Review: Spitting Image, Britbox

Video: Spitting Image – Johnson And Cummings Plot to Blow Up Parliament

The return of Spitting Image is an interesting one. Much has been made of how the divided society we live in now is similar to the one in the 1980s when this first aired. But even if that is the same, and I'm not sure it is, comedy has changed. At least the speed of delivery of comedy has changed.

When everyone can get an immediate quick fix of funnies from social media do we need a programme like this? Well, at its best, yes. While the programme is clearly good at up-to-the-wire writing and sketches, even they could not have expected the biggest news story in weeks to have happened hours before their launch. Full marks to the team for cannily adding some quickfire Covid-related Trump gags in tweet form at the end of the first episode. I presume a fuller sketch, in which Potus tries to cut a deal with the virus was already in the can, but it is also nicely prescient.

If you want offence you might have to make do with Trump (voiced by comic Matt Forde, while a lot of the women are voiced by impressionist Jess Robinson) writing his tweets with his anal passage (that's not my specialist area, as it were, but I think that's what the pink rubbery tube was)*.

As for the rest of the show some of it was very funny, some of it was so-so. It feels as if it is more about making people laugh than bringing down governments. And if all you want is a laugh it does that well. But it does seem to go easy on Boris Johnson, portraying him more as buffoon than schemer. Dominic Cummings is a Mekon-like comedy alien – albeit a funny one - rather than an evil puppet-master behind the scenes.

The cabinet comedy was mixed. A vampiric Patel and Gove (with what look to me like a cock and balls for nose and cheeks) had a kinky sex chat scene that did the job but I didn't really get Dominic Raab as a martial arts expert teaching Ka-Raab-te. It was never going to be easy getting laughs out of portraying Keir Starmer as bland, but they managed it with John Major first time round. Here they just had Elton John trying to sex Starmer up in some of his old costumes.

Greta Thunberg's weather reporter, with a habit of screaming "Hot!" definitely got her message across. Prince Andrew got whacked with a bat, while nice but dim Prince Harry wondered what jobs he could do now he had quit the family business. Talking of which, there was no return of the Queen or Philip. Maybe they were worried about one of them passing away between filming and streaming. Little did they know that it would be the illness of another old world leader who would nearly put a spanner in the first show's works.

Available now and new episodes on Saturdays on Britbox.

*Update - original co-creator Roger Law, who is back for this run, says it's an extended colon



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