eye, he was usually removed from appearing in the show
* ConspiracyTheorist: HAROLD ANGRYPERSON.
* CreatorBacklash: Co-creator Peter Fluck has gone so far to claim he "hates puppets" in an interview with The Guardian. Back in 2000 he planned to throw all the 900 and counting puppets of the original show on a bonfire because he was so sick of them. Luckily someone got a better idea and decided to simply auction them.
* CrossDressingVoices: Steve Nallon as MargaretThatcher.
* EnfantTerrible: Prince William in the early series.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first season pales compared to later seasons. The pilot episode had a laugh track (which was abandoned quickly from the next episode on). Certain puppets sound different because the voice actors didn't always comically exaggerate the voices of the lampooned celebrities in the first season. Many episodes in the first season follow plot lines that are continued like a chronological series, while later seasons were always stand alone episodes. And certain puppets went thru consideral makeovers throughout the seasons. For example: Queen Elizabeth's hair was made grey as her real life counterpart got older too. Margaret Thatcher's puppet also became more grotesque.
* FanDisservice: A surprising amount of sketches depict Maggie with her shirt off.
* FelonyMisdemeanor: One sketch, parodying American cop drama, has a guy arrested for not cleaning his shoes, taking leaflets from a bank with no intention of opening an account and breaking the spines of books he borrows.
* {{Flanderization}}: Arguably, as the years progressed the show became less about political satire per se, and more about the antics of absurdist caricatures of politicians, which had evolved in rather extreme ways. Thatcher, for instance, increasingly became a run-of-the-mill tyrant, whose extreme brand of supervillian evil stopped being much of a commentary on British conservatism. Many other politicians similarly evolved into various stock characters that eclipsed their original politicized roots, for example Norman Tebbit as a skinhead, Cecil Parkinson as the Cabinet's resident [[TheCasanova Casanova]], John Major as a dullard, and Kenneth Baker, originally depicted as an oozing sycophant, who literally became a slug in later episodes.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Lots of funny stuff is happening in the background of many scenes. Characters beating each other up or appearing in a weird context.
* GagBoobs: Claire Rayner.
* GlassShatteringSound: Thatcher's voice in one sketch. Then she got voice coaching... and ended up sounding like Hitler.
* GoodAngelBadAngel: Neil Kinnock has Michael Foot as his angel and Jim Callaghan as his devil while he wrestles over whether or not to reappear on ''The Tube''. [[spoiler: He compromises by saying that he can't as he is rehearsing for ''LastOfTheSummerWine'', which pleases them both.]]
* HenpeckedHusband: Denis Thatcher.
* {{Homage}}: Several. The most famous one was probably their tribute to ''{{Cabaret}}'' with the Tory parties singing ''[[ThoseWackyNazis Tomorrow Belongs to Me]]''.
* HomoeroticSubtext: Politicians David Owen and David Steele, whose parties merged into one. They were often depicted as gay lovers, PlayedForLaughs.
* IHaveThisFriend: MikhailGorbachev has a friend who runs a large communist country and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwHkmfWJCAo who has a nuclear reactor spewing radiation all over most of Europe.]]
* InsultBackfire: Norman Tebbit reportedly enjoyed his portrayal as a leather-clad bovver boy.
* KavorkaMan: Henry Kissinger.
* LargeHam: John Gielgud and LaurenceOlivier.
** Donald Sinden. For example, a sketch features Sinden going into a restaurant and asking, in his plummiest tones, if they serve a ham salad. "Yes sir", replies the waiter. "We serve salad to anyone".
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: The show had literally hundreds of puppets!
* LyricalDissonance: "What a Wonderful World" becomes "We've Ruined the World."
