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.
Hello and welcome once again to G&TV. It’s a shorter than usual video this month, but an incredibly interesting, and ever so slightly surreal, one. Full credit must go to our very own Darrell, who recently discovered the existence of a cover version of The Chicken Song – the parody novelty single, with lyrics by Rob and Doug, which originated in Spitting Image and later reached number one in the UK charts – recorded by a Belgian band called De Strangers. After Darrell tweeted about this, Ben Baker then went and dug out the video…
Usually we’re pretty useless at reminding you lot of stuff like this, but there’s a particular reason I’ve managed to remember this time – I was at the BFI in January where an early edit of this documentary was shown. I absolutely loved it – it’s not a straightforward clip-interview-clip-interview documentary, and all the better for it. Not only did it make me want to watch Spitting Image from scratch all over again, but it also made me realise that Arena is quietly making superb documentaries which I am entirely failing to watch. I fully intend to rectify that latter point.
Incidentally, the showing of the documentary at the BFI ended with a thrilling cliffhanger – the last part of the doc will be made up of highlights of the actual Q&A session at the BFI which took place after the showing. Rob Grant was present at this Q&A, but in the spirit of the excellent journalism which typifies this site I can’t remember a bloody word he said. I can remember that one particularly stupid audience member asked whether Spitting Image could ever be revived… in 3D. Why we didn’t all just pile in and kick the fucker to death is anyone’s guess.
As for the documentary itself, I don’t really want to give too many spoilers. But dare I say that when I saw it, there was a clip from one of the unbroadcast pilots…
Hello and welcome to High & Low, our brand new monthly feature looking at the very best and very worst offerings from the wider world of Red Dwarf. Each month, we’ll be taking a subject and picking out the top ten best examples of whatever that category is. It’s a bit like Buzzfeed, but with lots of words instead of animated gifs taken from Youtube videos. But that’s not all. Because this is G&T, we’ll also be pouring scorn all over the bottom five shit bits from each particular field.
So, what subject will be kicking off this glorious brand spanking new feature? We present the Top 10 and Bottom 5… Cast Members’ Other Shows.
Whilst G&T is waiting for news on the Dwarf front, here’s something rather interesting I was pointed towards on Twitter. The English Programme was a Thames schools programme examining, well, English – and in one edition which some kind soul has uploaded to YouTube, they take a look at The Writing of Spitting Image. (It was first broadcast on the 8th January 1986, but was repeated later, outside of schools programming.)
The reason it’s so interesting to us, of course, is that this is exactly the time Rob and Doug were head writers of the show. But not only do we get lots of shots of the two sitting in grey offices being slightly awkward, rather endearing, and very fascinating – but the end credits reveal that this entire episode of The English Programme was written by Rob and Doug themselves!
Ahem. Anyway, an interview with Chris Barrie is in The Sun today to celebrate the release of the first series of Spitting Image. This just has to be littered with mistakes, right? Well, let’s take a look…
For no reason as all apart from the fact that I’ve just come across a copy and it features the wonderful Chris Barrie, here’s an MP3 of Sick As A Moon, taken from the fantastic Spitting Image album 20 Golden Gobs.