Monday, 7 April 2008

A poor first impression

Tonight I watched Headcases, ITV's new, allegedly satirical CGI impersonation series "based on current affairs" - ie a load of ropey old sketches about all the usual ITV-demographic-friendly suspects: the Beckhams, Jordan & Peter Andre etc etc. So far so yawntastic. I mean, do we really need another show satirising the lifestyles of the rich and vacuous? OK, so Posh is annoying, talentless and stick-thin, and Jordan has massive knockers. WE GET IT. If that's biting cutting-edge satire then me grammar's dead good, like. Innit.

So yes, this obsession with celebrity was grating, to say the least; it ran through the show like the name of a seaside town through a stick of rock. A shame, as this programme could have genuine promise if only they'd aim their sights a bit higher a bit more often.

Still, it wasn't entirely without merit. I liked the sketch where the two royal princes tried pretending to be normal guys - they blew things slightly by asking for caviar toppings on their takeaway pizzas and then getting their bodyguards to feed the food to them by hand. Well it (almost) made me laugh anyway!

The sketches about Gordon Brown and David Cameron were both good too - although the producers seem to have felt compelled to shoehorn in as many celebrity references as possible - Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty, Britney Spears etc etc - into even these small sections of the show, like they daren't risk incurring the wrath of an apolitical viewing public, or something. Very frustrating, and all a far cry from the heyday of Spitting Image, when the politics-celebrity/royal percentage ratio of sketches was probably around 60-40; with Headcases it seems to be about 20-80.

Bearing in mind this new series was created by Spitting Image alumnus Henry Naylor, and that it's being broadcast in the same timeslot, on the same channel and on exactly the same day of the week as its illustrious predecessor, Headcases was probably always going to be on a bit of a hiding to nothing, but I still think we could have expected a bit more from it than the mostly patchy fare served up in episode one. That CGI animation's no substitute for good old latex puppetry either! Speaking of which...

Spitting Image - Ronald Reagan Gets Shaved

Spitting Image - Every Bomb You Drop

Spitting Image - I've Never Met A Nice South African mp3 (available for 7 days)

Spitting Image - The Chicken Song mp3 (available for 7 days)

Buy Spitting Image Series 1 on DVD here.


I Am Not The Beatles said...

I've Never Met A Nice South African is surely one the best political / joke songs of our lifetime.

'Except for Breyten Breytenbach and he's emigrated to Paris'

It is terrifyingly brilliant.

Kippers said...

Ahh, Breyten Breytenbach - I'd been trying to work out who it was that got mentioned in that line of the song all day, but being a bit of a philistine (well, 100% philistine) I'd not heard of Breyten Breytenbach before.

I see from his Wikipedia entry that Breyten Breytenbach (I'm really quite taken with that name) has one brother, Jan Breytenbach, who was the founder of the South African Special Forces, and another, Cloete Breytenbach, who's a well-published war correspondent. Presumably Cloete got the perfect grounding for his future career by observing his two brothers going at it hammer and tongs as they were growing up!

JC said...

No one quite appreciated how brilliant Spitting Image could be until it was no longer with us.

You've hit the nail on the head why I wont be tuning in to this new programme - too much emphasis on the tabloid fodder.

Kippers said...

Absolutely. I think I'll give it one more go before I write it off altogether, but all that celebrity stuff just... rankles.

It's great that they've started releasing Spitting Image chronologically on DVD now anyway. Having just bought series 1 I may well start watching old Spitting Image episodes at 10pm on Sundays!