Roger Law (born 6 September 1941, in Littleport, Cambridgeshire), is a British caricaturist, ceramist and one half of Luck and Flaw (with Peter Fluck), creators of the popular satirical TV puppet show Spitting Image. Roger Law was a pioneer in bringing political caricatures from newspapers and magazines to television. In 2020 Roger Law was executive producer on the new series of Spitting Image made with Avalon Productions and streamed on Britbox.
Early life and education
In 1960 whilst Roger was at Cambridge School of Art he was made art director of the university magazine, Granta. That same year, Roger was also published by East Anglian Magazine. After graduating from Cambridge School of Art, Law started his career working in print, namely magazines. By 1963, Law was creating a weekly cartoon with Peter Cook for The Observer, a short-lived venture aptly named ‘Almost the end’. At the same time, Law was also doing a 14 ft long weekly cartoon strip for The Establishment Club, a nightclub opened by Peter Cook in Soho. The Establishment Club has since been named as a pivotal meeting spot for the British satirical movement in the 1960s.
In 1966 Law worked as a freelance caricaturist and illustrator for The Sunday Times. During this time he made his first 3D caricature model for Nova Magazine which won a D&AD silver award. That same year Law also worked on album covers for The Who, The Who Sell Out and Jimi Hendrix's Axis Bold as Love. Law is also said to have made a brief appearance in The Who's music video for "Happy Jack".
In 1967 Law moved to the United States and took up residence at Reed College, Portland. Whilst in the US Law worked on his first film featuring puppets, called The Milkman. The Milkman dystopian-satirical look at American capitalism and the technology that surrounded it. The film was awarded Rockefeller grant. Law also freelanced for Esquire and Newsweek.
After a brief stint working in New York at Push Pin Studios with Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast, Law returned to the UK in 1969 to be a features editor at The Sunday Times Magazine. When Rupert Murdoch bought The Times and The Sunday Times in 1975, Law left the magazine and formed a partnership with Peter Fluck, a group which became Luck & Flaw. Together they made 3D caricature models for magazine covers worldwide, including The New York Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Stern and The Economist & Radio Times. The pair also did visual satire over several pages for the National Lampoon. The piece on the common market was sold to every European country. In 1979 Luck & Flaw illustrated Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, published by Viking.
Law and Fluck also created caricature ceramics, featuring British politicians including Margaret Thatcher and members of the British royal family. In 1980 the BBC's Arena made an arts documentary on Luck and Flaw called The Luck and Flaw Show.
In 1981 Law and Fluck made a plan to transfer political caricatures to television, which was funded by Martin Lambie-Nairn. Two years later the pilot for Spitting Image was shot. On 26 February 1984, the first episode of Spitting Image was transmitted on ITV for Central Independent Television. This was the first series of 18. In 1985 Spitting Image created puppets for two shows called ‘Michael Nesmith’s Television Parts’ for NBC Network TV, USA. In 1986, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by the pair, was published by Faber & Faber.
Arena made another two specials about Spitting Image, The Spitting Image Factory, where Law and Fluck toured the workshop where the show was produced. Also in 1985, they made another documentary with Arena called Luck and Flaw's Guide to Caricature.
In 1986 a song by Spitting Image, "The Chicken Song" topped the UK hit parade for three weeks. Under Law's creative eye the Spitting Image workshop produced merchandise alongside the show, notably rubber dog chews called 'Pet Hates' with the slogan ‘Throw a politician to your dog’. Spitting Image also released many popular books, such as The Appallingly Disrespectful Spitting Image Book and The Spitting Image Giant Komic Book. The Spitting Image workshop also created the puppets for the music video "Land of Confusion" by Genesis. The same year, Spitting Image published a book titled Tooth and Claw: Inside Story of "Spitting Image". This book gave an insight into working at the Spitting Image workshop and was mainly visual. In 1990 Spitting Image brought out ‘The Real Maggie Memoirs’ and Law published his first book, ‘A Nasty Piece of Work’, written in collaboration with Lewis Chester.
The Alliance Graphic International (AGI) elected Law as a member in 1993.
By 1994 Spitting Image had been franchised in countries such as Japan, Czech Republic, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Germany and Russia. That same year Law worked on a new puppet TV film Peter and the Wolf: A Prokofiev Fantasy. It was the musical tale of Peter and the Wolf brought to life by puppets and human characters in a fairy tale world. The film was narrated by Sting and conducted by Claudio Abbado. Peter and the Wolf was the first-ever international co-production. In 1995 Law and Spitting Image funded a short animated film called The Big Story made by David Stoten and Timothy Watts, which was then nominated for an Academy Award (Oscar) and a BAFTA award.