** ''Spitting'' Image did this a lot, though, from a cheerful [=Paul McCartney=]-esque folk song about murdering estate agents (complete with violent, bloody non-slapstick visuals), the Four Horsemen singing about how "every silver lining has a cloud, and it won't be alright on the night" and General Pinochet singing a Chas-&-Dave style number about the joys of nuclear war. Probably freaked out a few kids.
* MyCountryTisOfTheeThatISting: The show spared no-one, including the United Kingdom itself!
* MultiNationalShows: Three "Spitting Image" specials produced for the American Market and aired on NBC, one taking aim at the White House, one at Hollywood, and one at Ronnie Reagan in a parody of 50s sitcoms. Spitting Image has also inspired many international equivalents: Sid and Marty Kroff's ''DCFollies'', France's ''Series/LesGuignolsDeLInfo'', Germany's ''Hurra Deutschland'' and Italy's ''[[TheNineties Gommapiuma]]'' as well as ''[[TheNewTens Gli Sgommati]]''.
* NoIndoorVoice:
** HAROLD ANGRYPERSON
** AND [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAN-uPZN9EU BRIAN BLESSED TOO.]] HOW PREDICTABLE!!
* OfCorpseHesAlive: The Soviets try to pretend Premier Chernenko is still alive and prop up his corpse at the negotiating table with RonaldReagan. Reagan finds him 'a tough negotiator' and calls for Henry Kissinger, who also fails at the negotiations, before Reagan finally resorts to Bonzo the chimpanzee.
* PlayingAgainstType: LeonardNimoy fails horribly at this in spite of himself.
-->[[Creator/WilliamShakespeare To be or not to be, that is...]] [[Franchise/StarTrek illogical, captain!]]
* ReasoningWithGod: Inverted when Ian Paisley badgers God in order to get him to curse Gerry Adams with boils and locusts etc., while God tries to talk him out of it.
* RefugeInAudacity: Frequently, but most notably Thatcher taking advice from an elderly Hitler and the entire Conservative cabinet singing ''[[{{Cabaret}} Tomorrow Belongs To Me]].''
* RunningGag:
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_John_Bingham,_7th_Earl_of_Lucan Lord Lucan]] showing up in multiple roles.
** John Cole getting hit in the head with a golf club. In one episode's [[TheStinger ending]] he finally manages to dodge it.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: Any sketch with Jonathan Miller.
* ShoutOut: One to both ''{{Dallas}}'' and ''Film/{{Psycho}}'' which takes place in alternate reality where Margaret dreamed being in power and EdwardHeath was still prime minister. She then stabs him in the shower, spraying the walls with [[StealthPun blue blood]].
* SketchComedy
* SpiritualSuccessor: The successor to ''NotTheNineOClockNews''. The spiritual successors to ''Spitting Image'' itself were the traditionally animated ''2DTV'', the live action ''[[Series.DeadRingers Dead Ringers]]'' and the CGI ''{{Headcases}}'' (the latter was the only one which was actually advertised as a successor to ''Spitting Image'', but it was probably the least successful).
* TheStarscream: Michael Heseltine, by the end of Thatcher's tenure. Not that he ever got to be PrimeMinister, even after he helped force her out.
* StiffUpperLip: Margaret on cruise missiles being deployed in Britain:
-->"How many times do we have to go through this? All it takes is the right attitude and you can withstand anything."
* SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion: All variations of the chorus for "I've Never Met a Nice South African"
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: "I've Never Met a Nice South African"
** And ''Every Bomb You Drop''
* ThrowItIn: The only reason Geoffrey Howe missed out on the dancing in ''In the Mood'' was that the puppeteer got too tired since Howe was one of the heavier puppets and decided that he really needed to take a break.
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: The US's much less biting ''DCFollies''
* TruckDriversGearChange: Parodied to death in "The Chicken Song."
* UnusualEuphemism: "Mr. Wobble Hides his Helmet".
* YourHeadASplode: David Coleman's head explodes as a result of hyperactive commentating.
** So did Norma Major's head in one of the "pea dinner" sketches.
----

