Belfast Telegraph

ITV hit Spitting Image had celebs running scared

By Anna MAdden

You were only a celebrity in the 1980s and 90s if you had a puppet on the satirical TV show, Spitting Image.

The puppet show was a television phenomenon for 12 years from 1984 to 1996, running for an incredible 18 series.

The show was merciless in its grotesque caricatures of a wide range of celebrities from |politicians to the British Royal Family.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, US president Ronald Reagan, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were regular fixtures on the series which showed little reverence for their positions.

Ian Paisley was one of the easiest characters to lampoon and the puppet appeared frequently on the show with his familiar booming voice.

However, the creators were sensitive to the Northern Ireland audience and balanced Paisley with a banjo-playing Pope John Paul II.

The original idea is credited to graphic designer Martin Lambie-Nairn, who proposed the idea of a satirical TV show featuring puppets to Peter Fluck and Roger Law — two illustrators and sculptors who worked mostly for the print media.

The first Spitting Image puppets were made in 1975 and after years of development it became one of ITV’s most successful ever series.

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