The last series of Spitting Image was aired in 1996. The first online sale of the Spitting Image puppets was organised in 2000 by Kerry Taylor of Sotheby’s. The second sale was just a year later and hosted at Olympia. In 2018 Cambridge University Library accepted the Spitting Image Archive.
In September 2019 Spitting Image was confirmed to be returning twenty-three years after it was last aired. Avalon Productions produced the ten shows with Roger's as Exec Producer alongside Jeff Westbrook, Richard Allen-Turner, Joanna Beresford, and Jon Thoday. The first show was premiered on Britbox in the UK in the Autumn of 2020. The shows were also aired globally on separate platforms. Avalon has confirmed another ten shows to be aired in 2021.
The second series of Spitting Image aired in 2021, with Law being credited as executive producer.
From 1996 to 1997 Crapston Villas, which was produced in the Spitting Image workshop and studio, was aired. It was a stop-motion animation featuring a set of characters, living in a grim apartment building in the fictional London postcode of SE69, who were plagued by various dilemmas.
Roger then moved to Australia as an artist in residence at the National Art School in Sydney. That same year he was made a fellow of the International Specialised Skills Foundation in Australia. In 1999 Roger was made a member of The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry (RDI).
In 2000 Roger was an artist in residence at Dartington pottery in Devon, UK. Roger also had three exhibitions Risk Takers and Pioneers, Aussie Stuff-Way Beyond the Black Stump and The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2000. In that same year Roger was also presented an award from the University of Leicester's Political Studies Association on their 50th Anniversary 1950 – 2000
In 2005 Roger's second book, a semi-autobiography, Still Spitting at Sixty was published by Harper Collins with chapters on his Australian travels. Law also worked in Jingdezhen, China producing large carved ceramics. The Sladmore Gallery in London now sells Law's ceramics. Law then moved back to the UK in 2012.
Whilst Roger was at Art school Paul Hogarth, one of his tutors, showed him the French magazine, L’Assiette au Buerre. Roger has stated many times that the drawings and attitudes of the magazine were a great inspiration. L’assiette au Buerre was illustrated front to back with cartoons or caricatures with only a short satirical caption written at the bottom of each page. The magazine challenged social norms and commented on problems of the period but had no clear political alliance.
During Roger's early career whilst working closely with Peter Cook at The Observer and The Establishment Club he met many satirists including Lenny Bruce, such meetings gave him his first steps to use his drawing skills for satire. He quotes
“Only those who attempt the absurd are capable of achieving the impossible.”
Roger has always cited that the ‘family friendly’ puppet show Punch and Judy was a great inspiration when working on Spitting Image, they both pushed boundaries. The idea that you can have extreme violence, murder, and infanticide yet is still funny and even enjoyed by children was, retrospectively, his first step in creating the grotesque Spitting Image style.
Roger has stated that his mentor was Paul Hogarth was a huge inspiration. Hogarth was an English artist and illustrator. Best known for his travel drawings that he made for Graham Greene's books, Robert Graves books and the Irish playwright Brendan Bingham.
The Fen's where Roger Law was born was outlaw territory until comparatively recently and anti-establishment attitudes still linger on. Roger feels growing up around people who had less of a desire to follow the rules gave him licence to break them throughout his career.
He married Deidre Amsden (a quilt designer) in 1960 in Cambridge. They have a son (born 1962) and daughter (born 1965).
