Spitting Image was at the height of its popularity at the time, and - more importantly - at the peak of its political influence among its viewers. Britain was still reeling from the decimation of the unions brought about by two terms of Thatcher's leadership, and hostility towards the Tories was high. The "video nasties" hysteria had seen her through the 1983 election, but there was a real possibility of Neil Kinnock winning the vote. When a miracle was needed, along came Spitting Images' 1987 Election Special.
Not that it favoured any one party, as the show opened with a breaking news report claiming that the Conservatives had won, and that: "...the polls have now closed - soon to be followed by the rest of the hospitals, the schools and the BBC". The "special relationship" between Thatcher and Regan was memorably brought up, with a journalist asking the President his reaction to a possible Labour victory: "Well,if that happens, we - as Americans - would respond in the normal, responsible way to a democratic election in another country: we would send in the CIA to help round up all of the socialists and execute them inside a football stadium".
Even though there was no real bias, Kinnock came of worse and was the subject of some of the funniest skits, including the superb parody of Madness' "Driving in my Car", with the whole Labour gang extolling just how terrible they were as an electoral prospect. A sample of the lyrics: ""We're appalling, appalling, that's the thing people find so galling. Take us away, put us in a hearse - you think the government's bad? We'll be even worse!!"
Sharp and brilliantly insightful. This was Spitting Image at its best, and just before it started to slide. But it was one Hell of a finale to its best years.
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