FOREVER ERRONEOUSLY referred to with a superfluous “S” at the end of the programme’s title, SPITTING IMAGE offered up detailed three-dimensional “latex lampoonery” of the most well known figures of the day, while less well-known figures were portrayed by either that puppet that looked like JIMMY TARBUCK, or the one that was a dead ringer for FREDDIE MERCURY (this one also doubled for all waiters shown on the programme). Broadcast in the one outpost of the ITV schedule that for a time provided a home for vaguely anarchic comedy material, SPITTING IMAGE was a mainstay of the Sunday evening at 10 slot that had previously been occupied by the likes of WOOD AND WALTERS and CLIVE JAMES ON TELEVISION. Yet given the former series’ obsession with making observations about dinner ladies who scratch their armpit with a spatula, and the latter’s focus on being “irreverent” but in a very middle class way, those Spitting Images offered up something that for its time seemed genuinely shocking. The show was cited as being culpable in the political destruction of DAVIDs STEEL and OWEN, while the fact that the average man in the street was able to name more than one member of Thatcher’s mid-Eighties cabinet is supposedly thanks to their memorable puppetry portrayal. Perhaps the series’s most heinous crime, though, was to provide early television exposure for the likes of ALISTAIR MCGOWAN and JON “CREEPY HAIR” CULSHAW. There is perennial talk of bringing it back, but working out how it couldn’t be rubbish now remains a persistent roadblock.