to:

[[quoteright:185:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spitting-image_185.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:185:[[TakeThat Just like the real thing.]]]]''Spitting Image'' was a British satirical puppet show which ran on {{ITV}} from 1984 to 1996. It was produced by Spitting Image Productions for Central. The series was nominated for 10 BAFTA Awards, [[AwardSnub winning only one]], for editing, in 1989.

It could possibly be one of the most influential shows in British television history. By virtue of using puppets they could get away with things that other shows could not.

For the entirety of the show's run, Britain was ruled by the Conservative Party, so the government (and especially MargaretThatcher) was the show's favourite target. However, it did not spare the opposition parties, or other countries' leaders, or celebrities outside politics. Probably the most acerbically targeted country was apartheid South Africa.

The show ultimately ended due to the fact that they couldn't afford the new puppets they would need for a change of government; that, and the relatively bland composition of the JohnMajor government, which lacked the epic grandeur of the Thatcher years and - with the notable exception of Major himself - almost defied satire. Budgetary reasons make a revival too expensive.

The show has had several [[SpiritualSuccessor Spiritual Successors]] such as the traditional animation ''2DTV'' and CGI ''Headcases'', but none have ever matched its popularity. The concept was brought overseas and foreign remakes have been made in [[Series/LesGuignolsDeLInfo France]], [[Series/HurraDeutschland Germany]], the USA, Portugal, India, Russia and Israel among others, with varying degrees of popularity -- some bombed, others have outlasted the British original.

The show's team is also responsible for the famous video for "Music/LandOfConfusion" by Music/{{Genesis}}, which features puppets of noted personalities (and the three members of the band) similar to those featured on the show.

----
!!Famous sketches/themes include:

* '''The Chicken Song''': A parody of annoyingly catchy summer hits like ''Agadoo'', which naturally underwent {{Defictionalization}} and itself became a number one single.
** '''I've Never Met A Nice South African''': Musical number about the apartheid regime's abuses (and the West cosying up to it). The B side of The Chicken Song.
** '''Go Now''': A cover of Music/TheMoodyBlues hit, sung by the entire House of Commons, The Queen and eventually the entire country to Margeret Thatcher to tell her that she should resign. (It wasn't long before the real Thatcher did)
** ''Every Bomb You Drop'', to the tune of ''Every Breath You Take'' by ThePolice (and actually featuring Sting on vocals) served as a massive TheReasonYouSuckSpeech to the major political figures of the era.
* '''Thatcher's Cabinet at the Restaurant''': Mrs Thatcher's cabinet eat at a restaurant; she orders a raw steak, and when asked "What about the vegetables?" replies "They'll have the same as I'm having." (This line entered her legend, and people later thought she had really said it.)
** According to ''PrivateEye'', one ''Cabinet minister'' not only thought he was ''there'' when she said it, but [[CannotTellAJoke totally screwed up the punchline]] ("And the waitress asked 'what will the vegetables have?'")
* '''The President's Brain is Missing''': A series in which RonaldReagan's tiny brain makes a bid for freedom, at one point crawling into the dead Premier Chernenko's head and reanimating him to try and run the Soviet Union on American Republican lines. Half the jokes it coined were later lazily recycled by SpiritualSuccessor ''2DTV'' for GeorgeWBush.
* '''John Major and the Peas''': Captured the public vision of JohnMajor as dull and boring by literally giving him grey skin and having him indulge in inane conversations over peas with his wife Norma. It was also suggested that he had a crush on Virginia Bottomley, the writers proceeding to kick themselves for not choosing [[ReverseFunnyAneurysm Edwina Currie]] instead.
* '''The Two Davids''': The Liberal-SDP Alliance was portrayed as an unequal partnership between the dominating SDP leader David Owen and the shy, literally smaller Liberal leader David Steel. Steel later blamed his depiction for ruining his career- Steel was taller!
** In fact, this was subverted in real life as most historical sources confirm Steel was the more influential of the two (he also maintained a longer career in the House).
** David Owen was also portrayed as a cynical opportunist, to the extent that he was sometimes seen on both sides of the House of Commons ''at the same time''.
* '''Herr von Willcox''': Margaret Thatcher's neighbour is an aged AdolfHitler living under the alias "Herr von Willcox", who gives her advice on governance.
-->''"Wiz you zere, I feel like I already run ze place."''
-->'''"von Willcox":''' "First you need ze SS."
-->'''Thatcher:''' "Don't you mean SAS?"
-->'''"von Willcox":''' "I know vat I mean."
* '''Home for Retired [=PMs=]''': All the living retired Prime Ministers (such as EdwardHeath, HaroldMacmillan and HaroldWilson) live in a retirement home which they view as a prison camp and plot to escape from.
** With [[QueenVicky Queen Victoria]] filling in for [[OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest Nurse Ratched]].
* '''Paul Daniels''': "One Man and His Wig".
* '''Mary Whitehouse''': often seen in early episodes watching the show and simultaneously writing in to complain, overtly disgusted and yet secretly fascinated by it.
* '''The Royal Family''': Portrayed as a dysfunctional and yet somehow very relatable family:
** The Queen: seemed to be the most "normal" one of the bunch. Wore a rainmate and a tiara. Enjoys winding up Thatcher. Experiences occasional bouts of absentmindedness e.g forgetting to Troop the Colour or rifling through dustbins.
** Prince Philip: Prone to public gaffes. Perpetually in uniform and loves hunting. It appears that he and the Queen are quite HappilyMarried - he helps her to fake her own death and Troops the Colour for her in exchange for kebabs for breakfast.
** Prince Charles: Unpopular with the public and fond of New-Age. Seen talking to his vegetables at dinner.
** Princess Diana: The celebrity of the Royal Family, but slow-witted and [[invoked]] [[HarsherInHindsight hungry for publicity]]. Thought at one point her life was a soap opera in the most literal sense.
** Prince Andrew: A womanizer, often seen winding up Charles.
** Princess Anne: Rarely seen - generally a bit down in the mouth. Likes her horses.
** Prince Edward: A wimpy student.
** Princess Margaret: Constantly completely sloshed.
** The Queen Mother: A stereotypical drunken grandma with a Birmingham accent. Also fond of the horses, but more on the Ladbrokes side of things.

