On 26 February, Spitting Image will celebrate its 30 birthday. BBC Four will mark the occasion with a special episode of Arena which promises to tell the “vexed and frequently hilarious story” of the sketch show which ran for 21 series between 1984 and 1996 and marked a high point in British satire.
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Arts and Entertainment
Sunday 27 December 1992
THE BEST programme is also the worst. Knowing Me, Knowing You (R4), which runs for two more Tuesdays, is the hilarious nadir of chat shows. Its host, Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan), is a great comic creation, a Frankenstein's monster assembled out of Jim Rosenthal's gaucherie, Mike Morris's blokishness, Alan Titchmarsh's slime, Michael Parkinson's chippiness, and the research skills of Terry Wogan. Alan's guests are spot-on parodies of the 'personalities' that swill through chat schedules: American psychobabblers, egomaniac entrepreneurs, child prodigies.
Saturday 12 December 1992
IT ISN'T every day I am called to the Park Lane Hilton to sit at the top table in the ballroom, squeezed between magnates and lords, to make speeches and give prizes. But there you are, the companies that run Britain's landfills - a calling which is not glamorous but so necessary that someone ought to celebrate it - sent me around the country at speed to help pick the best of the holes in the ground that we call rubbish dumps and into which is disposed everything we'd rather forget.
Saturday 17 October 1992
It has been a tough week to be funny about. Fortunately, Have I Got News For You (BBC 2) returned from a summer recess almost as long as the one MPs enjoy. If anyone could lift the gloom, these boys could.
Sunday 11 October 1992
WHAT CAN have been going through Angus Deayton's mind when he stood up to accept the Best Newcomer prize at last year's British Comedy Awards? Wasn't this the man who sold his first sketch (to Dick Emery) in 1978? And hadn't he been hanging around the fringes of celebrity - as a member of pop parody act the Heebeegeebees, as Rowan Atkinson's straight man, as writer-presenter of a slew of radio shows including the long- running Radio Active, as a player of bit parts in TV series like One Foot in the Grave, Mr Bean and Alexei Sayle's Stuff, and not least as the man in the life of singer Stephanie de Sykes - ever since?
Saturday 26 September 1992
THE first couple of weeks you just thought it would improve. Here was one of our most appealing comedians delivering scripts written by the funniest man on British television. Surely, between them Julian Clary and Paul Merton would be able to raise a titter. But three weeks on Terry and Julian (Channel 4) shows every sign of getting worse.
Tell us another one. Or just tell us the same one all over again]: Paul Merton, the comedian with the dry, South Circular delivery, is probably the funniest man on television. Where did he come from?
Friday 21 August 1992
AT Private Eye magazine's 30th birthday celebrations earlier this year, Paul Merton, slightly the worse for drink, stood up in front of perhaps the most cynical collection of people ever gathered in one place in England and, in the lugubrious South Circular Road delivery that is his trademark, told this joke:
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