Spitting Image was canceled after just two seasons following criticism that the political satire was “toothless” and “too woke”.
The programme, which was resurrected for BritBox after a 24-year hiatus, has not been renewed for a third series, the streaming platform confirmed to MailOnline on Tuesday.
The revamped Spitting Image returned in 2020 and aired on the Britbox streaming platform, which is a joint venture run by the BBC and ITV.
The show used puppets, voiced by comedians, to portray Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Piers Morgan.
BritBox linked the cancellation to the “imminent launch” of the new ITVX TV Hub streaming service, which will offer subscribers access to all BritBox and ITV Hub content.
The satirical series originally ran for 18 series between 1984 and 1996.
Spitting Image was canceled after just two seasons following criticism that the political satire was “toothless” and “too woke”. Pictured: Boris Johnson’s puppet featured in Spitting Image’s revival series
The programme, which was resurrected for BritBox after a 24-year hiatus, has not been renewed for a third series, the streaming platform has confirmed to MailOnline. Pictured: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s puppets from the show
“BritBox will not be broadcasting any additional original commissions due to the imminent launch of ITVX,” the streaming platform told MailOnline.
“A Spitting Image commission for ITV has not been confirmed or announced.”
The programme, which reached a peak audience of 15 million viewers in the 1980s, has been described as “incredibly expensive” to produce.
Reports say the production spent around £10,000 on each individual puppet used in the show.
Matt Forde (pictured), the comedian and impressionist who voiced Boris Johnson and Donald Trump in the new series, argued that Spitting Image airing on BritBox contributed heavily to its less than desired ratings.
Additionally, the revival series lacked the viewership numbers of the original.
Spitting Image’s 2020 Halloween special, which aired on ITV, attracted 3.2 million viewers. The following year’s special was watched by 1.97 million people.
Ratings apparently dipped further when just 827,000 people tuned in for the 2021 Christmas special.
Matt Forde, the comedian and impressionist who voiced Boris Johnson and Donald Trump on the reboot, argued that Spitting Image airing on BritBox contributed heavily to his less than desired ratings.
“I thought it was madness not to have the whole series on mainstream ITV,” he told i Newspaper. “They spent all that money bringing this mega-brand back just to hide it on BritBox.
“It should have been on ITV, Channel 4, the BBC or Sky where everyone could see it.”
“It got crazy numbers when the specials were on ITV and the online numbers were skyrocketing.”
He added. “I just can’t believe it’s not on a mainstream channel at a time like this.”
Mr Forde also claimed the show was canceled at a time when there was a ‘huge public appetite’ for political satire in the UK.
“There’s a dearth of satire and it’s such a tragedy,” he explained. “There is a great public desire to see politicians ridiculed, but that is not reflected on TV.
“We don’t have the Daily Show or the Stephen Colbert Late Show like in the United States. It’s crazy not having a current comedy show all the time, you can’t give it six weeks.
“It takes a show time to lie down and find an audience. It has never been tried here.
Spitting Image has been heavily criticized since its first reboot in 2020. After its initial launch, the program was also criticized online as “poorly written” and “too wide awake”. Pictured: Greta Thunberg puppet featured in the Christmas special
Tennis star Emma Raducanu also appeared in Spitting Image’s Christmas special
Last year, the writers at Spitting Image faced backlash after they described Jess Phillips, the Labor MP for Birmingham Yardley, as a “boring, outspoken feminist superhero” who uses her “big boobs” and ” big tits” to fight crime.
However, viewers claim the show was canceled because it “wasn’t funny or satirical” and was “absolutely shitty under Matt Forde”.
“I don’t think anyone will miss the current version of Spitting Image after it’s removed,” tweeted viewer Stephen Moran. “It was p**s poor, lacked the bite of the original, devoid of humor and had appalling voice-overs.”
David Cheetham echoed, “I don’t think anyone who’s watched a few episodes of the resurrected Spitting Image would have any doubts as to why it was cancelled.” It was really catastrophic.
“It’s worth remembering that besides being weird misogynistic garbage, Spitting Image just wasn’t funny or satirical,” said another, adding, “And Matt Forde is a talentless hack.”
Elaine Scattermoon added: ‘It’s always a shame to lose sharp, insightful political satire that dares to poke fun at those at the top of the ladder.
“Fortunately, the new Spitting Image under Matt Forde wasn’t like that at all. Next time, take Chris Morris instead.
Viewers claim the show was canceled because it ‘wasn’t funny or satirical’ and was ‘absolutely shitty under Matt Forde’
Others noted that the show’s content was the main cause for its cancellation, with one Twitter user stating, “Every scene I’ve seen has put me off.”
Spitting Image has been heavily criticized since its first reboot in 2020.
After its initial launch, the program was also criticized online as “poorly written” and “too wide-awake”.
Viewers claimed it lacked the comedy portrayed in the original series.
Comedian Chris Morris called the show “toothless” and claimed it “quieted the court”.
Spitting Image also met with major backlash last year when an ‘awful’ skit featured Jess Phillips as a superhero who uses her ‘big v*g’ and ‘big boobs’ to fight crime – well that the Labor MP had previously been the target of death threats and rape.
The four-minute clip portrays the MP for Birmingham Yardley as ‘Viral’, a ‘boring outspoken feminist superhero who wants to make Labor more electable’.
At the time, comedian Rachel Parris, who said she had good friends working on the show, described it as “f***ing horrible”.