----
!!Tropes of ''SpittingImage'':
* AmusingInjuries: Since puppets are central to the show: it features a lot of slapping and punching around.
* AnachronismStew: The show mostly centered around events that were topical in the 1980s and 1990s, but some sketches put the celebrities in a historical context. Also, sometimes celebrities who had already passed away years before the show debuted were featured on the show, like TheMarxBrothers, LaurelAndHardy, ElvisPresley, BingCrosby, WinstonChurchill, AdolfHitler, BenitoMussolini, ...
* BadCopIncompetentCop: If you replace the words 'cop' with 'politician', you have the show's general portrayal of the Conservatives and Labour. To be exact, they portray the conservatives as evil money-hungry people with victorian values (and empathy), but point out that Labour was too incompetent to be worth voting for, so no-one did.
* BilingualBonus: You can hear President Mitterrand call Margaret a cow at one point. Plus the other puppet in the Ian Paisley ''Night Thoughts'' sketch is actually doing [[ShownTheirWork proper sign language]].
** In the Derek Jameson sketch about German television, Chris Barrie is speaking real German.
* {{Blackface}}: Parodied with the "The White & White Minstrel Show". [[InvertedTrope Black people with whitefaces]] singing about Apartheid South Africa where "blackfaces don't belong with blacks".
* BlandNameProduct: [[IncrediblyLamePun Fauna]] Lo-cal Spread anyone?
** Reptiles Bland Blend Coffee, tastes more like [[LargeHam Donald Sinden]] than ever before!
* BritishNewspapers: Frequently parodied the adverts used to sell these:
--> "The Daily Telegraph - for Boring Old Toads."
* BritishStuffiness: In the 'British Revolution' arc, the 'people power' revolutions that brought down communism in Eastern Europe finally reach Britain - but are carried out in a far more...''refined'' manner.
--> '''Newsreader''': "Elsewhere, there are sporadic clashes between the army and the police..."
--> '''Policeman''' ''(pointing at tank)'': "Excuse me sir, is this your vehicle?"
--> '''Soldier''': "Look, I can explain, there's been a revolution!"
--> '''Policeman''': "I can't help that sir. You're on a double yellow."
* ButtMonkey: Sir Geoffrey Howe for the Conservatives, Michael Foot and Gerald Kaufman for the Labour Party.
* CallBack: After John Major became Prime Minister, Major takes his cabinet out to dinner a la the "Thatcher's Cabinet at the Restaurant" sketch. When the waitress asks Major about the vegetables, the entire cast save Major anxiously awaits the classic punchline, only for Major to respond "peas and carrots."
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Justified with the disappearance of the Terry Waite puppet, as his real life counterpart was kidnapped in 1987. He had previously been seen on the show returning from negotiations abroad with lots of duty-free shopping for the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie.
** Also, whenever a celebrity died or disappeared from the public eye, he was usually removed from appearing in the show
* ConspiracyTheorist: HAROLD ANGRYPERSON.
* CreatorBacklash: Co-creator Peter Fluck has gone so far to claim he "hates puppets" in an interview with The Guardian. Back in 2000 he planned to throw all the 900 and counting puppets of the original show on a bonfire because he was so sick of them. Luckily someone got a better idea and decided to simply auction them.
* CrossDressingVoices: Steve Nallon as MargaretThatcher.
