Headcases. Fun and Frivolity with Gordon Brown. Picture shows the characters Gordon Brown (back) and Alistair Darling (front). Copyright: Red Vision.

Headcases

ITV sketch show. 8 episodes (1 series) in 2008. Stars Adam Longworth, Rory Bremner, Dan Skinner, Omid Djalili, Justin Edwards, Tom Hollander, Jess Robinson and others.

Press Clippings

Variety on Headcases

A column from America about Headcases

Steve Clarke, Variety, 18th April 2008

The show started on a vaguely positive note, with French president Sarcozy singing and dancing along to Mr Bombastic, but I have to say that the level didn't ever really rise much higher than that, and apart from the odd smile, none of the sketches had a massive affect on me.

That's not to say that this isn't a laudable idea, and I was pleased to see that the viewers were never patronised. But it has to be said that some of the satire was achingly obvious, such as casting Cameron as top-hat wearing toff, and Princes William and Harry trying to be 'down with the kids'.

A lot of the sketches really missed the mark, and the ones that worked weren't really enough to save the show overall. But as I said, the idea for the programme is still a good one, and I'll be watching to see how the show progresses, as its up-to-date nature means that they will be able to chart which sketches work, and which should be ditched.

annawaits, TV Scoop, 7th April 2008

Headcases follows on from where Spitting Images left off, except that latex puppets are so yesterday. Last night, we were treated to high-class computer animation normally only seen in children's films, turned out at twice the speed at which Hollywood works.

The quality was dazzling; the only thing in short supply was good jokes. So Posh Spice has ambitions beyond the range of her talents. It is not what you call breaking new ground in satirical humour. Dead Ringers did it better by slowing the dialogue down and giving Posh an air of desperation that made you feel almost sorry for her. The Headcases Posh was a spoilt brat with a sharp tongue.

There was one skit that was sheer joy throughout. This was princes William and Harry ringing out for a pizza, in an attempt to be down with the council estate kids. "Great bit of down to earth banter, bro," one prince told the other. Great bit of writing, too.

Andy McSmith, The Independent, 7th April 2008

Well, on first viewing Headcases is halfway there. Gone are the brilliantly OTT rubber puppets that made Spitting Image such a hoot, replaced with so-so animation.

But what the caricatures lacked in laughable looks they made up for with gags. The ultra-vain Victoria Beckham serving Steven Spielberg a naff Vienetta while boasting about her movie-star appeal raised a chuckle.

"Chav dames" Helen Mirren and Judi Dench bitching their way around Hollywood was another gem.

The Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty junky characters didn't quite work. But, with a nod to Spitting Image's political past, the pelvis-pumping Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown as Scrooge were inspired.

Worth sticking with.

The Sun, 7th April 2008

It's Spitting Image for the Shrek generation. And it's dead funny, especially the two Princes, who call each other "blood" and "broski", and do ridiculous Sloane Ranger hip-hop things with their hands.

The writing's as sharp as you like, and there are some beautiful details. It's amazing that when Harry puts the stress on the second bit of Sugababes, it immediately becomes funny. Good voices too.

I don't love the way it looks, though. It's obviously extremely hi-tech CGI animation; teams of computer wizards have clearly spent ages getting it exactly right. But that's a bit what it feels like - a team effort, rather than one individual's visual take on these people. If anything, it's too good - too perfect.

I'm not a big fan of even the very best 3D CGI animation. There's something 2D about it, weirdly. I also think - and this probably makes me an old fool - there's something soulless about it.

Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 7th April 2008

The thing that made Spitting Image brilliant was that the puppets were so entertaining there was something to watch even when the script was dubious.

This show, which uses 3D CGI animation, loses that essence and leaves you feeling as if you're watching Disney with swearing.

Amy Packer, The Daily Express, 6th April 2008

Peter Fluck interview

As one half of the famously anarchic creators of Spitting Image, Peter Fluck's initial assessment of Headcases is decidedly lukewarm.

Ian Johnston, The Independent, 6th April 2008

Satirists once had real bite. Not any more

Nick Cohen, The Observer, 6th April 2008

If Headcases isn't cruel, it won't work

The Times asks if Headcases will have the core of viciousness common to great satire through the ages?

Matthew Parris, The Times, 4th April 2008

Spitting Image loses the latex but stays satirical and sharp

Adam Sherwin, The Times, 28th March 2008