Spitting Image has been cancelled after just two seasons following criticisms that the political satire was ‘toothless’ and ‘too woke.’
The programme, which was resurrected for BritBox after a 24-year hiatus, has not been renewed for a third series, the streaming platform confirmed to MailOnline on Tuesday.
The revamped Spitting Image returned in 2020 and aired on streaming platform Britbox, which is a joint venture run by the BBC and ITV.
The show used puppets, voiced by comedians, to depict the likes of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Piers Morgan.
BritBox linked the cancellation to the ‘impending launch’ of the television hub’s new streaming service ITVX, which will offer subscribers access to all BritBox and ITV Hub content.
The satirical series originally ran for 18 series between 1984 and 1996.
Spitting Image has been cancelled after just two seasons following criticisms that the political satire was ‘toothless’ and ‘too woke.’ Pictured: The Boris Johnson puppet featured in the Spitting Image revival series
The programme, which was resurrected for BritBox after a 24-year hiatus, has not been renewed for a third series, the streaming platform confirmed to MailOnline. Pictured: The show’s Meghan Markle and Prince Harry puppets
‘BritBox won’t be airing any additional original commissions due to the impending launch of ITVX,’ the streaming platform told MailOnline.
‘A Spitting Image commission for ITV has not been confirmed or announced.’
The programme, which had a peak audience of 15million viewers in the 1980s, has been described as being ‘incredibly expensive’ to produce.
Reports indicate production spent around £10,000 on each individual puppet used in the show.
Matt Forde (pictured), the comic and impressionist who voiced Boris Johnson and Donald Trump in the new series, argued the fact that Spitting Image aired on BritBox heavily contributed to its less-than-desired ratings
Additionally, the revival series did not have the viewership of the original.
Spitting Image’s 2020 Halloween special, which was broadcast on ITV, saw 3.2million viewers. The following year’s special was watched by 1.97million people.
Ratings seemingly declined even more when only 827,000 people tuned in for the 2021 Christmas special.
Matt Forde, the comic and impressionist who voiced Boris Johnson and Donald Trump in the reboot, argued the fact that Spitting Image aired on BritBox heavily contributed to its less-than-desired ratings.
‘I thought it was madness not to have the whole series on mainstream ITV,’ he told i Newspaper. ‘They spent all that money bringing back this mega-brand only to hide it away on BritBox.
‘It should have been on ITV, Channel 4, the BBC or Sky, where everyone could see it.
‘It got crazy numbers when the specials were on ITV and the online figures were going through the roof.’
He added. ‘I just can’t believe it’s not on a mainstream channel at a time like this.’
Mr Forde also claimed the show was cancelled during a time when there is a ‘huge public appetite’ for political satire in the UK.
‘There’s a dearth of satire and it’s such a tragedy,’ he explained. ‘There is a great public desire to see politicians lampooned but it’s not reflected on TV.
‘We don’t have a Daily Show or a Stephen Colbert Late Show like in the US. It’s bonkers not to have a topical comedy show on all the time, you can’t just give it six weeks.
‘It takes a show time to bed in and find an audience. It’s never been tried here.’
Spitting Image has been heavily criticised since it was first rebooted in 2020. After it’s initial launch, the programme was also slammed online as being ‘poorly written’ and ‘too woke.’ Pictured: The Greta Thunberg puppet featured in the show’s Christmas special
Tennis star Emma Raducanu also appeared in the Spitting Image Christmas special
Last year, the writers of Spitting Image faced a backlash after depicting Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, as ‘annoying, outspoken feminist superhero’ who uses her ‘big v*g’ and ‘big t*ts’ to fight crime
However, viewers claim the show was cancelled because it ‘wasn’t funny or satirical’ and was ‘absolutely s**t under Matt Forde.’
‘I don’t think anyone will miss the current version of Spitting Image after it’s axing,’ viewer Stephen Moran tweeted. ‘It was p**s poor, lacked the bite of the original, devoid of humour, and had dreadful voice overs.’
David Cheetham echoed: ‘I think nobody who watched a couple of episodes of the revived Spitting Image would be in any doubt as to why it was cancelled. It was truly abysmal.’
‘Worth remembering that as well as being weird misogynistic garbage, Spitting Image simply wasn’t funny or satirical,’ another said, adding: ‘And Matt Forde is a talentless hack.’
Elaine Scattermoon chimed in: ‘It’s always a shame to lose cutting and insightful political satire that dares to poke fun at those who are at the top of the ladder.
‘Thankfully though the new Spitting Image under Matt Forde wasn’t anything like that. Next time get Chris Morris instead.’
Viewers claim the show was cancelled because it ‘wasn’t funny or satirical’ and was ‘absolutely s**t under Matt Forde’
Others noted the programme’s content was the leading cause to its cancellation, with one Twitter user saying: ‘Every scene I’ve seen has put me off.’
Spitting Image has been heavily criticised since it was first rebooted in 2020.
After it’s initial launch, the programme was also slammed online as being ‘poorly written’ and ‘too woke.’
Viewers claimed it lacked the comedy depicted in the original series.
Comedian Chris Morris branded the show as ‘toothless’ and claimed it ‘placates the court.’
Spitting Image was also met with major backlash last year when a ‘horrible’ sketch presented Jess Phillips as a superhero who uses her ‘big v*g’ and ‘big t*ts’ to fight crime – despite the Labour MP previously being the target of death and rape threats.
The four-minute clip depicts the MP for Birmingham Yardley as ‘Viral’, an ‘annoying outspoken feminist superhero who wants to make Labour more electable’.
At the time, comedian Rachel Parris, who said she had good friends working on the show, described it as ‘f***ing horrible’.