* EnfantTerrible: Prince William in the early series.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first season pales compared to later seasons. The pilot episode had a laugh track (which was abandoned quickly from the next episode on). Certain puppets sound different because the voice actors didn't always comically exaggerate the voices of the lampooned celebrities in the first season. Many episodes in the first season follow plot lines that are continued like a chronological series, while later seasons were always stand alone episodes. And certain puppets went thru consideral makeovers throughout the seasons. For example: Queen Elizabeth's hair was made grey as her real life counterpart got older too. Margaret Thatcher's puppet also became more grotesque.
* FanDisservice: A surprising amount of sketches depict Maggie with her shirt off.
* FelonyMisdemeanor: One sketch, parodying American cop drama, has a guy arrested for not cleaning his shoes, taking leaflets from a bank with no intention of opening an account and breaking the spines of books he borrows.
* {{Flanderization}}: Arguably, as the years progressed the show became less about political satire per se, and more about the antics of absurdist caricatures of politicians, which had evolved in rather extreme ways. Thatcher, for instance, increasingly became a run-of-the-mill tyrant, whose extreme brand of supervillian evil stopped being much of a commentary on British conservatism. Many other politicians similarly evolved into various stock characters that eclipsed their original politicized roots, for example Norman Tebbit as a skinhead, Cecil Parkinson as the Cabinet's resident [[TheCasanova Casanova]], John Major as a dullard, and Kenneth Baker, originally depicted as an oozing sycophant, who literally became a slug in later episodes.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Lots of funny stuff is happening in the background of many scenes. Characters beating each other up or appearing in a weird context.
* GagBoobs: Claire Rayner.
* GlassShatteringSound: Thatcher's voice in one sketch. Then she got voice coaching... and ended up sounding like Hitler.
* GoodAngelBadAngel: Neil Kinnock has Michael Foot as his angel and Jim Callaghan as his devil while he wrestles over whether or not to reappear on ''The Tube''. [[spoiler: He compromises by saying that he can't as he is rehearsing for ''LastOfTheSummerWine'', which pleases them both.]]
* HenpeckedHusband: Denis Thatcher.
* {{Homage}}: Several. The most famous one was probably their tribute to ''{{Cabaret}}'' with the Tory parties singing ''[[ThoseWackyNazis Tomorrow Belongs to Me]]''.
* HomoeroticSubtext: Politicians David Owen and David Steele, whose parties merged into one. They were often depicted as gay lovers, PlayedForLaughs.
* IHaveThisFriend: MikhailGorbachev has a friend who runs a large communist country and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwHkmfWJCAo who has a nuclear reactor spewing radiation all over most of Europe.]]
* InsultBackfire: Norman Tebbit reportedly enjoyed his portrayal as a leather-clad bovver boy.
* KavorkaMan: Henry Kissinger.
* LargeHam: John Gielgud and LaurenceOlivier.
** Donald Sinden. For example, a sketch features Sinden going into a restaurant and asking, in his plummiest tones, if they serve a ham salad. "Yes sir", replies the waiter. "We serve salad to anyone".
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: The show had literally hundreds of puppets!
* LyricalDissonance: "What a Wonderful World" becomes "We've Ruined the World."
** ''Spitting'' Image did this a lot, though, from a cheerful [=Paul McCartney=]-esque folk song about murdering estate agents (complete with violent, bloody non-slapstick visuals), the Four Horsemen singing about how "every silver lining has a cloud, and it won't be alright on the night" and General Pinochet singing a Chas-&-Dave style number about the joys of nuclear war. Probably freaked out a few kids.
* MyCountryTisOfTheeThatISting: The show spared no-one, including the United Kingdom itself!
