'Bad guys' such as Michael Gove easier to caricature, says sculptor ahead of Spitting Image relaunch

The “bad guys” are easier to caricature than figures who evoke a weaker reaction from the pubic, a Spitting Image sculptor has said.

Nicola Sturgeon as depicted on the new Spitting Image, along with Boris Johnson.

The revived satirical show, which reflects on the weekly news cycle through the use of puppets, is returning to the BritBox subscription service for a second season, with Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and TV fitness expert Joe Wicks all set to feature.

When first broadcast in the 1980s, Spitting Image was famous for lampooning politicians including Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

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Christy Matta, a sculptor on the rebooted Spitting Image, said some figures were easier to caricature than others.

Former former minister Alex Salmond has been mocked up as Shrek in the new series, while Cabinet secretary Michael Gove – who has made recent headlines for his nightclubbing exploits in Aberdeen – is also targeted.

Ms Matta said: “When I had to do Michael Gove, that one came out really easily, same with Priti Patel.

“All the ones that you know a lot and you have a particular feeling about, especially if you know the direction they want to go with the character, it makes it a lot easier.

“When somebody is kind of neither here nor there, it’s actually trickier because, also you have your own feelings about them, you like them, so you don’t really want to make them look terrible.

“So other people have to step in there and kind of say ‘go on, push it, make it look like the caricature’.

“So there is a part of you that reserves a little bit when it comes to those characters, but when it comes to the bad guys let’s say, they’re great, they’re just good fun.”

Jess Robinson is a voice artist on the show, responsible for vocalising a range of celebrities and politicians, including Greta Thunberg, Adele, Kim Kardashian West, Angela Merkel, Nicola Sturgeon, Jess Phillips and Gwyneth Paltrow.

She admitted some stars were treated more harshly than others.

Ms Robinson said: “I think people like Boris, Trump, they are fair game, 100 per cent.

“But we’ve got people like Greta, Marcus Rashford, Tom Daley and they’re more like heroes of the piece."

One of the show’s writers said nothing was off-limits, but the satirical puppet show should not “slag everyone off for the sake of it”.

Bert Tyler-Moore, a writer and associate producer on the new episodes, said “the world has become more sensitive” and those working on the show must adjust accordingly.

"If something comes up in the news, we shouldn’t be afraid of anything,” she said.

“But the world has become more sensitive, particularly the last five years, so I guess you just find ways of doing things.

“So that we have characters like Marcus Rushford, who absolutely should be on the show because he’s a topical guy who’s doing lots, but you kind of don’t want to have a go at him because he’s great.

“So our way of doing Marcus is that he’s kind of the foil to other people who are rubbish.”

Among the new additions are England’s football heroes – including Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane – following their journey to the Euro 2020 final over the summer.

The new series of Spitting Image is available exclusively on BritBox UK from Saturday.

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