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Spitting Image Defends Depiction Of Greta Thunberg As 'Joke'

Spitting Image Defends Depiction Of Greta Thunberg As 'Joke'

TV bosses behind Spitting Image have defended their depiction of Greta Thunberg, claiming it is just a 'joke'.

The show, which is returning after more than 24 years away from British TV screens, was criticised for mocking the teenage climate campaigner, who will be portrayed as a weather presenter in the series.

Some had said that it was unfair of BritBox, the streaming service that is airing the new series, to pick on the 17-year-old.

However, telly bosses rejected those claims.


Reemah Sakaan, group director of SVoD at ITV, said: "It's a very straightforward joke and is nothing to do with her as an individual."

She added: "If the show isn't stirring controversy, it's probably not doing what it set out to do, or being true to its origins."

BritBox boss Will Harrison had even said recently that the Swedish activist had liked a photo of her puppet on Twitter. So maybe she's not that bothered by it all.

TV bosses have defended the caricature of Greta Thunberg. Credit: BritBox
TV bosses have defended the caricature of Greta Thunberg. Credit: BritBox

The series' return sees a whole host of celebrities facing its unforgiving wit - including BoJo, POTUS Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kanye West.

In one scene we see 'Kanye' at a United Nations meeting declaring he is the ruler of Earth and chucking Yeezys at the delegates, while Trump loses his toupee.

The show's creator Roger Law recently denied claims that the puppets depicting black people were racist.

He said: "People sit around looking for things to complain about, and I do big noses and big ears. It's personal - it's not a racist thing.


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"[Personal parody] has more effect on individuals than waxing lyrical about their policies."

He also told The Radio Times magazine: "Everybody cares about how they look. I'm wearing my hat now because I'm virtually bald - we're all at it."

Creators have also had to defend allegations of racism over the series. Credit: BritBox
Creators have also had to defend allegations of racism over the series. Credit: BritBox

ITV's director of television Kevin Lygo revealed that meetings had been held with bosses ahead of the show's release to discuss issues around depicting black celebrities in puppet form.


During a TV diversity session, Mr Lygo said it was a difficult thing to approach following the Black Lives Matter movement.

He said: "The producers called me and said we need to have a conversation.

"We discussed with the writer and the producers about how to portray black people as viciously caricatured puppets.

"What is ok? What is not ok? Some of the answers are unclear, it is difficult, everybody is trying their best."


Ahead of the series' return, Mr Law said that it was important to satire public figures and those in positions of power.

He added: "Everything the team have done on the new Spitting Image shows, the caricatures, puppets and satirical gags have all been done in the public interest - as Boris might say: 'Pro bono publico'.

"It's time to come off furlough. The people have spoken and the puppets are oven ready."

Spitting Image will return on 3 October where it will then be on weekly for 10 weeks exclusively on BritBox in the UK.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Environment, Greta Thunberg, climate change, Funny, UK Entertainment

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]