* MultiNationalShows: Three "Spitting Image" specials produced for the American Market and aired on NBC, one taking aim at the White House, one at Hollywood, and one at Ronnie Reagan in a parody of 50s sitcoms. Spitting Image has also inspired many international equivalents: Sid and Marty Kroff's ''DCFollies'', France's ''Series/LesGuignolsDeLInfo'', Germany's ''Hurra Deutschland'' and Italy's ''[[TheNineties Gommapiuma]]'' as well as ''[[TheNewTens Gli Sgommati]]''.
* NoIndoorVoice:
** HAROLD ANGRYPERSON
** AND [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAN-uPZN9EU BRIAN BLESSED TOO.]] HOW PREDICTABLE!!
* OfCorpseHesAlive: The Soviets try to pretend Premier Chernenko is still alive and prop up his corpse at the negotiating table with RonaldReagan. Reagan finds him 'a tough negotiator' and calls for Henry Kissinger, who also fails at the negotiations, before Reagan finally resorts to Bonzo the chimpanzee.
* PlayingAgainstType: LeonardNimoy fails horribly at this in spite of himself.
-->[[Creator/WilliamShakespeare To be or not to be, that is...]] [[Franchise/StarTrek illogical, captain!]]
* ReasoningWithGod: Inverted when Ian Paisley badgers God in order to get him to curse Gerry Adams with boils and locusts etc., while God tries to talk him out of it.
* RefugeInAudacity: Frequently, but most notably Thatcher taking advice from an elderly Hitler and the entire Conservative cabinet singing ''[[{{Cabaret}} Tomorrow Belongs To Me]].''
* RunningGag:
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_John_Bingham,_7th_Earl_of_Lucan Lord Lucan]] showing up in multiple roles.
** John Cole getting hit in the head with a golf club. In one episode's [[TheStinger ending]] he finally manages to dodge it.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: Any sketch with Jonathan Miller.
* ShoutOut: One to both ''{{Dallas}}'' and ''Film/{{Psycho}}'' which takes place in alternate reality where Margaret dreamed being in power and EdwardHeath was still prime minister. She then stabs him in the shower, spraying the walls with [[StealthPun blue blood]].
* SketchComedy
* SpiritualSuccessor: The successor to ''NotTheNineOClockNews''. The spiritual successors to ''Spitting Image'' itself were the traditionally animated ''2DTV'', the live action ''[[Series.DeadRingers Dead Ringers]]'' and the CGI ''{{Headcases}}'' (the latter was the only one which was actually advertised as a successor to ''Spitting Image'', but it was probably the least successful).
* TheStarscream: Michael Heseltine, by the end of Thatcher's tenure. Not that he ever got to be PrimeMinister, even after he helped force her out.
* StiffUpperLip: Margaret on cruise missiles being deployed in Britain:
-->"How many times do we have to go through this? All it takes is the right attitude and you can withstand anything."
* SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion: All variations of the chorus for "I've Never Met a Nice South African"
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: "I've Never Met a Nice South African"
** And ''Every Bomb You Drop''
* ThrowItIn: The only reason Geoffrey Howe missed out on the dancing in ''In the Mood'' was that the puppeteer got too tired since Howe was one of the heavier puppets and decided that he really needed to take a break.
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: The US's much less biting ''DCFollies''
* TruckDriversGearChange: Parodied to death in "The Chicken Song."
* UnusualEuphemism: "Mr. Wobble Hides his Helmet".
* YourHeadASplode: David Coleman's head explodes as a result of hyperactive commentating.
** So did Norma Major's head in one of the "pea dinner" sketches.
----
[[redirect:Series/SpittingImage]]
25th Aug '13 11:21:12 AM Patachou
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to:

