The story of an attempt to start a Russian version of Spitting Image after the fall of Communism was funny and fascinating.
What a terrific half-hour's radio Spitting in Russian turned out to be. The story of how Spitting Image translated to Moscow when ambitious young programme makers there decided to launch TV satire in the newly post-Communist era, it was full of lovely details, rich sardonic cackles - the kind that only satirists do properly - and giddying twists in Russian media freedoms.
Spitting Image co-founder Roger Law made the most charismatic narrator, too, with a healthy relish for the absurd. He reminisced about travelling to Moscow in 1993 to sell the show's franchise, with endless meetings ("they had no real idea how capitalism worked") and less than enthusiastic staff gathering to meet him. They removed their jackets, he remembered, and then "stayed asleep all through my lecture".
The programme also featured an array of clever, funny contributions from experts on Russian media, art and politics. They explained how satire briefly flourished on television, but quickly melted away with the assassination of a television executive connected to a satirical show, and the state takeover of independent stations.
One director who did broadcast a satirical puppet show explained the sudden demise of his popular programme. "If it had been a totalitarian regime," he said, "they would have shot us. Because it's an authoritarian regime, they just closed us down."Guamundur Jonsson, World BB News, 4th January 2010