Spitting Image collection heads to Cambridge University archives

A Margaret Thatcher dummy from Spitting Image has entered the archives at Cambridge University, along with a video of the satirical TV show’s unbroadcast pilot episode and scores of sketches and scripts.

Spitting Image co-creator Roger Law said his personal collection, stored in three shipping containers on the Cambridgeshire Fens and at his home, was put in order for the archives by his wife Deirdre Amsden.

There are scripts from all 18 series from 1984 to 1996, video tapes and memorabilia including a Thatcher “toilet terror”.

As Law explains: “You put the loo Bloo in there, you hang it in your lavatory, have a poo on Maggie and then pull the chain. Great success, very popular.”

Spitting Image archive moved to Cambridge University
Spitting Image memorabilia including a limited edition Margaret Thatcher jug from 1989 and a toilet cleaner holder (Joe Giddens/ PA)

The Thatcher dummy is one of three, and Law said: “Children see that and they think that it’s Theresa May.”

Spitting Image party Fluck & Law
Spitting Image creators Roger Law and Peter Fluck (Ian Nicholson/PA)

There are also newspaper cuttings, designs and puppet moulds – including 10 large boxes of teeth moulds.

The first batch of items arrived at Cambridge University Library on Tuesday.

Over the coming months, they will be put into environmentally-controlled archival storage, catalogued, and could be displayed in future.

Spitting Image archive moved to Cambridge University
Spitting Image co-creator Roger Law with the Margaret Thatcher dummy (Joe Giddens/ PA)

Cambridge University Librarian Dr Jessica Gardner said it was “such an easy decision” to welcome the collection to the university’s archives.

“Immediately my eyes lit up and my sense of both the political, cultural and historical importance of this archive was immediate to me,” she said.

“I was absolutely delighted to go and speak to [Roger Law and Deirdre Amsden] in their home and to be here today now with the first tranche of the archive finally here at the university library.”

Spitting Image archive moved to Cambridge University
A Margaret Thatcher dummy from Spitting Image at Cambridge University Library. (Joe Giddens/ PA)

Law described the collection as the “culmination of four-and-a-half years of work” by his wife to archive it, adding: “It was a long time with no guarantees you were doing it for any given reason in the hope you could find it a home.

“It couldn’t be a better place for it to come.”

Law first met co-creator Peter Fluck as a teenager at Cambridge School of Art, they had their first studio in the city and Law said he felt “honoured” at the collection’s inclusion in the archives.

Spitting Image archive moved to Cambridge University
Transparencies from Spitting Image which have moved into the archives at Cambridge University Library. (Joe Giddens/ PA)

He added: “I think the only thing we actually achieved with Spitting Image, we didn’t change anything, but schoolchildren knew who ran the country for the first time ever.

“Now for those who are interested they can come here and find all the scandals and nonsense that went on in the 1980s to the mid-1990s which is probably more truthful than the official archives, because we didn’t stint ourselves.”

Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, who was a scriptwriter on the show, said: “I am delighted that the Spitting Image archive has gone to Cambridge University Library and that Roger Law is to be studied properly.

“It is about time.”

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