Splitting Image Tweaks Ed Sheeran’s Puppet Over Fears of Offending Redheads

Spitting Image has revamped the Ed Sheeran puppet amid concerns that ginger people will be insulted by placing a carrot on top of the singer's head.

Ed's initial puppet had, according to The Sun, carrot leaves sprouting from its head. They have now been replaced by turnip leaves.

When television executives received a glimpse of the program and worried it may create so much offense, the producers made last-minute changes.

An ITV source told The Sun they thought the hair could be "gratuitously offensive," hence the puppet's rejigged look.

The producers, however, pointed out a fine line when one is making comedy. "[It is] one thing poking fun at the rich and powerful but it's another insulting some viewers," they said. While last-minute changes could cost quite a lot of money, producers said the price is worth it.

Unhappy puppeteers?

Ed Sheeran's Spitting Image puppet's announcement arrives just days after bosses defended Greta Thunberg's weathergirl makeover. When the show returns, the 17-year-old climate change protester will send a message about the weather, but some reviewers claimed that making fun of the teen who has autism was cruel. 

Reemah Sakaan, group director of online video on demand at ITV, answered the uproar. "It's a very straightforward joke and is nothing to do with her as an individual," she said.

"If the show isn't stirring controversy it's probably not doing what it set out to do, or being true to its origins," she added.

Producers have often been accused of bigotry over their black celebrities' portrayals, including Kanye West and Beyonce. However, they responded to suggestions of how black people in the next series have been presented.

Roger Law, the Spitting Image founder, even insisted that the puppets portraying black actors were not racial.

"People sit around looking for things to complain about, and I do big noses and big ears," he said. He underscored that what he does is something "personal [and] not a racist thing."

Law added personal parody has "more effect on individuals than waxing lyrical about their policies."

He said one cannot really change anybody's mind by shouting at them. "But you can with humour," Law added.

What's in store for Spitting Picture's comeback?

It's been 24 years since the last showing of Spitting Picture. The humorous puppet display that was seen in its heyday by 15 million people is back. Hence, it's no joke that a brand new bunch of celebrity marionettes would hit the room. 

This week on Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan revealed his marionette, joining Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West.

Billie Eilish, Brad Pitt, Charles and Camilla, Dominic Raab, Elton John, Greta Thunberg, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harry Trends, Idris Elba, Michael Gove, and Taylor Swift are among the other new puppets on the stage. Among the prominent personalities being satirized are Harry and Meghan and US President Donald Trump, too.

Spitting Picture returns to screens tomorrow night, October 3. The show comes back on a 10-week series on the subscription service Britbox, produced by the BBC and ITV. The show is expected to liven up viewers' Saturday night TV.

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