Unabashed Heterophobe (paulnolan) wrote in ontd_political,
Unabashed Heterophobe

Coalition government has killed off political satire

Political satire is in danger of dying out under the Coalition government because there are no characters worth lampooning, Sir David Frost has warned.

The veteran broadcaster, who pioneered the genre in the 1960s television series That Was The Week That Was, said Britain's new consensus politics had placed satire in "intensive care" - in marked contrast to the 1980s, when Spitting Image delighted in sending up Lady Thatcher and her Cabinet colleagues.

The country which once led the world in poking fun at politicians now looks on in envy at the US, where the gaffe-prone George W Bush and Sarah Palin have provided comedians with endless material.

"What about the future of political satire here in the UK under our new coalition government? From where I sit I have to admit it's difficult to see. I suspect it will come from satire on the workings of government rather than the deeds of individuals, but who knows? Perhaps our new George W or Sarah P are just around the corner," Sir David said.

"In the meantime, it's all too easy to forget that British satire was once, like our NHS, the envy of the world.... Doesn't each and every one of us have a duty to help raise satire from intensive care and nurse it back to rude - very rude - health?"

Writing in the Radio Times to launch his forthcoming BBC4 documentary, Frost on Satire, Sir David said of Spitting Image: "One of the most prominent puppets - and arguably the star of the show - was the Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, portrayed as a cigar-chomping tyrant. Her resignation in 1990 left the Spitting Image team bereft, precipitating a slump in the show's fortunes. So did satire survive the show's demise? Not here perhaps."

His comments were endorsed in part by Peter Fluck, the co-creator of Spitting Image, which ran from 1984-1996.

"I certainly don't think British satire is dead. The last movie I went to see was Four Lions by Chris Morris, one of the best satirists that ever worked. He has been wise enough to choose the media as his target, not politicians," Mr Fluck said.

"Frost is right that political satire is floundering. The thing about Thatcher was that she was incredibly extreme. She was obviously somebody to be feared and it's a lot easier when you're dealing with extremes. At least with Thatcher you knew where you stood - she wanted to destroy the miners, to go to war with Argentina, to implement enormous public spending cuts.

"Now we're dealing with an ad agency running the government. You don't really know what's going on. This lot think about PR all the time. It's all marketing."

Rory Bremner complained before the election that Nick Clegg was almost impossible to impersonate. "I struggle with David Cameron, but I find Clegg particularly difficult to master," he said. "Professionally speaking, I want characters to win the election, but sadly we are probably going to lose a generation of people like David Blunkett and John Prescott."

Source: The Telegraph
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Tags: satire, uk

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded