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Spitting Image, global-style (II)

The music video for "Land of Confusion&qu...
Image via Wikipedia

In the first part of this look at satirical TV shows based on the style of the famous UK programme Spitting Image, we talked about how the idea was taking root in Africa with The XYZ Show in Kenya and the internet-only ZA News in South Africa. Let’s go back now and see where the idea began.


(In)famous for their treatment of the world leaders of the time (Ronald Reagan & Margaret Thatcher above all), the show also made fun of the British Royal Family in a way that few people, if anyone, had dared to do before. As an example, this version of Blur’s hit Park Life.

There are too many great moments to mention here, but you can find a lot of videos on YouTube and this article from Wikipedia has a great deal of information about the show. Personal favourite musical moments have to be Michael Jackson‘s “MAD” and the video made for the Genesis song LAND OF CONFUSION.

A guiñol of Michael Robinson, a former show host

Image via Wikipedia


One of the most famous programmes to come from the part-encrypted Canal+, although it ended its days on the free-to-air Cuatro channel. The daily 10-minute  programme focused on politicians and sporting figures (perhaps not surprising if you live here) and included memorable puppets ranging from Felipe González, Zapatero (Superhero ZP), Rajoy, Berlusconi or Putin to Joan Laporta, Louis Van Gaal, David Beckham or Raúl.

Here’s a selection of items from the day Pope Benedict XVI was appointed:

KUKLY 1995 (?) – 2002

I know very little about this, so here’s some info from Wikipedia:

Puppet of Putin which appeared on the TV show ...

Image via Wikipedia

Kukly (Russian: Куклы, lit. “puppets”) was a weekly Russian TV show of political satire, produced by Vasily Grigoryev and shown on Saturdays on the TV channel NTV. It used puppets to represent celebrities, mainly the major politicians.

The show was well-loved in Russia and has inspired spinoffs in other countries. President Vladimir Putin was frequently represented in the show and NTV was forced to close it down in 2002 after pressure from the Kremlin.

In this sketch, the Prince / King (Putin) has gathered his friends and allies (Bill Clinton and many others) around him to celebrate his wedding to a mysterious woman who we only find out more about at the end. That’s about as much as I can tell you – can anyone else help me out with a short summary of what they’re actually saying?


Jacques Chirac, during his mandates as Preside...

Image via Wikipedia

The sole survivor of the European series in this article, the programme started life as the News Arena, but only became popular after the start of the first Gulf War, when it began to follow the news stories of the moment. Given that the show was broadcast on Canal + in France, the format is clearly very similar to what would be the Notícias del Guiñol, including a puppet version of a famous newsreader. In this episode  we see Sarko and Bruni enjoying the simple life in the country …

So that’s it – go to You Tube and have a search around for more episodes of all of these series (and no doubt many others I didn’t have the space to cover)!


Strange Random Language Fact:

The language in which a government conducts business is the official language of that country.

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