ITV Headcases: A new cast of computer-generated characters is satirising the media

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Chris Green talks to the show's creator, Henry Naylor

Headcases, (ITV1 Sundays 10pm), is the first satirical sketch show with a cast of entirely computer-generated characters. Billed as a Spitting Image for the 21st century, the animated programme casts its net widely, poking fun at everyone from Gordon Brown to Heather Mills. It received a reasonably warm critical reception after its first episode aired three weeks ago, and has already reported encouraging audience figures of around four million.

Henry Naylor, the creator and series director of Headcases, was also a lead writer on Spitting Image for three series. Although he still remembers the iconic puppets of his old programme with great fondness, he believes that only computer animation is versatile enough to hold the attention of modern audiences who are again longing for a sharp dose of irreverent satire.

"I think the puppeting tradition of Spitting Image was great," he says, "but it's not right for this age. When I first saw Toy Story at the cinema, I thought: that's the way it's going to go, that's what satire is going to evolve into. Spitting Image had a ramshackle feel – that was part of its charm. But it belongs to an older tradition, and puppets are quite limited: you're restricted in terms of what sets you can use, and in the movements that the characters can go through. We've been sending up President Sarkozy as a medallion-wearing disco dancer – you couldn't do that with a puppet."

Although Naylor admits that his new programme has the same aim as Spitting Image at its heart – to make political figures accessible to the public through satire – he also wants it to be a lot more ambitious and wide ranging in its scope. In one sketch, the ageing Hollywood actors Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone are tortured by a medusa-like Heather Mills. Cinematic sketches like this one have to be prepared months ahead of schedule, but modern animation technology allows a good portion of the show to be produced the week before going on air. This means that anyone in the public eye is a potential target, including media figures.

"We live in a very personality based culture now," says Naylor, "and as a result people know much more about public figures than they ever did before. When even David Cameron is inviting cameras into his home, you can see there's been a major change in the culture – you couldn't dream of Thatcher doing that.

"In an age with a real PR culture and a strong sense that people are being lied to all the time, the public needs a redress against certain figures: I think it's important that there's a vehicle for this, not just to slag them off, but to hint at the truth."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate Start - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders