Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!

Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!
Cheeky Weekly was a British children's comic with cover dates spanning 22 October 1977 to 02 February 1980.

Basic Stats
Cheeky Weekly Index  Updated 23 March 2014
Cheeky Weekly Artist Index
Features by Number of Appearances
Issue Summaries posted to date
Major Characters from the Cheeky pages

 *** Material from Cheeky Weekly and related titles is used with permission of Egmont UK ***

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cheeky Weekly Star Guests in Whoopee! (part 4)

Week 8 of IPC's 1979 Star Guest promotion saw Elephant on the Run chosen as Cheeky Weekly's ambassador to Whoopee! The strip certainly deserved a Star Guest appearance, as it was among Cheeky Weekly's stand-out features. However, this particular episode doesn't really do the feature justice, as there's little of the daft humour that was so evident in its run in the toothy funster's comic. This weakness probably results from the need to restrict the story to a single page. EOTR had benefited from 2-page escapades in Cheeky Weekly up to the date of this Star Guest, whereas Star Guests were, as far as I'm aware, always single pages.

Whoopee! 19 May 1979
Art: Regular EOTR artist Robert Nixon
Many thanks to Irmantas for this scan

Readers of the above strip who were hitherto unaware of  Elephant and his predicament may have felt the introductory caption was somewhat perfunctory, but regular followers of EOTR had little more insight into the reasons behind the pachyderm protagonist's plight.

This Star Guest was a new page and never appeared in Cheeky Weekly.

Whoopee! readers whose interest was piqued enough by this set to motivate them to spend 9p of their precious pocket money for the same week's issue of Cheeky Weekly would have been disappointed to find Elephant and The Man In The Plastic Mac were absent from the then-current edition of our grinning pal's title (not the first time this basic error occurred with the Cheeky Weekly Star Guests – see also the promotional outings of Disaster Des and Skateboard Squad). However, EOTR resumed in Cheeky Weekly dated 26 May 1979 and clocked up appearances in a further 34 issues before being pursued into the annals of comic history (except for appearances in the Cheeky Holiday Special 1980 and Cheeky Annual 1981) when the toothy funster's comic was wound up.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A dip into a Cheeky reprint

Bruce has posted a reprint of Cheeky's Taking a Dive Movie Masterpiece from the Big Comic Holiday Special, 1989. The strip originally appeared in Whoopee! Dated 16 August 1980 (there was no mention of Cheeky on the cover that week as a competition was being promoted and there wasn't room).

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Goodbye Whoopee (and Gran, Stage School and Paddywack).

Art: Tom Paterson
By the late 1970s comic publishers had abandoned the custom of announcing a title's demise with a front-cover banner reading 'Great news inside, pals!'. Although a merging of two comics was inevitably given a positive spin, more subtle methods were employed on the front page to prepare readers for the imminent termination of their funny paper.

Thus readers of the 30 March 1985 issue of Whoopee could have been forgiven for missing the significance of Sweeny Toddler's 'Me's got to fly – tell you all about it inside' front page message, tying in as it did with the kite element of that week's Sweeny story. However, the cold facts were revealed on the centre pages – after a respectable 11 year presence on the newsagents' shelves Whoopee, which had lost its exclamation mark when it absorbed Wow! in 1983, had reached the end of its run and would be merged into Whizzer and Chips the following week.

Whoopee 30 March 1985

At this point it was 5 years since Cheeky Weekly had failed and been merged into Whoopee. Surprisingly, despite the subsequent incorporation of Wow! into Whoopee, the majority of the strips to transfer from the toothy funster's comic had survived to Whoopee's final issue in one form or another.

Let's have a look at their pages from this final issue of Whoopee...

Stage School, something of a latecomer to Cheeky Weekly where it commenced in July 1979, was one of the strips fortunate to make the transition to Whoopee and it continued, without lapsing into reprint, to feature on 2 pages every week up to the final issue...

Art: Robert Nixon

Stage School did not survive the merger into Whizzer and Chips. Sadly, as was often the case with strips that got dropped when a comic came to an end, the series is not drawn to any kind of satisfying conclusion, with the showbiz wannabes all being offered TV contracts or some such happy ending.

6 Million Dollar Gran had undergone a number of alterations since being welcomed into Whoopee. The first change was the subtle amendment of the strip's title from 6 Million Dollar Gran to $6000,000 Dollar Gran as of her first Whoopee appearance. The first major overhaul came when the synthetic senior citizen was hired as nanny to a group of kids and the strip was renamed Robot Granny. The second big change saw Gran became leader of a group of pensioners when the strip was retitled Gran's Gang, from which point her robotic nature was no longer apparent, and her weekly adventures were reduced to a single page.

Art: Ian Knox

Gran was another casualty of the merger.

Mustapha Million continued to appear until the final Whoopee, although he had reverted to reprints of his Cheeky Weekly exploits as of April 1984. On occasion the reprints were edited down from two pages to a single page. At first these reprints featured retouched speech balloons, squared off to match the Whoopee style, but later these alterations were dropped, as can be seen from this reprint in Whoopee's final issue...

Art: Reg Parlett
Reprint from Cheeky Weekly dated 03 June 1978

Mustapha's strips in Whizzer and Chips commenced with a page containing a single row of new art recounting how he came by his wealth, underneath which was a cut-down reprint of his adventure from Cheeky Weekly dated 03 February 1979. The reprints continued until new adventures of the middle-eastern moneybags began in February 1986, drawn by Robert Nixon before artwork duties were handed over to Barry Glennard and then Frank McDiarmid.

Calculator Kid had appeared throughout Whoopee's post-Cheeky-merge run, and had generated a spin-off, Calculator Corner (although absent from the final Whoopee).

Art: Terry Bave

In the case of Charlie Counter and his silicon-chipped sidekick, there is no conclusion to his adventures in the final Whoopee, as he survived the merge and continued to appear in Whizzer and Chips, as did Calculator Corner for a while. Eventually, however, Calculator Kid lapsed into reprints of his Cheeky Weekly adventures before the strip was dropped.

Paddywack: Jack Clayton
Bleep!: Jim Barker
Cheeky: Frank McDiarmid
Here Is The News: Ed McHenry

Paddywack was by this time reduced to a single row of panels on Whoopee's Quick Strips page, as was Cheeky, whose circumstances had been considerably reduced since he featured on four pages per week in his own comic section immediately after Cheeky Weekly merged into Whoopee. Paddywack didn't survive the merge into Whizzer and Chips. Cheeky didn't survive as a solo strip, but he continued to appear in Whizzer and Chips as a member of The Krazy Gang, who had been appearing there since Krazy merged into it way back in April 1978.

In addition to the strips above, there were additional appearances by ex-Cheeky Weekly characters in the final Whoopee...

Stage School Teacher  appears
on the Comic Turns page

Art: J Edward Oliver

In an attempt to lure any loyal Whoopee readers reluctant to make the transition to Whizzer and Chips, the final Whoopee contained the first part of a competition that would continue in W&C the following week.

So how were the readers of Whizzer and Chips informed of the imminent arrival of the Whoopee refugees? Well, there wasn't anything on the cover of the pre-merge issue to make readers suspect something significant was in the offing.

Art: Mike Lacey

Whizzer and Chips had at this point existed for 15 years, since the beginning styling itself as '2 comics in one', with the Chips section appearing within Whizzer. Readers were encouraged to separate the two comics and there was friendly rivalry between those readers who preferred the Whizzer section (styled Whizz-Kids and led by Sid of Whizzer's Sid's Snake cover strip), and those who favoured the Chips section (dubbed Chip-ites, who followed Shiner, the cover star of Chips).

Apart from some cryptic references on Sid and Shiner's pages, it wasn't until the centre spread that the fateful news was announced, in a nice set by Frank McDiarmid where the Whizz-Kid and Chip-ite leaders, in a process familiar from team games in all school playgrounds, selected their recruits from among the new arrivals. The two Whoopee survivors who had originated in Cheeky Weekly were both to become Chip-ites.

