Spitting Image exhibition allows Margaret Thatcher centre stage

Thirty years since it first aired, voice of Mrs T is still unsure whether satirical puppet show helped or harmed her reputation.

She used the men’s toilets, smoked a cigar and ate her steak raw – the vegetables could look after themselves. Thirty years on, the voice of Margaret Thatcher believes the jury is still out on whether Spitting Image helped or harmed her reputation.

“One of the big questions which is still unanswered is whether we did her a favour or not in the sense of portraying her as strong and dominant,” said Steve Nallon.2a795314-6754-48e5-abc3-f0293ddde734-460x276

He was with Roger Law on Tuesday at the opening of a new exhibition at the Cartoon Museum in London telling the story of one of the most original and funniest TV satire shows ever made.

It was on 26 February 1984 that the caricatures of Peter Fluck and Law were brought to life in puppet form for Spitting Image. The show ran on ITV for 18 series, bringing to the world a jive-talking banjo-strumming Pope John Paul II, a CND supporting Queen, a leather-clad Norman Tebbit and many more.

Spitting Image’s voice of reason Steve Nallon at the opening of a new exhibition at the Cartoon Museum, London.The exhibition includes puppets, and perhaps offers the only ever opportunity to see Osama Bin Laden, the Queen Mother, Alan Bennett, Jacques Chirac, Will Carling, Roy Hattersley and Princess Diana together.

Thatcher gets her own display cabinet. Nallon said it took a while to get the voice for her right, adding that it became more aggressive as the programmes went on. One crucial decision half way through the first series was dressing her in a suit – and after that she would use the gents.

From then on the whole country assumed that the programme was factually correct in portraying Thatcher as a power mad bully who dominated her craven, terrified cabinet.

Nallon said: “Everybody remembers the sketch of Mrs Thatcher peeing next to Heseltine and Heseltine saying, ‘I can never go when she’s standing next to me.'”

Law said the programme probably did not change anything substantial except perhaps that children of the 1980s knew who ran the country. “I’ve got eight grandchildren and not one of them knows who’s in the Labour or Tory party,” he said.

Full Piece…


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