Sir Eric Bentley is inspired by the late British Conservative politician Enoch Powell, who made the famous "Rivers of Blood" speech about immigration to the UK. Bentley repeats a piece of gossip about an old lady from an embarrassingly unreliable source - much as Powell had. Bentley mentions Powell by name at the end of the speech.
The Tory Tom Hutchinson and Labour man Blackett spoof the party leaders of the time, Edward Heath, and Harold Wilson respectively. In particular, Wilson's Yorkshire accent, and habit of smoking a pipe in public is sent up; however, he was never particularly superstitious and Kevin Billington admits in the commentary that Wilson had a "laser sharp mind" unlike Mr Blackett. Tom Hutchinson also spoofs Harold Macmillan, a previous Tory PM from '57-'63, whose slogan was "You've never had it so good". Hutchinson has a moustache (like Macmillan, but unlike Heath), and the slogan, "You'll never have it so good" can be seen on a banner at his party conference.
The mysterious and diabolical character played by Peter Cook may be seen as an unaffectionate parody of the film's executive producer, David Frost. Frost was once said to have "risen without trace", which is more or less what Rimmer does in the film; he achieves fame via television much as Frost did in the early 1960s; he becomes influential in politics as Frost allegedly sought to do with his famous "power breakfasts"; and, the most obvious resemblance, he is seen sitting in a hanging chair of the type known as an "orange bomb", exactly like the much-photographed one which Frost had in his home. Peter Cook - who once said that the only thing he really regretted in his life was saving Frost from drowning - acknowledged that Frost had been quite peeved by the resemblances in the portrait of Rimmer.
Michael Rimmer is said to be a spoof of the life of David Frost. Frost was in fact a producer of the film, under the pseudonym of David Parradine. David Frost's middle name is Parradine. John Cleese and Graham Chapman had previously worked on The Frost Report (1966) with him.
The film features a cameo from Edwards, on Hench's talk show. Edwards was once a minor celebrity in the UK for his ability to imitate various bird calls. After his programme finishes, and the lights go down, Steven Hench can be heard saying "I'd better go and look after Percy, he gets a bit broody."