The above strip was not entirely honest about the number of inductees - it neglected to mention Bleep who transferred into the Chips section the following week (this omission was presumably to allow an even amount of divvying up by Sid and Shiner). Also not mentioned explicitly was the Calculator Corner puzzle feature that moved into Chips along with Calculator Kid.

I'll be examining the post-Cheeky Weekly careers of Cheeky, Gran, Stage School, Mustapha Million, Paddywack and Calculator Kid in more detail at a later date.

P.S. Any Family Trees fans keen to see more of 'The Saplings' who were introduced in Whoopee dated 24 November 1984 will be disappointed to learn that despite a caption promising they would return, the tiny trees were never seen again.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Cheeky Weekly cover date 19 May 1979

Art: Frank McDiarmid
This is the week that thirsty fans of the toothy funster have been waiting for since the IPC/Kellogg's free milkshake promotion was announced in the 21 April 1979 issue. Cheeky Weekly is the fourth and penultimate participating title to give away a sachet of drink mix. I evidently consumed said drink and didn't keep the empty packet, and other than this page, there doesn't seem to be any online resource offering more information about this particular brand of milk flavouring.

As has been the case with the other titles that carried free milkshakes, this gift-bearing issue of Cheeky Weekly coincides with the launch of a multi-part cut-out feature designed to retain any kids lured into buying this edition just to bag the freebie. Each title featured a Spotter Book on a different topic, and the subject of Cheeky Weekly's Spotter Book is the rather vague 'Town and Around'. This is the second such book to appear in the comic - the first was the Cheeky Spotter Book of Fun.

Considering the prominent dairy element of this front page, one might have expected Milkie to join the toothy funster for the cover gag, but the mirthful milk-deliverer is in fact absent from the entire issue, leaving our grinning pal to commence this week's frivolities with Baker's Boy.

6 Million Dollar Gran's story is reduced to 2 pages this week, and one might assume that this truncation is due to the presence of the Spotter Book if it wasn't for the appearance of a Tease Break filler where the third page of Gran's tale would normally be.

On page 8 is a rather unusual ad which requires the reader to do some work to discover the name of the advertiser.

This week's Star Guest spot features the paternal reminiscences of Dads As Lads from Whoopee!

On Wednesday Cheeky receives a smutty issue of the Mystery Comic (but only because Zoot Soot the chimney sweep is the donor). Having blown the ashy deposits off the perplexing publication, Cheeky enjoys a Tub episode featuring a cameo appearance by another of the Mystery Comic's stars.

Art: Page surround Ed McHenry,
Tub Nigel Edwards

Normal Mystery Comic proceedings are interrupted by the presence of the Spotter Book on its centre pages and the comic-within-a-comic rounds off with an enjoyably daft Disaster Des episode. Love the Sploik and Blat, both of which are surprisingly devoid of exclamation marks.

Art: Mike Lacey

Elephant on the Run and Why, Dad, Why? are absent this week due to the pressure on space resulting from the Spotter Book and an ad for Trebor Chews.

Returning to the Cheeky section of the comic, there's evidence of some alteration to the artwork on the Thursday page as the final panel is drawn by Mike Lacey whereas the rest of the page is by Frank McDiarmid. Mike's panel serves as an intro to a half page teaser for something coming next week.

Art: Frank McDiarmid except final panel
which is by Mike Lacey

Art: Mike Lacey

On the Chit-Chat page, reader Richard Leahy raises a question that many Friends of Cheeky will have pondered at one time or another...

After Cheeky's visit to the Vicar's Jumble Sale on Saturday, the comic concludes with another Burpo Special, this time focusing on Doodle Doug.

