Spitting Image - Pilot Episodes
Louise Gold's contribution to Spitting Image is all too often over looked. This is a shame, given that she made a significant contribution to setting up the show on both the pre-pilot and especially the pilot episode, as their "Puppeteering Consultant", a key player in auditioning and training the shows original team of puppeteers. In a way Louise Gold was always destined to be involved with a show such as this one, at some point in her career, for she is a born Political Satirist, after all her parents were Unity Theatre players.
Shot on 30th January 1983
Cast And Crew
Host -John Lawrence-Jones
Script- John Lloyd and Ben Elton
Camera owner - John Lloyd
Cameraman - Jon Blair
Puppeteer & Puppeteering consultant - Louise Gold
Puppeteer – Mike Quinn (notably performing a doormat)
Puppet Builders and everything else - Peter Fluck and Roger Law
Voice of Doormat – Ben Elton
and one other person, not sure who. Possibly Tony Hendra
UNTV (The Spitting Image Pilot Episode)
In rehearsal for six weeks, in rooms off
Note: The Puppeteers probably also provided voices. There were actually eight puppeteers, but not completely sure who they all were.
Louise Gold (trained by The Muppets)
Chris Barrie (new to puppetry)
Alistair Fullerton (had experience)
Errol Manoff (primarily a puppet builder – as he puppeteered on parts of the first series, and worked on the pilot presumably he puppeteered on this?)
Martin Oates (trained in German television)
Mike Quinn (had worked with Hensons)
Founder - Martin Lambie-Nairn
Puppet Builders - Peter Law and Roger Fluck, with, Tom McLaughlin and 2 more assistants
Producer - John Lloyd
Production Assistant - Jon Blair (the show's "human dynamo")
Director - Phillip Casson
Puppeteering Consultant - Louise Gold (auditioned and trained the puppeteers, also responsible for making sure the puppeteers were fit for the job)
Script-Writer - Tony Hendra and others (possibly Richard Curtis)
Set Designer - Malcolm Stone
UNTV’s grand finale sketch was apparently something involving with several more or less identical Japanese puppets committing Hara-Kiri, and was probably quite a feat in puppeteering terms.
Louise Gold, and, Martin Lambie-Nairn went on to speak about their contribution on Spitting Image: Must See TV.
Peter Fluck, Louise Gold, Roger Law, and, John Lloyd went on to speak about their contribution on Best Ever Spitting Image.
Peter Fluck went on to speak about Spitting Image on ITV’s 50 Greatest Shows, on which Louise Gold spoke about The Muppet Show, but was probably also performing The Queen from Spitting Image.
The Spitting Image team borrowed heavily from The Muppets, this included several personnel from The Muppet Show, such as: Leading Puppeteer Louise Gold, Director Philip Casson, Puppet Builder Tom McLaughlin, and, Set Designer Malcolm Stone.
Set Designer Malcolm Stone, Foam-Latex modeller Tom McLaughlin, and, leading puppeteer Louise Gold had all worked on Henson’s big art puppetry film The Dark Crystal.
Modeller Tom McLaughlin, and, leading puppeteer Louise Gold had previously worked on the Henson film The Great Muppet Caper.
At the time of working on UNTV, producer John Lloyd was also producing the first series of BlackAdder (which Richard Curtis was also working on as a writer). Which at Louise Gold’s instigation resulted in a memorable acting appearance on BlackAdder from one notable British puppeteer!
Philip Casson was also involved with the production of Muppet albums: The Muppet Show Music Hall, The Muppet Show 2 (the first Muppet album that Louise Gold was credited on), and, Muppet Show Music Album . He went on to direct Louise Gold in her actress’ guise in an episode of Casualty.
Louise Gold, Anthony Asbury, and, Alistair Fullarton went on to appear as voice-artistes on the Spitting Image album Spit In Your Ear with which Philip Casson, John Lloyd and Jon Blair were also involved.
Links about Spitting Image Pilots
Muppet Central Interview with Louise Gold: http://www.muppetcentral.com/articles/interviews/gold.shtml
Chris Barrie’s biography on his official website: http://chrisbarrie.co.uk/default/?page_id=5