The appeal of ‘Spitting Image’ – the show that brought that Maggie Thatcher puppet into living rooms across the world – was due in no small part to the fact that no one was safe from being lampooned. Throughout the show’s 12-year run, which ended in 1996, figures as disparate as Joan Collins, Ronald Reagan and the Queen Mother had the piss extracted from them through the medium of foam and paint. Now, so those nightmarish creatures (the puppets, that is) and their risqué antics don’t go forgotten, Bloomsbury’s Cartoon Museum has reunited some of the most famous examples to mark 30 years since the show’s first ever broadcast.
The exhibition not only allows visitors to get an up-close look at the grotesque ‘characters’ themselves (this is a unique chance to see many of the puppets, as 600 of them were auctioned off in 2000 and 2001), but also provides an insight into the show’s backstory. Sketches and photographs of the work of Peter Fluck and Roger Law (aka ‘Luck and Flaw’, the show’s artistic contingent) will reveal how ‘Spitting Image’ evolved into such an icon. There’ll be photographs of satirical sculptures the pair created in the 1970s and ’80s for magazines such as Der Spiegel and The New York Times, and you’ll also be able to gawp at a hoard of caricature drawings. Look out for the likes of Kate Moss, Rupert Murdoch and – yes – Saddam Hussein.
Various other ephemera from the show will also be on display, including a Margaret Thatcher teapot and chewy dog toys. All – needless to say – in the worst possible taste. Flo Wales Bonner
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