Artwork duties on the Cheeky's Week pages this issue are shared by Frank McDiarmid and Mike Lacey who contribute 10 and 2 elements (or parts thereof in the case of the main Thursday page) respectively.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 19-May-1979, Issue 80 of 117
1Cover Feature 'Free Milkshake and Spotter Book part 1'\Cheeky's Week - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
36 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
46 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
5Tease Break
6Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
7Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
8Ad: WH Smith
9Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
10Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
11Star Guest 'Dads As Lads'
12Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
13Tub 'Mystery Comic' 28 of 34 - Art Nigel Edwards
14Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 29 of 34 - Art Joe McCaffrey
15Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 29 of 34 - Art Joe McCaffrey
16Ad: Trebor 'Chews Superman competition' 1 of 2
17Cheeky Spotter Book of Town and Around (first appearance)
18Cheeky Spotter Book of Town and Around (first appearance)
19Mystery Boy reprint from Whizzer and Chips 'Mystery Comic' 31 of 37
20Disaster Des 'Mystery Comic' 26 of 30 - Art Mike Lacey
21Ad: IPC 'Jackpot' 3 of 7 Ad: 'Frankie Stein Holiday Special' 3 of 3
22Joke-Box Jury
23Thursday - Art Mike Lacey - Art Frank McDiarmid
24Thursday - Art Mike Lacey\Ad: IPC 'Krazy Holiday Special' 4 of 4
25Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
26Menace of the Alpha Man reprint from Shiver and Shake - Art Eric Bradbury
27Menace of the Alpha Man reprint from Shiver and Shake - Art Eric Bradbury
30Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
31Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
32The Burpo Special 'Doodle Doug' - Art Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 19-May-1979
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid10
Mike Lacey2

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Cut-Out Features - The Cheeky Spotter Book of Fun

There was no Tuesday page in the issue of Cheeky Weekly dated 31 December 1977 (that year's Christmas edition). A caption at the top of page 14 informed readers that the toothy funster slept through the whole of Tuesday. Cheeky had been previously seen in that issue at the Vicar's Boxing Day party, so it would appear that our grinning pal had overindulged on jelly and ice cream. A Cheeky's Week page without the toothy funster could have been quite interesting, but IPC's management had other plans and it was replaced by an announcement that would have readers either groaning, or else readying their scissors, in anticipation of The Cheeky Spotter Book of Fun, part one of which would appear in the following week's comic.

Readers contemplating dropping Cheeky Weekly in favour of sister comics Whizzer and Chips, Krazy or Whoopee! over the next four weeks in order to avoid the forthcoming pamphlet were thwarted by IPC's decision to run cut-out booklets (on different topics) in those titles as well.

Cheeky Weekly 07 January 1978

Judging by the frequency with which they used them, IPC must have found their cut-out feature promotions to be successful.

Cover of the Spotter Book
Cheeky Weekly 07 January 1978
Art: Jim Petrie

The book was launched with full front-cover treatment in Cheeky Weekly dated 07 January 1978 as the toothy funster announced 'Hey, Pals! You'll have some fun with this!'. Loyal Friends of Cheeky who stuck with the toothy funster's title would have found that this cut-out book actually wasn't half bad. Instead of one of those rather worthy keep-the-kids-quiet-in-the-back-of-the-car style of books in which junior travellers won a point every time they spied a post box, The Spotter Book of Fun was a humorous affair featuring Cheeky and his pals, plus it had the considerable bonus of being drawn by the great Jim Petrie, most famous for his long run on Minnie the Minx in DC Thomson's The Beano.

My copy of the Book of Fun's cover (above) has what appears to be a printing error that renders the unfortunate spotty kid even more severely afflicted as he seems to have contracted jaundice in addition to raging acne. It's evidently highly contagious as Cheeky's hand is developing the symptoms. These problems weren't apparent in the image of the booklet's cover on Cheeky Weekly's front page, although there does seem to be an issue with the kid's shirt.

Cheeky Weekly 21 January 1978
Jim Petrie again

In the four Cheeky Weekly issues from 07 to 28 January 1978, pages 31 and 32 contained an installment of the Spotter Book, each printed sideways and designed to be removed, folded in half and compiled into a 16-page pamphlet. Siting the Spotter Book installments on the last two pages of the comic meant that each week the pages of the booklet printed on page 32 were in colour, although for some reason in the 14 January 1978 edition page 32 was printed in red-and-white/blue-and-white only.

