A slap in the face

In the 1980’s I (accidently) created a brand that didn’t define a company, instead it came to define a period. From 1976 to the mid 80s I worked with Weekend World, a UK current affairs programme. I saw the politicians of the day close up and gradually I realized that they weren’t superior beings, but ordinary people, with flaws and foibles just like you or me. At the time political satire was the province of radio, magazines and newspapers. The closest you got to it on television was the occasional impressionist. The idea for Spitting Image was born. Inspired by the work of Roger Law and Peter Fluck whose political caricatures frequently appeared on the covers of the Sunday Times Magazine, I scraped together some seed money to explore the idea and then approached Roger and Peter to join us. They did. After three years hard slog we finally made a breakthrough when John Lloyd, the producer of Not The Nine O’clock News, joined the team. Central TV decided to take the show and the rest as they say is history. Spitting Image ran for 11 years in the UK to weekly audiences of between 7 and 11 million. As a topical programme it gave immediate accountability to the actions of politicians and those in the public eye. It spawned programmes around the world, gave vent to frustrations, voice to opposition and, surprisingly, was often admired by those it lampooned.