Spitting Image Auction


The show Spitting Image has long been linked with The Hackney Empire Theatre, since the puppeteer Alistair Fullerton co-founded The Friends Of The Hackney Empire in February 1988. Some years after his death, several of his Spitting Image colleagues came together to raise funds for that same architecturally stunning theatre.

It was perhaps fitting that Louise Gold, one of Spitting Image's founder members, and its original Leading Puppeteer, should be among the former Spitting Image puppeteers demonstrating Fluck and Law's original puppets in this Sotheby's, a fundraising event for The Hackney Empire Theatre on 12 July 2000.



Steve Nallon

John Lloyd


Puppeteers demonstrating the lots:

Louise Gold

Steve Nallon


Puppets donated by:

Roger Law (of Fluck and Law) 


Louise Gold and Steve Nallon were both puppeteers and voice artistes on Spitting Image, as voice-artistes they also feature on the album Spit In Your Ear. They have spoken about their work on the programme on Spitting Image: Must See TV.

Louise Gold, and, Roger Law had appeared on the documentary The Wonderful World Of Puppets, on which Roger Law had mentioned this forthcoming auction.

Steve Nallon also worked on and, The Spooks Of Bottle Bay.

Besides producing Spitting Image, John Lloyd also produced BlackAdder.

The Sotherby’s auction raised nearly £14,000. for the Hackney Empire Appeal.

Roger Law subsequently sold the remaining 350 puppets on the internet for £370,195, and emigrated to Australia.

The auction, however, was not the end of the road for all the Spitting Image puppets. In particular, the Spitting Image puppet of “The Queen” was bought by a friend (of the show’s original leading puppeteer), who reunited it with The Queen of Spitting Image Puppeteers, who subsequently incorporated it in a cabaret act Louise Gold ... By Appointment.

John Lloyd, Peter Fluck, Louise Gold, and, Steve Nallon went on to appear, as on-stage guests as Spitting Image - BFI Event.

Louise Gold, Roger Law, and, Steve Nallon went on to take part in the documentary Best Ever Spitting Image.

Peter Fluck went on to take part in the documentary ITV’s 50 Greatest Shows, on which Louise Gold probably performed The Queen from Spitting Image, and Steve Nallon probably voiced Margaret Thatcher.


In the early twentieth century The Hackney Empire had a huge influence on the lives of working class people in London. Being a variety venue, carrying on the traditions of music hall it was one of the few theatres regularly attended by the working classes. One such young man back in those days was a teenager named Harry Landis, who worked in a factory. At work the day after he had been to see a show at The Hackney Empire (the only kind of theatre he attended - since to his kind of people in those days most theatre would have been regarded as “too posh”) he would entertain his co-workers relating what he had seen the night before. One day his Forman (a strongly ‘trade union’ man) was sufficiently impressed by this to take the young man along to see a play at the legendary Left-Wing Amateur Theatre Group, Unity Theatre. Shortly after that introduction Harry Landis joined Unity (where his comrades included the future parents of a Spitting Image puppeteer). Meanwhile, Harry Landis became a professional actor and many many years later ended up appearing with the Lost Musicals Charitable Trust in shows such as Of Thee I Sing.


Links about The Spitting Image Auction

For more information about The Friends of The Hackney Empire see offsite Link:  The Hackney Empire: http://www.hackneyempire.co.uk/about_friends_n.html

For more information about the Auction see offsite link: Steve Nallon's Website, in particular: http://www.Stevenallon.com/impress.html

 BBC News article, 13 July 2000, about the opening of the auction: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/831033.stm

BBC News Article, 7 July, about how much the sale had raised so far: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/823080.stm

BBC News article about 21 July http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/844936.stm

Official Show Site for LOUISE GOLD...BY APPOINTMENT: http://www.louisegold.com/  - This is the show site for Louise Gold’s cabaret act, includes a couple of photographs of The Queen Of Spitting Image puppeteers, with the actual Spitting Image latex puppet of The Queen.

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