Cheeky Weekly 28 January 1978
Art: A cut-and-pasted Frank McDiarmid image
that originally appeared on page 31 of
Cheeky Weekly dated 29 October 1977
Cheeky Weekly 14 January 1978
Art: Jim Petrie

This was to be Jim Petrie's final work in Cheeky Weekly (his first work for the toothy funster's title appeared in an earlier cut-out series, the 1978 Diary), although he contributed most of the Cheeky pages in the 1979 Cheeky Annual which went on sale in autumn 1978.

Cheeky Weekly carried another multi-part Spotter Book, 'Cheeky Spotter Book of Town and Around', in May/June 1979 but it consisted of entirely straight 'spots' of the 'score a point if you see a litter bin' variety.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Cheeky Weekly Star Guests in Whizzer and Chips (part 4)

By week seven of IPC's 1979 Star Guest promotion, the dispersal of Cheeky Weekly Star Guests among the participating titles had settled into a regular pattern – odd-numbered weeks of the promotion saw representatives of the toothy funster's comic making visits to Whizzer and Chips, while Whoopee! hosted visitors from our grinning pal's title on even-numbered weeks.

Thus in the promotion's seventh week it was no surprise to find Cheeky Weekly guest stars appearing in Whizzer and Chips, but maybe the choice of strip is a little unexpected, because it's Why, Dad, Why?, the strip which made a Star Guest appearance in the previous week's Whoopee!.

WDW was on something of a roll at this time as, in addition to appearing as a  Star Guest for the second consecutive week, over in the edition of Cheeky Weekly sharing the same cover date as the issue of Whizzer and Chips from which the page below is taken, Dad and Son were for the only time promoted to the cover of the Mystery Comic.

Whizzer and Chips 12 May 1979
Art: John Geering

Unlike the WDW episode chosen for the strip's visit to the previous week's Whoopee!, which was less than emphatic in setting out the feature's premise, the story above highlights Son's incessant questioning, and Dad makes clear in panel four his views on this aspect of his offspring's personality. This could suggest that the page was specifically produced for use as a Star Guest rather than being selected from work intended for Cheeky Weekly (this strip was new and never appeared in the toothy funster's title).

The caption at the foot of the page advises Whizz-Kids and Chip-Ites that further father-and-son fun can be had in Cheeky Weekly (the comic had already received a plug in panel five). Any Whizzer and Chips readers who weren't deterred by the violence depicted in this strip and were keen to enjoy more knockabout larks of a similar nature had the opportunity (if they commenced reading our grinning pal's comic with the 12 May 1979 issue) to read a further 29 episodes before Cheeky Weekly expired and Why, Dad, Why? went into retirement.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Profile - The Knock-Knock Door

The self-propelled, talking Knock-Knock Door was certainly the most surreal of Cheeky's pals and definitely one of the most memorable.

By the time the door made its Cheeky Weekly debut in the 2nd issue of the toothy funster's comic (dated 29 October 1977), the entertaining entryway was already a veteran of Krazy comic, having to that date appeared in 47 editions of the title that spawned the Cheeky phenomenon.

Cheeky shares his inaugural joke with
the Knock-Knock Door in the debut
'Ello, It's Cheeky strip in the first issue of
Art: Frank McDiarmid

In its first two Krazy appearances, Knock-Knock Door was situated as one would expect a door to be - within a wall - and the words 'The Door' were painted on the brickwork above it, but as of Krazy dated 30 October 1976 the door was seen propelling itself around Krazy Town on a pair of castors, initially with 'The Door' painted on the door itself. A notice reading 'Please knock knock' was affixed to the door until Krazy's 27 November 1976 issue, and the words 'The Door' ceased to appear as of the 18 December 1976 comic. However both signs returned for a single time in Krazy's 12 February 1977 edition, and on two later occasions when Krazy covermeister Mike Lacey drew the door as the 'Ello, It's Cheeky strip made it onto the front page, Mike included the words 'The Door'.