|Series 1||1984||26 February – 17 June||12 episodes||Mostly 10 pm|
|Series 2||1985||6 January – 24 March||11 episodes||Mostly 10 pm|
|Series 3||1986||6 January – 2 November||17 episodes||Mostly 10 pm|
|Series 4||1987||1 November – 6 December||6 episodes||Mostly 10 pm|
|Series 5||1988||6 November – 11 December||6 episodes||Mostly 10 pm|
|Series 6||1989||11 June – 9 July||5 episodes||Mostly 9.30 pm|
|Series 7||1989||12 November – 17 December||6 episodes||Mostly 10.05 pm|
|Series 8||1990||13 May – 24 June||6 episodes||Mostly 10.05 pm|
|Series 9||1990||11 November – 16 December||6 episodes||Mostly 10.05 pm|
|Series 10||1991||14 April – 19 May||6 episodes||Mostly 10.05 pm|
|Series 11||1991||10 November – 15 December||6 episodes||Mostly 10.05 pm|
|Series 12||1992||12 April – 17 May||6 episodes||Mostly 10.05 pm|
|Series 13||1992||4 October – 8 November||6 episodes||10.05 pm|
|Series 14||1993||16 May – 20 June||6 episodes||10.45 pm|
|Series 15||1993||7 November – 12 December||6 episodes||10pm|
|Series 16||1994||1 May – 5 June||6 episodes||10pm|
|Series 17||1994||6 November – 18 December||7 episodes||10pm|
|Series 18||1996||14 January – 18 February|
Spitting Image Specials
|Down And Out in the White House||1986||14 September||9.45 pm||45 minutes|
|The Spitting Image 1987 Movie Awards||1987||Saturday 4 April||10.45 pm||30 minutes|
|Election Special||1987||Thursday 11 June||10pm||45 minutes|
|A Non-Denominational Spitting Image Holiday Special||1987||27 December||10pm||30 minutes|
|The Ronnie And Nancy Show||1988||17 April||9.30 pm||30 minutes|
|Bumbledown – The Life and Times of Ronald Reagan||1988||Saturday 29 October||10.15 pm||45 minutes|
|The Sound Of Maggie||1989||Saturday 6 May||10.10 pm||45 minutes|
|Election Special||1992||Wednesday 8 April||10.40 pm||30 minutes|
|The Spitting Image Pantomime||1993||26 December||10pm||30 minutes|
|Ye Olde Spitting Image||1995||1 January||10.45 pm||30 minutes|
|Best Ever Spitting Image||2006||25 June||10pm||47 minutes|
|Spitting Image at 30||2014||25 February||9 pm||45 minutes|
|Year||TV Show||Channel||Production Company|
|1980||Luck & Flaw (BBC arts documentary)||BBC||Arena|
|1987||Luck & Flaw’s History of Caricature.
(BBC Omnibus television arts documentary)
|BBC||BBC - Omnibus|
|1996 -1997||‘Crapston Villas’||Channel 4||Produced by Richard Bennett, Sarah Ann Kennedy and Spitting Image Productions|
|1988||Two BBC Arena specials||BBC||Arena|
|1997||Strip Show (animated pilot)||Channel 4|
|2006||Best Ever Spitting Image||ITV|
|2012||A Law Unto Himself||Australian Broadcasting Corporation|
|2014||Whatever Happened to Spitting Image?||BBC 4||Arena|
|2014||Carved, Drawn and Quartered||BBC 4|
|2014||Genesis: Together & Apart (or Genesis: Sum of the Parts)||BBC 2|
|2016||The Janice Forsyth Show||BBC Scotland|
|2020||Spitting Image – Series One||Britbox||Avalon|
|2021||Spitting Image – Series Two||Britbox||Avalon|
|1993||Peter & The Wolf||Steve Bendelack, Roger Law & Christopher Swann|
|1995||The Big Story||Tim Watts and David Stoten||Spitting Image Productions|
|1999||Periwig Maker||Steffen Schäffler||Annette Schäffler|
|Show||Episodes||Date First Aired||Broadcaster||Producer|
|Nasty, Brutish and Short – The History of Mr Punch||1 episode(s)||1997||BBC Radio 4|
|Art Made in China||5 episode(s)||4 February 2008||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Museum of Curiosity||Took part in episode||31 May at 12 noon 2008||BBC Radio 4|
|Spitting Images||1 episode(s)||1 February 2009||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Arts, Classical and Jazz zone||1 episode(s)||07/05/2009||BBC Radio Scotland||Mark Rickards|
|Whatever Happened to the Teapots?||1 episode(s)||9 November 2009||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Spitting In Russian||1 episode(s)||1 January 2010||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|The Secrets of the Art and the Artist: Caravaggio||3 episode(s)||14 March 2010||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Into Here||5 episode(s)||23 November 2010||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Archive on 4 - Satire: The Great British Tradition||1 episode(s)||Saturday 8 May 2010||BBC Radio 4|
|The New Silk Road with Roger Law||1 episode(s)||29 July 2011||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Roger's Rabbits||1 episode(s)||29 October 2011||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Midday with Margaret Throsby||Tuesday 15 May 2012||ABC Classic FM Radio|
