Spitting Hot Metal

I’ve just started watching Hot Metal, the mid-80s sitcom about the newspaper business, written by Andrew Marshall and David Renwick for LWT. I have a vague memory of watching it at the time, though it may have only been a snippet of one episode. A week after the first series finished, a new series of Spitting Image came on in its slot.

It’s well worth a watch, with some great performances. In the second series, we even get to see a prototype Victor Meldrew, with Richard Wilson joining the cast. I can see how his performance may have stirred something in Renwick. He even says ‘I don’t believe it’.

All this is to show you this.

To my mind, it’s a remarkable crossover, rarely seen in British sitcom. While shows often reference other shows, it’s not often, if ever, we see new material from one show shown within another.

Hot Metal features this scene.

Interestingly, while the puppets are clearly made by Spitting Image, the real actors are used to voice them, not impressionists. I think they missed a trick there.

Andy Riley, who wrote for Spitting Image in the 90s got in touch to say:

When I worked on the show (93-96), one of the generic puppets looked like Geoffrey Palmer, and I never thought to ask why. And there it is in this picture. Nobody but the Spits workshop could have made it anyway. Nobody else had the skill set, process and equipment to do it

We got onto the topic of the Lord Lucan puppet, which is featured in an early series, if not the first one, as the man himself, and then forever onwards crops up as a waiter or some such in lots of other sketches.

A few episodes later, Hot Metal also features this.

That looks like the real GMB graphics to me. And to underline the point …

Often things like this would be generic references. That said, TV-AM does crop up in an episode of The New Statesman of course.

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