The One Show
Louise Gold appeared as herself a Spitting Image Puppeteer, and performed The Queen Puppet, to mark the 30th anniversary of Spitting Image, on the episode of The One Show, broadcast on BBC1, on Thursday 27 February 2014
Presenters – Alex Jones and Matt Baker
Roving Reporter – Lucy Siegle
Studio Guest – Darcy Bussell
Editor – Sandy Smith
Presenter Alex Jones was a contestant last year on That Puppet Game Show.
by Emma Shane
Wow! At the opening of the programme, the presenters inform us that they are meeting not one but two amazing women tonight, and then Alex, with a trace of humour in her voice, says they are now going live to “none other than Her Majesty The Queen”. At which point the programme cuts, live to the foyer of BFI Southbank, where the Spitting Image Puppet of The Queen is on camera. To anyone familiar with Louise’s performances with that puppet over the last dozen years, it is quite obvious from the voice, puppet mannerims and characterisation that Louise is on performing duties. She is hilarious, and significantly the lines the character delivers are brilliant, particularly when the presenters say that they need to get on and talk to their main guest (Darcy Bussell), and the character goes all afronted muttering “Who do I talk to too”.
The programme continues with a brief item about speed cameras in Glasgow. Followed by the programme’s main item, Darcy Bussell talking about a new television season on the history of ballet. Matt then cuts her with the words “We’ve interrupted The Queen and now we’re going to have to interupt you”. Then we have Lucy Siegle delivering a report on the problems of finding residential care homes. The it’s back to the studio first for a continuation of the residential care homes item, followed by interviewing Darcy Bussell about the TV show Strictly, on which she happens to be one of the judges.
Finally, the last item on the programme, introduced by Matt (who is clearly trying very hard not to laugh) it’s back to The South Bank and The Queen puppet. Who is at first pictured as though drinking beer! – How on earth did Louise manage that! – she’s a skilled puppeteer and it shows. Matt is laughing as he asks if they’ve disturbed her. I note that for this item Matt gets to do all the questions, Alex doesn’t get a look in, though it is quite obvious that both Matt and Alex are enjoying the hilarity of the piece (In a way it’s a shame Alex doesn’t get more to say in this scene, given her previous experience of interacting on television with puppets (performed by that formidable puppeteer – remember when Alex asked Amber O’Neil to ‘Cross everything for me”). However, Matt is clearly having a good time handling this interview, and just about keeping a straight face. The Queen Puppet has to explain why she is at The South Bank, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of Spitting Image. Matt asks if there are other famous faces from the programme there. The Queen Puppet replies that they all look so old now she can’t recognise anyone (which seems a good answer, and one where we can’t tell if she is referring to the celebrities who were caricatured or the puppets special friends) Matt asks why Spitting Image ended, almost without missing a beat, Louise has The Queen say “I stopped it”. Coming towards the end of the interview and indeed the programme, Matt asks (and this question seems rather well crafted too) “Is it possible to speak to your lady in waiting who we know is very good at voices”. The Queen Puppet insists on getting her plug in for an exhibition about Spitting Image at The Cartoon Museum. Matt then hurries her on by saying abruptly “Louise are you there?” At which Louise turns her clever left-hand so that the puppet appears to look down towards her, and as the camera pans down, Louise lowers her strong arms taking her puppet right down out of shot. Louise with her red hair cut short, looks like she’s aged a bit (but that is only to be expected). But The drowning Muppeteer is laughing a little herself as she is revealed. Matt then asks the doyenne of Spitting Image what it was like working on the show all those years ago. Louise comes across as though she is speaking quite naturally and not trying to put on an act. She says “It was amazing. It was scary, because it was all done at the last minute. I was going to say kick something scrambled , but I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that on TV at the moment” And with that the programme comes to an end, leaving on the presenters to do their presenter sign offs.
A gem of a performance from Louise Gold. It’s clear that Matt Baker and Alex Jones were finding Louise’s performance highly amusing. It’s lovely to see Louise still turning her clever left-hand to puppetry, and playing her part in Spitting Image’s thirtieth anniversary. Of course Louise is also a superb singer-actress, but whether she likes it or not, it is as puppeteer that she has achieved of her best known and perhaps most important work.
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