|Roger Law and the Chinese Curiosities||2 Seasons
5 episode(s) in each
|2 July 2012 (Season 1)||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Seriously - South Africa Spits Back||1 episode(s)||30 March 2013||BBC Radio 4|
|Wow! How Did They Do That?||5 episode(s)||12 August 2013||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Private Passions||1 episode(s)||9 November 2014||BBC Radio 3|
|Roger Law: Art and Seoul||5 episode(s)||21-25 December 2015 (Season 2)||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Roger Law and The Giant Pot||1 episode(s)||Tue 22 August 2017||BBC Radio 4||Mark Rickards|
|Title||Date||Published By||Roger Credit||Author|
|A Christmas Carol||1979||Viking||Roger Law and Peter Fluck Illustrated||Charles Dickens|
|The Appallingly Disrespectful Spitting Image Book||1985||FABER & FABER||Spitting Image|
|Treasure Island||1986||Faber & Faber||Editor, Illustrator||Robert Louis Stevenson|
|The Spitting Image Giant Komic Book||1988||PYRAMID BOOKS||Nick Newman|
|Spitting Images||1987||Century||Created by Fluck & Law|
|A Nasty Piece of Work||1992||Booth-Clibborn Editions||Roger Law (Lew Chester)|
|Thatcha The Real Maggie Memoirs Margret Thatcher||1993||Octopus, Hamlyn||Spitting Image|
|Still Spitting at Sixty: From the 60s to My Sixties, A Sort of Autobiography||2005||HarperCollins UK||Author||Roger Law|
|AGI: Graphic Design Since 1950||2007||Thames and Hudson||Contributor||Ben & Elly Bos|
|The QI Annual||2007||Faber and Faber||Drawings - Roger Law’s China||John Lloyd|
|The QI Annual||2008||Faber and Faber||Illustrations for Which Ancient Chinese Fool Are You?||John Lloyd|
|The QI Annual||2009||Faber and Faber||Illustrations for QI’s A to Z of Gods, Oh My Gods!||`John Lloyd|
|The Illustration Idea Book||2018||Laurence King Publishing||Contributor||by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson,|
|N/A||1986||The Mrs Thatcher Teapot and the Reagan Coffee Pot||The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery Ceramic Collection.|
|13 August -18 October||N/A||The Cutting Edge,||Barbican Art Gallery||London|
|N/A||N/A||Seven Deadly Sins (purchased by the V&A for their collection also by The British Council for their collection).||Victoria and Albert Museum||London|
|N/A||1995||Teapot Mania, touring exhibition.||Norwich Castle Museum, (teapot now in the Castle Museum Ceramic Collection).||Norfolk|
|May/July||1995||Making Sense||Exeter City Museums and Art Gallery|
|25 June - 13 July||1996||Modern Antiques, exhibition with Janice Tchalenko.||Richard Dennis Gallery, London|
|1997||Time for Tea||International travelling exhibition||The British Council|
|23 April - 5 May||1999||Exhibited in the National Art School Ceramics Staff Exhibition.||Mura Clay Gallery.||Newtown, Sydney|
|24 October - 25 November||2000||Way Beyond the Black Stump (Exhibition and catalogue of watercolours, brush drawings, prints, ceramics and bronzes)||Rebecca Hossack Gallery||London|
|2000||Risk Takers and Pioneers||Centenary Gallery||Camberwell, London|
|Summer||2000||The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition||The Royal Academy of Arts||Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD|
|5-28 April||2005||The Land of Oz.||The Fine Art Society,||New Bond Street, London, UK.|
|17 June – 3 July||2005||Plates Painted at Dartington,|
|Unknown||2006||Cover Story – The Art and Photojournalism of the Sunday Times Magazine, exhibition||The Gin House||London.|
|4 August – 3 September.||2006||Cicada Press Exhibition of Prints.||Marianne Newman Gallery||Crows Nest, Sydney|
|7 – 23 September||2006||Prints from Cicada Press.||Michael Nagy Fine Art Gallery||Woollahra, Sydney|
|Unknown||2007||Prints from Cicada Press.||Marianne Newman Gallery||Crows Nest, Sydney|
|Unknown||2007||Prints from Cicada Press,||Michael Nagy Fine Art Gallery||Sydney|
|Unknown||2007||The Annual Jingdezhen Ceramics Fair International Exhibition.||N/A||Jingdezhen, China.|
|Unknown||2007||Christmas Ceramics, a group exhibition,||The Fine Art Society,||London.|
|April||2008||Between the Flags.||Prints from Cicada Press.||Orange, New South Wales.|
|4 September – 17 October.||2008||Drawn Encounters||The Gallery at Wimbledon||London|