Knock-Knock Door's origin was revealed in the Cheeky's Pal strip in Krazy's 30 July 1977 issue.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

Knock-Knock Door was honoured with a second Cheeky's Pal appearance in Krazy dated 22 October 1977 (the same week in which Cheeky Weekly made its debut), but on that occasion the page consisted of a selection of knock-knock gags.

Here's the first Cheeky Weekly appearance of Knock-Knock Door, in the second issue...

Art: Frank McDiarmid

The Cheeky's Week scriptwriter clearly wasn't short of knock-knock jokes as the door appeared in 110 issues of the toothy funster's comic (although it has to be admitted that gags with the punchline 'Doorchester' were used on several occasions). Not only were there plenty of knock-knock jokes, but Cheeky would usually deliver a door-based pun when the castor-propelled portal rolled into view.

In Cheeky Weekly dated 17 December 1977, Knock-Knock Door was somewhat incongruously present during the cinema interval, and in that year's Christmas issue Cheeky's wooden pal appeared with a shiny new nameplate bearing the words 'Knock-Knock Door', but the plate was never seen again.

A copy of the Mystery Comic was lodged in the door's letterbox on Friday in the 21 January 1978 edition, and the knock-knock gag in the 29 April 1978 issue...


Who's there?

Hey, man!

Hey, man who?

Hey, man Andrews!

...was contributed by reader Michael (Banjo) Bange of Dundee, whose punchline was a reference to TV presenter Eamonn Andrews, best known at the time for his work on long-running biographically-based show This Is Your Life.

In the comic dated 05 August 1978 Teacher, who was suffering from some sort of mania for the duration of that edition, delivered a knock-knock gag much to Cheeky's annoyance, although order was restored when the toothy funster was able to complete a joke with the door the following day.

An aged Cheeky encountered a somewhat dilapidated door in 19 August 1978's 60-years-into-the-future issue, wherein our grinning chum and his portal pal were shown to be suffering similar symptoms of the advancing years.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

The knock-knock joke in Cheeky Weekly dated 02 September 1978 introduced Cheeky's pal Ding-Dong Debbie, and in the 09 September 1978 Smurf issue the door had a keyhole convocation with the small cerulean songsters. The strip makes reference to a line in The Smurf Song which rather puzzled me at the time because I misheard 'small keyhole' as 'smoky hole'.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

The door was first elevated to cover co-star status on the front of the comic dated 14 October 1978, and returned to page one in the 18 November 1978, 27 January 1979 and 12 May 1979 issues.

Knock-Knock Door was the source of The Mystery Comic for a second time in Cheeky Weekly dated 24 February 1979, and in the 31 March 1979 'Jersey' issue Knock-Knock Door was seen sporting a facsimile of the toothy funster's jumper.

In the 08 September 1979 comic Six-Gun Sam delivered the knock-knock joke and in the following week's comic Cheeky allowed Granny Gumdrop, Yikky-Boo, Dan-Dan the Lavender Man and Teacher to do gags with the door. In the Christmas 1979 issue it was Cheeky's Dad's turn to do the knock-knock joke, and in the following week's issue Knock-Knock Door was seen among the guests at Cheeky's new year party.

Cheeky's Cut-Out Comedy Catalogue of Knock-Knock Door Jokes appeared in the 17 November 1979 edition.

The final Cheeky Weekly appearance of Knock-Knock Door
in the last issue of the toothy funster's title, 02 February 1980
Art: Frank McDiarmid

Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Knock-Knock Door11029-Oct-197702-Feb-1980

Missing From Issues

Count of elements by artist

Character Artist Total Elements
Knock-Knock DoorFrank McDiarmid61
Knock-Knock DoorFrank McDiarmid pencils21
Knock-Knock DoorMike Lacey18
Knock-Knock DoorBarrie Appleby7
Knock-Knock DoorDick Millington5
Knock-Knock DoorUnknown Cheeky Artist 13
Knock-Knock DoorJim Watson1
Knock-Knock DoorNot known1