HBO to make Spitting Image series

Saturday 22nd April 2017, 7:32pm

Spitting Image. Copyright: Central Independent Television.

American pay TV network HBO is reportedly set to make a new version of satirical puppet sketch show Spitting Image.

The Sun reports a source saying: "It's a huge project by HBO. Preparation on the famous faces has already begun."

Donald Trump is believed to be one of the key targets, with the source adding: "There has never been more material for political satirists."

However, no official confirmation or announcement has yet been made.

Spitting Image launched in 1984 and soon became one of the most watched programmes on television, with 15 million viewers at its peak. It ran to nearly 150 episodes and won a number of awards but was cancelled by ITV in 1996.

The network had planned to revive the comedy in 2006, but the project fell apart after they included puppet versions of Ant & Dec in the documentary Best Ever Spitting Image, against the wishes of co-creator Roger Law. ITV has, instead, since broadcast animated and CGI satirical shows including Headcases and Newzoids.

In 2015, producer John Lloyd spoke about how Spitting Image could return. He said: "For 12 years a whole generation learned their politics from a late-night comedy show on ITV. The average teenager could name eight or nine members of the Cabinet and three or four members of the opposition."

He also said: "Everybody seems to have residual affection for Spitting Image. It could be scrappy and uneven, but it's rather like a newspaper. You don't expect it to be brilliant every time, but there's something delicious in every edition."

Many of the original British Spitting Image puppets have been sold since the series went off air. Most recently, in February, the puppets of Neil Kinnock and his wife Glenys were sold at auction for £3,400

This is now, however, the first attempt to bring the Spitting Image format to America. In 1986 the original production team made the one-off Spitting Image: Down And Out In The White House special for NBC, and followed it up with further specials titled The Ronnie & Nancy Show, The 1987 Movie Awards, Bumbledown: The Life And Times Of Ronald Reagan and The Sound Of Maggie.

The Sun suggests that the new HBO series will be shown on Sky in the UK, although this has not been confirmed. Further details are expected in due course.

Spitting Image has not been broadcast in Britain for a number of years, but the first twelve series are available on DVD

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