TV critic review column on Best Ever Spitting Image & Friday Night With Jonathan Ross
Author(s): Paul English
Copyright holder(s): Derek Stewart-Brown: on behalf of The Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd
IF Tory leader David Cameron gets in at the next general election, it's all Spitting Image's fault.
As producer John Lloyd pointed out in Sunday night's near-perfect nostalgia fest, a generation of punters became politically aware by watching Fluck and Law's rubber dummies voiced by comics.
These days, it's just George Bush with his hand up our Government's backside, and nobody's laughing.
Best Ever Spitting Image reinforced the fact that half of us wouldn't know the Shadow Cabinet from our bedside cabinet.
There was plenty to titter at, although I had a sense of nagging discomfort watching Edwina Currie and Michael Heseltine getting all chucklish as they recalled how they and their Tory cronies felt they'd made it if they were featured. Of course, Edwina. Those years of Tory pillage were just a bit of a laugh, weren't they?
Spitting Image's greatest hits was a laytex laughathon with an ultimately sad ending.
It seems there's Fluck-all chance of TV's most important popular political programme ever coming back.
Which, in retrospect, made what happened on Friday night on BBC1 all the more meaningful. Jonathan Ross, a man who invariably interviews himself more than his guests, swapped ticklestick for hacksaw as he welcomed "Toff Idol" David Cameron.
Ross pinned his colours to the mast early. "You're the first politician we've had on the programme," he said. "But I read that you listen to my Radio 2 show, so you can't be a complete pwick." Ten minutes of surprisingly edgy stuff followed from Wossy, whose verbal rallies with Cameron rivalled those of previous guest Martina Navratilova on the tennis court.
He refused to give the credibility-hungry Tory an easy ride on a chat show which often feels like it's one question away from "What's your favourite colour, Mr Willis?"
Maybe if politics were digested in this arena every week, rather than by some old gonk with a comb-over, more of us would give a damn that this guy might soon end up running our country.
Ross grilled the ruddy-faced Old Etonian on Iraq. He implied he only supported Tony Blair's decision to go to war because he knew it would hasten Labour's demise.
Ross challenged him on drugs. And, in a moment that should go down in TV history, he asked the leader of the Opposition if he ever indulged in self-pleasure while thinking about Maggie Thatcher.
Almost a week later, I've just I about winched my jaw off the floor. At £16million, Jonathan Ross's publicly-funded salary is obscene.
But at least we can take some comfort in his public joust on our behalf with a braying "yah" who thinks Dragoness Thatcher's decisions have been vindicated.
"The Labour party haven't undone a lot of what she did," proclaimed Cameron, proudly.
Maybe, David. But then you can't un-bulldoze a shipyard, can you?
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TV critic review column on Best Ever Spitting Image & Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 21 February 2024, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1621.
"TV critic review column on Best Ever Spitting Image & Friday Night With Jonathan Ross." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 21 February 2024. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1621.
The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "TV critic review column on Best Ever Spitting Image & Friday Night With Jonathan Ross," accessed 21 February 2024, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1621.
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