|20 October – 3 November.||2008||Anglia Ruskin University 150: A Pictorial History – Past and Present on the Cambridge Site.||Anglia Ruskin University Library.||Cambridge|
|Unknown||2008||Prints made with Cicada Press||The Print Collection of the National Gallery of Australia,||Canberra|
|Unknown||2010||The Really, Really Rude Show.||Andrew Edmunds Print Shop,||Lexington Street, London.|
|18 October 2011 – 8 January 2012.||2010–11||Private Eye: The First 50 Years||Victoria & Albert Museum||London|
|4 November 2011 – March 2012,||2011–12||Porcelain City: Jingdezhen, exhibition||the Victoria & Albert Museum||London|
|Private view 18 January 2012, exhibition continued until 11 February 2012.||2012||Funding the Future (exhibition and auction)||Contemporary Ceramics Centre||London|
|1 February – 8 April.||2012||Her Maj, 60 Years of Unofficial Portraits of the Queen,||Cartoon Museum||London|
|Australia 15–20 May||2012||Travelling Light (Solo exhibition)||Mary Place Gallery||Paddington, Sydney|
|2 August – 3 November||2013||Cover Story: Radio Times at 90 (exhibition of Radio Times covers)||Museum of London|
|26 February – 8 June.||2014||Spitting Image, From Start to Finish||Cartoon Museum||London|
|30 October – 15 November.||2014||Roger Law (solo exhibition)||Sladmore Contemporary||Bruton Place, London|
|London 8–11 May||2015||Collect, Sladmore Contemporary||Crafts Council, The Saatchi Gallery.||London|
|5–12 December||2015||Wells Art for Wells Charities,||Gallery Plus||Norfolk|
|30 November – 23 December.||2016||Transported, Roger Law & Stephen Bird||The Scottish Gallery||Edinburgh|
|28 January – 4 March.||2017||Black & White||Oxford Ceramics||Oxford|
|3 May – 3 June.||2017||175 Years of Art||The Scottish Gallery||Edinburgh|
|6 December to January 2018.||2017–18||Roger Law Ceramics,||Sladmore Contemporary||London|
|19 November to April 2018.||2018||Satire to Ceramics||Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts||Norwich|
|29 March (opened)||2019||Laughing Matters: The State of a Nation,||The Victoria & Albert Museum.||London|
|4 June||2019||Daylight Rubbery||The Political Cartoon Gallery & Café||Putney, London|
|8-23 June||2019||Birds, (exhibition inspired by birds)||Fen Ditton Gallery||Cambridge|
|14-22 September||2019||Modern Art for Modern Living||Fen Ditton Gallery||Cambridge|
Awards and nominations
|Golden Rose of Montreux||1985||Spitting Image||-||win|
|Broadcasting Guild award||1985||Spitting Image|
|Nominated for BAFTA Award||1985||Spitting Image||VTR Editors||Loss|
|International Emmy||1986||Spitting Image||Outstanding popular arts||Won|
|Nominated for BAFTA||1986||Spitting Image||Light Entertainment|
|Golden Gate Awards, San Francisco, USA||1988||X2 Won|
|Bronze Lion Award||1988|
|D&AD Award||1989||Spitting Image||Television and cinema graphics|
|Special Mention in Television Queen Award||1989||Spitting Image|
|International Film and TV Award, New York, USA.||1989||Spitting Image|
|17th International Emmy nomination||1989||Spitting Image|
|Gold Medal, New York Film & TV Festival.||1991||Spitting Image|
|Nominated for a BAFTA Award||1992||Spitting Image||Light Entertainment.|
|Broadcast Awards||1996||Crapston Villas,||Best New Programme.|
|BPI Platinum Disc||Spitting Image's Chicken Song|
|Six MTV award nominations||1987||Land of Confusion, Genesis music video|
|Grammy Award||1987||Land of Confusion, Genesis music video|
|Diamond Award||1987||Land of Confusion, Genesis music video||Best Storyboard, Best Video and Best Group Video.|
|Best Animated Production, TV Movie Awards, New Jersey, USA.||1991||Best Animated Production|
|International Emmy||1994||Puppet film Peter and the Wolf,||Music and Arts Award|
|Nominated for American Academy Award (OSCAR)||1995||The Big Story|
|Nominated BAFTA Award||1995||The Big Story|
|D&AD Award||1966||Nova Magazine 3D caricature illustration|
|Award for Consistent Excellence, Association of Illustrators||1983|
|Lifetime Achievement Award, Cartoon Art Trust, London, UK||1998|
|Award presented to Roger Law by the Political Studies Association Awards on their 50th Anniversary||2000|
|Oldie Puppeteer of the Year||2020|
- "Roger Law". Lambiek.net. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
- Lambiek Comiclopedia article.
- The Times March 2005
- Whatever happened to the teapots?