* AmusingInjuries: Since puppets are central to the show: it features a lot of slapping and punching around.
* AnachronismStew: The show mostly centered around events that were topical in the 1980s and 1990s, but some sketches put the celebrities in a historical context. Also, sometimes celebrities who had already passed away years before the show debuted were featured on the show, like TheMarxBrothers, LaurelAndHardy, ElvisPresley, BingCrosby, WinstonChurchill, AdolfHitler, BenitoMussolini, ...



* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Justitfied with the disappearance of the Terry Waite puppet, as his real life counterpart was kidnapped in 1987. He had previously been seen on the show returning from negotiations abroad with lots of duty-free shopping for the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie.

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* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Justitfied Justified with the disappearance of the Terry Waite puppet, as his real life counterpart was kidnapped in 1987. He had previously been seen on the show returning from negotiations abroad with lots of duty-free shopping for the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie.
** Also, whenever a celebrity died or disappeared from the public eye, he was usually removed from appearing in the show



* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Lots of funny stuff is happening in the background of many scenes. Characters beating each other up or appearing in a weird context.



* HomoeroticSubtext: The Two Davids. PlayedForLaughs.

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* HomoeroticSubtext: The Two Davids. Politicians David Owen and David Steele, whose parties merged into one. They were often depicted as gay lovers, PlayedForLaughs.



* KavorkaMan: Henry Kissenger.

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* KavorkaMan: Henry Kissenger.Kissinger.



* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: The show had literally hundreds of puppets!



* StiffUpperLip: Margaret on Cruise missiles being deployed in Britain:

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* StiffUpperLip: Margaret on Cruise cruise missiles being deployed in Britain:
12th Jul '13 6:44:20 AM Patachou
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* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first season pales compared to later seasons. The pilot episode had a laugh track (which was abandoned quickly from the next episode on). Certain puppets look and sound different because the voice actors didn't always comically exaggerate the voices of the lampooned celebrities in the first season. Many episodes in the first season follow plot lines that are continued like a chronological series, while later seasons were always stand alone episodes.

to:

* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first season pales compared to later seasons. The pilot episode had a laugh track (which was abandoned quickly from the next episode on). Certain puppets look and sound different because the voice actors didn't always comically exaggerate the voices of the lampooned celebrities in the first season. Many episodes in the first season follow plot lines that are continued like a chronological series, while later seasons were always stand alone episodes. And certain puppets went thru consideral makeovers throughout the seasons. For example: Queen Elizabeth's hair was made grey as her real life counterpart got older too. Margaret Thatcher's puppet also became more grotesque.



* MyCountryTisOfTheeThatISting: The show spared no-one, including the United Kingdom itself!



