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JAN MOIR reviews Spitting Image

JAN MOIR: It’s no joke – Spitting Image’s new marvels of boneless spite are let down by lame scripts

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Spitting Image, Britbox

Rating:

You won’t be surprised to hear that the Conservatives come in for a terrible thrashing. Quite literally in the form of Priti Patel, who has been turned into a leather-clad dominatrix determined to give Michael Gove a taste of her whip.

‘What repulsive kink do you want today?’ she growls at him in her padded dungeon, before going on to state that all immigration is banned henceforth ‘except for Israelis’. Eh?

Perhaps it was predictable that the new Spitting Image show has cast the Home Secretary as a demented vampire who will say the unsayable, on every topic from abortions to salad choices. ‘Why do so many young people like rocket?’ she asks. ‘It’s just smelly salad leaves.’ Isn’t she a one! At her side, the yapping Gove is depicted as a man ‘close to orgasm’ because he wants to ‘sell off the NHS’.

Meanwhile Dominic Raab is a karate expert who thinks the country is ‘going to s***’, Dominic Cummings is an alien who eats babies and earthling snacks, while Prime Minister Boris goes back to university because he hears that all the students smoke bongs and have a ‘non-stop rummage in the scrummage’, yaroo.

Perhaps it was predictable that the new Spitting Image show has cast the Home Secretary as a demented vampire who will say the unsayable, on every topic from abortions to salad choices

Perhaps it was predictable that the new Spitting Image show has cast the Home Secretary as a demented vampire who will say the unsayable, on every topic from abortions to salad choices 

There’s a running gag about Johnson not sacking Cummings, which should have them rolling in the aisles if those aisles are in a high security facility for Momentum voters with revenge complexes and a poor grasp of reality.

The only light drubbing – more like a tickle with a red duster – the Opposition receive is the polite suggestion that Keir Starmer might be just a tiny bit boring and needs a ginger-haired Elton John to give him some showbiz pizazz.

Then it’s back to bashing Boris again. Politically, the entire show is about as balanced as a three-legged elephant on a tightrope – and that’s not a very funny gag either. It must be catching. Sadly, the grim level of schoolboy satire and jokes on show in the new Spitting Image is mostly rather poor; all of it dredged up from the kind of restrictive modish thinking that only serves to have a chokehold on hilarity. The credits list more than 18 writers contributing to the 22-minute script for the first episode and by my reckoning, they came up with one good joke between them.

Meanwhile Dominic Raab is a karate expert who thinks the country is ‘going to s***’, Dominic Cummings is an alien who eats babies and earthling snacks, while Prime Minister Boris goes back to university because he hears that all the students smoke bongs and have a ‘non-stop rummage in the scrummage’, yaroo

Meanwhile Dominic Raab is a karate expert who thinks the country is ‘going to s***’, Dominic Cummings is an alien who eats babies and earthling snacks, while Prime Minister Boris goes back to university because he hears that all the students smoke bongs and have a ‘non-stop rummage in the scrummage’, yaroo

Some puppeteering scenarios have potential, but never seem to quite make it past the comic finishing post. For inexplicable reasons, Prince Harry is given a cockney accent and sets out in California to find a job as a driver. Back at home, Meghan greets him with these words: ‘Hey it’s the husband formerly known as prince.’

That is just a waste of everyone’s time. I don’t even want to mention President Trump, who is the colour of baked terracotta, features far too often in the show – he is the easiest of targets, of course – and does something absolutely filthy in bed, but not of the sexual variety.

It is nearly a quarter of a century since Spitting Image was first launched, at a time when Margaret Thatcher led the country, Neil Kinnock led the opposition and Roy Hattersley led the world in the drenching art of the glottal shower. It was sly, hilarious, uproarious and unmissable, becoming a Sunday night must-watch. So far the new version has much to learn from the past, as they dip a big rubberised toe into the whirlpool of satire. Chiefly that it is wrong and imprudent to mistake crudity for audacity.

Then it’s back to bashing Boris again. Politically, the entire show is about as balanced as a three-legged elephant on a tightrope – and that’s not a very funny gag either. It must be catching

Then it’s back to bashing Boris again. Politically, the entire show is about as balanced as a three-legged elephant on a tightrope – and that’s not a very funny gag either. It must be catching

The puppets are marvels of boneless spite, with chins bobbing like glazed apples. However, there are anomalies.

Keir Starmer looks more like Teddy Kennedy, James Corden has a regrettable touch of the Hyacinth Buckets and Piers Morgan looks like someone has stuck a pair of rosebud lips on a fast-deflating udder. I didn’t have a clue who several of the new puppets were and can I just suggest that while New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern is a major darling and heroine of the Left, most of the populace don’t give a hoot about her, even when she is dressed up like Mary Poppins in the show’s grand finale.

And that’s the problem. The difference between Spitting Image now and Spitting Image then is that the former is fatally constipated by being politically correct and the latter didn’t give a glorious damn. Perhaps, like Priti’s whip, it will crack more effectively in the weeks to come.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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