The success of Frankie Goes to Hollywood seems to have Gone to ZZT’s heads, resulting in a one sided duel with the satirical Central TV programme Spitting Image (no relation to Ned Sherrin). At the start of the new series, Spitting Image decided Frankie were a prime target for their subtle treatment and they asked Holly Johnson to record a version of Relax. Holly say ‘yeah’, the plans were laid and the puppets made, when suddenly Frankie’s management decided that it really wouldn’t be good for the group’s wholesome image. Spitting Image went ahead anyway and put the song in using another vocalist.
ZZT were none too pleased.
Several weeks later Spitting Image became interested in a release from Red Door records which featured, with ZZT’s blessing, a version of Relax supposedly sung by Frank Sinatra (otherwise known as comic Nick Wilton).
Red Door granted permission for Spitting Image to use the recording and the producers applied to ZZT’s publisher, Perfect Records, for copyright clearance. It wasn’t until the Frank Sinatra puppet had been made (and the plans laid) for inclusion in the Montreaux TV Festival edition that Jill Sinclair of Perfect Songs let Spitting Image know that of course it was perfectly all right to use the song provided Perfect Songs received a cheque for £5000.
Spitting Image laughed and offered them £100. TT laughed, agreed they didn’t need the money, but offered to go down to £1000. Small but perfectly-formed Jill Sinclair’s reaction to being told that Red Door wasn’t asking anything at all for using the material was “Well that’s up to you, innit?” Spitting Image, not surprisingly, told them to naff off.