* SpiritualSuccessor: The successor to ''NotTheNineOClockNews''. The spiritual successors to ''Spitting Image'' itself were the traditionally animated ''2DTV'', the live action ''[[Series.DeadRingers Dead Ringers]]'' and the CGI ''{{Headcases}}'' (the latter was the only one which was actually advertised as a successor ''Spitting Image'', but it was probably the least successful).

to:

* SpiritualSuccessor: The successor to ''NotTheNineOClockNews''. The spiritual successors to ''Spitting Image'' itself were the traditionally animated ''2DTV'', the live action ''[[Series.DeadRingers Dead Ringers]]'' and the CGI ''{{Headcases}}'' (the latter was the only one which was actually advertised as a successor to ''Spitting Image'', but it was probably the least successful).
15th Apr '13 12:48:49 PM Patachou
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Added DiffLines:

* CreatorBacklash: Co-creator Peter Fluck has gone so far to claim he "hates puppets" in an interview with The Guardian. Back in 2000 he planned to throw all the 900 and counting puppets of the original show on a bonfire because he was so sick of them. Luckily someone got a better idea and decided to simply auction them.
10th Apr '13 1:56:13 PM teddthebucfan
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* ButtMonkey: Sir Geoffrey Howe.

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* ButtMonkey: Sir Geoffrey Howe.Howe for the Conservatives, Michael Foot and Gerald Kaufman for the Labour Party.
8th Apr '13 11:01:59 AM teddthebucfan
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* IHaveThisFriend: MikhailGorbachev has a friend who runs a large communist country and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwHkmfWJCAo who has a nuclear reactor spewing radiation all over most of Europe.]]



* RunningGag: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_John_Bingham,_7th_Earl_of_Lucan Lord Lucan]] showing up in multiple roles.

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* RunningGag: RunningGag:
**
[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_John_Bingham,_7th_Earl_of_Lucan Lord Lucan]] showing up in multiple roles.roles.
** John Cole getting hit in the head with a golf club. In one episode's [[TheStinger ending]] he finally manages to dodge it.
17th Mar '13 2:49:04 PM JIKTV
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The show's team is also responsible for the famous video for "LandOfConfusion" by Music/{{Genesis}}, which features puppets of noted personalities (and the three members of the band) similar to those featured on the show.

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The show's team is also responsible for the famous video for "LandOfConfusion" "Music/LandOfConfusion" by Music/{{Genesis}}, which features puppets of noted personalities (and the three members of the band) similar to those featured on the show.
4th Mar '13 7:29:20 AM GhostOfAGeek
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** Princess Diana: The celebrity of the Royal Family, but slow-witted and [[HarsherInHindsight hungry for publicity]]. Thought at one point her life was a soap opera in the most literal sense.

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** Princess Diana: The celebrity of the Royal Family, but slow-witted and [[invoked]] [[HarsherInHindsight hungry for publicity]]. Thought at one point her life was a soap opera in the most literal sense.
1st Mar '13 10:06:49 AM GhostOfAGeek
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'''Famous sketches/themes include:'''

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\n'''Famous ----
!!Famous
sketches/themes include:'''
include:



!Tropes of SpittingImage

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!Tropes ----
!!Tropes
of SpittingImage''SpittingImage'':



10th Dec '12 8:46:41 PM teddthebucfan
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* CallBack: After John Major became Prime Minister, Major takes his cabinet out to dinner a la the '''Thatcher's Cabinet at the Restaurant''' sketch. When the waitress asks Major about the vegetables, the entire cast save Major anxiously awaits the classic punchline, only for Major to respond "peas and carrots."

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* CallBack: After John Major became Prime Minister, Major takes his cabinet out to dinner a la the '''Thatcher's "Thatcher's Cabinet at the Restaurant''' Restaurant" sketch. When the waitress asks Major about the vegetables, the entire cast save Major anxiously awaits the classic punchline, only for Major to respond "peas and carrots."
This list shows the last 10 events of 77. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.SpittingImage