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Spitting Image show plots return to TV after 23 years

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US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin feature in the revived show

Satirical puppet show Spitting Image hopes to return to the small screen, 23 years after it last aired.

New episodes of the comedy, described as “public service satire” by co-creator Roger Law, will take on Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, among others.

“It’s pretty chaotic out there. As far as I’m concerned, it’s better than shouting at the television set,” he told the Guardian.

A pilot for the resurrected show has already been filmed, Mr Law added.

The pilot will also feature the Duchess of Sussex wearing a glittery top with the word “Princess” printed on the front.

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Meghan and Prince Harry also receive the caustic puppetry treatment

Unlike its 1980s heyday, Mr Law said the new series would not focus on the lower ranks of British politics, explaining: “It’s an awful lot of trouble to go to, and you want it to be effective.”

He told the paper the show’s producers are in talks with US-based networks about bringing the show to a wider global audience.

The caricaturist first told BBC Two’s Front Row on Friday that he planned to bring the show back.

Mr Law told the cultural discussion show’s host, Mary Beard, anybody in the public eye would be “fair game” for the Spitting Image satirical treatment.

He admitted to the Guardian satirising President Trump offered a challenge “because he’s a satire in himself”, but said puppets allowed them to go further than actors could.

Impressionist Luke Kempner confirmed his involvement in the show, writing on Twitter: “This is my latest project I’ve been working on!! So exciting and a true honour!! Watch this space!”

Caricaturist Adrian Teal said he has been working on the show’s puppet designs to bring the “TV satire juggernaut” back to screens, tweeting: “Well, it’s official!”

Broadcast on ITV from 1984 to 1996, the often-controversial programme parodied political leaders, celebrities and royals across 18 series.

After the topical show ended, Mr Law worked as a fine artist and in 2018 donated his entire Spitting Image collection to Cambridge University.

The archive, which is held in the university’s library, includes original scripts, puppet moulds, drawings and recordings.

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Avalon

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US rapper Kanye West and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are among the current crop of famous faces to get their own puppets

The anarchic show that packed a punch – and 15 million viewers

  • Spitting Image was created by caricaturists Peter Fluck, Roger Law and Martin Lambie-Nairn
  • At its height it pulled in an audience of 15 million viewers
  • It was nominated for nine BAFTA Television Awards (winning two) and four Emmys
  • Much of Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet was parodied, with Douglas Hurd depicted with “Mr Whippy ice cream” hair, and her successor John Major caricatured as a dull, grey puppet with a penchant for peas
  • World leaders were also stereotyped, with Mikhail Gorbachev’s forehead birthmark redrawn as a hammer and sickle
  • The series was axed in 1996 because of declining audience numbers



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Al Murray: ‘Nephew needs a transplant before Christmas’

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Comedian Al Murray is urging people to sign up to a blood stem cell register run by the cancer charity DKMS.

His nephew Finley, aged six, has a rare and aggressive form of childhood leukaemia.

He is undergoing chemotherapy but his best chance of fighting the disease is a bone marrow transplant.

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Two and BBC News Channel, 10:00 to 11:00 GMT – and see more of our stories here.



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Taylor Swift says AMAs performance in doubt amid music feud

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Taylor Swift performs at the MTV Video Music Awards in New Jersey, US, 26 August 2019Image copyright
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Swift is being named Artist of the Decade at this month’s AMAs

Taylor Swift has said her performance at the upcoming American Music Awards (AMAs) is in doubt because she is being barred from performing her own songs.

In a message to fans on social media, the singer said music managers Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta would not let her perform songs from her past albums, which they own the rights to.

She said a Netflix documentary about her life had also been put in jeopardy.

Braun and Borchetta have not yet responded.

Swift made the allegations in a statement posted to Twitter with the caption: “Don’t know what else to do”.

“Right now my performance at the AMAs, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November 2020 are a question mark,” she wrote.

Why is there a feud?

In June, Swift revealed that the masters of her early music had been sold to Braun by her former record label, run by Borchetta, and alleged that she was not told about it.

At the time the singer accused Braun, who also manages Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato, of “incessant, manipulative bullying”.

  • Swift v Braun: Personal or strictly business?
  • Taylor Swift ‘bullied’ by man who now owns her music

Swift also accused Braun of attempting to “dismantle” her “musical legacy”. While he did not respond to her comments, he was supported by Lovato and Bieber, who claimed Swift was just out “to get sympathy”.

The singer confirmed in August that she planned to re-record music from her first six albums so she could own the rights to the new versions.

What about the AMAs and Netflix documentary?

Swift is set to be named Artist of the Decade at the AMAs later this month and said she had been planning to perform a medley of her hits.

But in her statement on Thursday, she said the two men had blocked her from performing her old songs on television, claiming that this would be re-recording her music before she is allowed to next year.

They also blocked the use of her older music or performance footage in the upcoming Netflix film, she claimed.

Swift alleged that Borchetta told her team she would only be allowed to use the music if she agreed “not to re-record copycat versions” next year and stopped talking about the two men.

“The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished,” she wrote.

She went on to ask her fans to help to pressure Braun and Borchetta into changing their minds and to appeal to the artists they manage for help. She also asked for help from the private equity firm The Carlyle Group, which she said financed the sale.

Fans responded instantly, with the hashtags “IStandWithTaylor” and “FreeTaylor” trending on Twitter.



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Beverly Hills Cop 4 moves to Netflix with Eddie Murphy

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Murphy has played Axel Foley three times for three different directors

Eddie Murphy will reprise his role as wisecracking detective Axel Foley in a fourth Beverly Hills Cop film, to be produced by Netflix.

Paramount had planned to produce Beverly Hills Cop 4, but the studio dropped the project in 2016 and has now sold the rights to the streaming giant.

Murphy first played Foley in 1984 and played him again in 1987 and 1994.

The 58-year-old received rave reviews this year for his role in the Netflix film Dolemite Is My Name.

The original Beverly Hills Cop saw maverick Detroit detective Foley travel to Los Angeles to investigate a friend’s murder.

Harold Faltermeyer’s theme for the film was a top 10 hit in 1985 and became a hit again 20 years later when it was covered by Crazy Frog.

Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the first two films, will also be in charge of the new project, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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