Thatcher had profound effect on popular culture
FILE - This is a Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007 file photo of a Spitting Image puppet of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher now Baroness Thatcher's, at Christie's auction house in London, Spitting Image was a satirical puppet show televised in Britain in the 1980's and 1990's. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose conservative ideas made an enduring impact on Britain died Monday April 8, 2013. She was 87. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
LONDON (AP) — Margaret Thatcher was not just a political titan, she was a cultural icon — skewered by comedians, transformed into a puppet and played to Oscar-winning perfection by Meryl Streep.
With her uncompromising politics, ironclad certainty, bouffant hairstyle and ever-present handbag, the late British leader was grist for comedians, playwrights, novelists and songwriters whether they loved her or — as was more often the case — hated her.
Thatcher's free-market policies transformed and divided Britain, unleashing an outpouring of creative anger from her opponents. A generation of British comedians, from Ben Elton to Alexei Sayle, honed their talents lampooning Thatcher.
FILE - This is a Sunday June 18, 2006 file photo of Elvis Costello as performs with Allen Toussaint and the New Orleans Horn Section during the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles, Calif. Costello was critical of Margaret Thatcher's government in the 1980's in the song "Tramp the Dirt Down," Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose conservative ideas made an enduring impact on Britain died Monday April 8, 2013. She was 87. (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson, File)
To the satirical puppeteers of popular 1980s TV series "Spitting Image," Thatcher was a cigar-smoking bully, a butcher with a bloody cleaver, a domineering leader ruling over her docile Cabinet. One famous sketch showed Thatcher and her ministers gathered for dinner. Thatcher ordered steak. "And what about the vegetables?" the waitress asked. "They'll have the same as me," Thatcher replied.
In the U.S., "Saturday Night Live" got in on the act — albeit more gently — making the Iron Lady the subject of several skits. In one of them, Monty Python member Michael Palin played the prime minister shortly after her election in 1979, poking fun at her helmet of hair.