ITV to make CGI version of Spitting Image

Thursday 17th May 2007, 4:05am

ITV is developing a modern computer animated version of Spitting Image. The new show, which has the working title CGI UK, will differ from the famous satire in that it will use 3D animations, rather than puppets, to caricature and lampoon the famous.

The comedy, which is being made jointly by ITV Productions and RedVision Productions, has been commissioned for an eight episode run by ITV Director of Entertainment Paul Jackson. It is understood Henry Naylor, the lead writer on Spitting Image, has been hired to ensure the new series is just as sharp.

A show insider told Broadcast Magazine: "The series will be rude and irreverent and just about everybody will be in the firing line. There will be lots of sketches but also stories we come back to. We're planning some great stuff on Mohammed Al Fayed, and of course on Tony Blair's new life."

Controller of ITV Productions and Executive Producer Saurabh Kakkar added: "The technology now is of such quality that we aren't restricted - we can go anywhere and tackle most people and subjects."

It is understood that a section of each episode will be created as close to transmission as possible to help ensure the satire is topical.

Spitting Image was a huge hit for ITV between 1984 to 1996. The comedy was credited as bringing about the downfall of many politicians and, with literally hundreds of writers contributing to the show over the years, instrumental in nurturing new talent. Ian Hislop, Rob Grant, Doug Naylor, Richard Curtis, Guy Jenkin, Steve Punt, John Thomson, Chris Barrie, Rory Bremner, Steve Coogan, Hugh Dennis, Harry Enfield, Alistair McGowan and Jan Ravens are just a few of the people to have worked on Spitting Image.

In 2006 ITV1 aired a one-off special of Spitting Image which took a nostalgic look back at the programme's highlights. This special actually stopped ITV1 directly resurrecting the famous satire as they had planned because it featured new puppets of Ant and Dec - a move which was against the wishes of Roger Law, who owns the rights to the Spitting Image brand.

It is likely this new CGI comedy will be similar to 2DTV, the animated satire broadcast on ITV1 between 2001 and 2004. 2DTV lampooned celebrities in a similar style to Spitting Image but used cartoons rather than puppets.

ITV1 is planning to air CGI UK in January 2008.

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