As previously established on numerous occasions, this year marks the thirtieth anniversary of 1988. It was a very busy time for so many of our favourite comedy talents, and shortly after the conclusion of the second series of Red Dwarf, Spitting Image preceded its forthcoming fifth series with a 45-minute special, broadcast on 29th October 1988, thirty years ago to this very day.
Of course, Rob and Doug had long since departed to create some sci-fi sitcom thing, but Chris Barrie was very much at the forefront of Bumbledown – The Life and Times of Ronald Reagan, marking and undoubtedly celebrating the end of the incumbent President’s second term – the election to find his replacement took place the following week. Let’s transport ourselves back to the halcyon days when nobody thought that the US could ever elect a worse President than this unintelligent, right-wing, lying celebrity.
As well as playing the eponymous President, arguably the most famous of his impressions, Chris also voices David Coleman, Barry Norman, Robin Day and a chimp called Bonzo, amongst others. Further Red Dwarf alumni found in the credits include puppet-maker Andy Emmony (later to add a “De” to his name and become a director), writers John “Jack” Docherty and James Hendrie, and impressionist Jon Glover.
Note that the best quality version on YouTube, embedded above, is from a subsequent VHS release – as evidenced by the adorably 80s ident and copyright warning at the start – rather than the original broadcast, which is also online. As a bonus, the video came as a double bill with a later special, May 1989’s The Sound of Maggie, which shares much of the same cast and crew, and that’s also included above.