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Last Updated: Monday, 17 May, 2004, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Spitting Image plans ITV return
Spitting Image puppet
The Queen was among dozens of public figures lampooned in latex
Spitting Image producer John Lloyd is in talks with ITV in a bid to bring the satirical series back to the channel.

Mr Lloyd was an original producer of the show, which lampooned politicians and celebrities using latex puppets.

ITV confirmed having "early stage talks" with Mr Lloyd over the show, which originally ran from 1984 to 1996.

The show attracted audiences of up to 15 million in its heyday, sending up the leading politicians and celebrities of the 1980s and 1990s.


Mr Lloyd told The Guardian that the show could return by autumn 2005, and that comics including Rory Bremner, Harry Enfield and John Sessions were interested in voicing characters again.

"Everybody seems to have residual affection for Spitting Image," Mr Lloyd said.

"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."

Michael Portillo with Spitting Image puppet
Michael Portillo examines a Spitting Image puppet of him in 2000
Writers including Love, Actually's Richard Curtis and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop contributed to the programme, with its many targets including Lord Tebbit - shown as a leather-clad biker - and the late Queen Mother, seen as a loud cockney.

In 1985, the late Guinness Book of Records founder Norris McWhirter unsuccessfully tried to sue the Independent Broadcasting Authority, which controlled ITV at the time, after Spitting Image put a picture of his face onto a nude female body.

The show inspired a French version, Les Guignols, and a post-Glasnost Russian version, Kookli.

It also spawned a novelty hit, The Chicken Song, which became a number one single in May 1986.

With its original puppets having been destroyed or sold, Mr Lloyd said a seven-figure investment would be necessary to revive the show.

But he believed the current political climate was ripe with targets for Spitting Image.

"The way things are happening at the moment is much more interesting and dangerous," he told the Media Guardian website. "You've got Michael Howard running the Tories. And Geoff Hoon - oh, what a joy."

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