Spitting Image writer says ‘nothing should be off-limits’ when creating the show

By By Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter

Nothing is off-limits for Spitting Image but the satirical puppet show should not “slag everyone off for the sake of it”, one of its writers has said.

The revived series is back for a second season on the Britbox subscription service, with Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and TV fitness expert Joe Wicks all set to feature.

During its original run in the 1980s, Spitting Image was known for its cutting portrayals of household names.

Credit: Mark Harrison

Bert Tyler-Moore, a writer and associate producer on the new episodes of Spitting Image, said “the world has become more sensitive” and those working on the show must adjust accordingly.

He told the PA news agency: “I think there is a feeling that nothing should be off-limits. If something comes up in the news, we shouldn’t be afraid of anything.

“But the world has become more sensitive, particularly the last five years, so I guess you just find ways of doing things. So, it’s not avoiding the issues, it’s just like, ‘Oh, how can we do that?’

“So that we have characters like Marcus Rushford, who absolutely should be on the show because he’s a topical guy who’s doing lots, but you kind of don’t want to have a go at him because he’s great.

“So our way of doing Marcus is that he’s kind of the foil to other people who are rubbish.

“So I think we’ve got a sketch where he’s just more or less doing all the things that the government should be doing, which is true.

“So you just have to be a bit more thoughtful, you can’t just slag everyone off for the sake of it.”

Tyler-Moore said he was unaware of any celebrity complaining about being featured on Spitting Image, adding it may actually be “a bit flattering because the show has such a history”.

While many scenes are prepared and filmed in advance, some are made on the fly as the show reacts to breaking news.

Last season 200 sets were built and so far more than 170 puppets have been prepared for the upcoming season.

(Mark Harrison)

In order to be brought to life, each puppet goes through a 10-stage process involving specialist caricaturists, sculptors, moulders, hair and costume designers, painters, mechanics, puppeteers and voice artists.

Among the new additions are England’s football heroes – including Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane – following their journey to the Euro 2020 final over the summer.

As well as the UK version of Spitting Image, this year there will also be a German edition, featuring its own writing team sending up figures including supermodel Heidi Klum and politician Angela Merkel.

The new series of Spitting Image is available exclusively on BritBox UK from September 11.


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