Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!


Welcome to the Cheeky Weekly blog!
Cheeky Weekly ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED was a British children's comic with cover dates spanning 22 October 1977 to 02 February 1980.

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Basic Stats
Cheeky Weekly Index Updated 06 June 2017
Cheeky Weekly Artist Index Updated 08 June 2017
Features by Number of Appearances
Issue Summaries posted to date
Major Characters from the Cheeky pages
Features Ordered by Date of Commencement

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*** CHEEKY WEEKLY, KRAZY, WHOOPEE and WHIZZER AND CHIPS ARE ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ***

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Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Pages - Page 11

Page 11 in the first issue of Cheeky Weekly was home to the third page of 6 Million Dollar Gran's debut adventure, as was page 11 in the following issue. Gran took a break from page 11 in the 05 November 1977 comic, allowing the Old Comic feature to appear on that page, showcasing a Deed-a-Day Danny strip from Sun Weekly.

Gran was back on page 11 for the next 2 weeks, after which the synthetic senior citizen never returned to this location.

In the 26 November 1977 comic, the Friends of Cheeky competition, in which 500 Cheeky T-Shirts were to be won, was the subject on page 11.  Tuesday then moved into page 11 for 2 weeks, after which the advertising feature What's New, Kids enjoyed a 2 week run.

In the first Christmas issue, dated 31 December 1977, the second page of the final episode of the first James Bold adventure, Fangs of Fear, came to rest on page 11, and in the following week's comic, the second page of the first instalment of Bold's second adventure, The Ghost Highwayman, appeared on that page.

The Suddenly feature then moved in for 2 weeks, but was interrupted in its page 11 run in the 28 January 1978 issue, when the 4 Comics Competition (500 first prizes of Peter Powell 'Junior Stunter' kites) blew in to page 11.

Suddenly was then back for a further 5 weeks until a competition to win a copy of the Basil Brush LP, Boom-Boom it's Basil Brush, turned up, sharing page 11 with an ad for Look and Learn.

There then followed a tussle for control of page 11 between the indefatigable James Bold and the resilient Suddenly.  This titanic struggle culminated in Suddenly conceding defeat and exiting from the comic for good after its appearance in the 24 June 1978 issue.  However, the mighty Bold didn't emerge from this protracted clash entirely unscathed, as he was never to return to page 11...

Date Details
18-Mar-78Suddenly - Art Frank McDiarmid
25-Mar-78Suddenly - Art Unknown Cheeky Artist 1
01-Apr-78James Bold 2/2 'Tower of Terror' 3 of 6 - Art Mike White
08-Apr-78James Bold 2/2 'Tower of Terror' 4 of 6 - Art Mike White
15-Apr-78Suddenly - Art Frank McDiarmid
22-Apr-78Suddenly - Art Frank McDiarmid
29-Apr-78James Bold 2/2 'The Frightened Village' 1 of 9 - Art Mike White
06-May-78Suddenly - Art Frank McDiarmid
13-May-78James Bold 2/2 'The Frightened Village' 3 of 9 - Art Mike White
20-May-78Suddenly - Art Barrie Appleby
27-May-78Suddenly - Art Dick Millington
03-Jun-78James Bold 2/2 'The Frightened Village' 6 of 9 - Art Mike White
10-Jun-78James Bold 2/2 'The Frightened Village' 7 of 9 - Art Mike White
17-Jun-78James Bold 2/2 'The Frightened Village' 8 of 9 - Art Mike White
24-Jun-78Suddenly (final appearance) - Art Barrie Appleby

Just a reminder that in the table above 2/2 means it's the second page of a 2-page feature in that week's comic, and 6 of 9 means it's the 6th episode of a 9-episode tale.

On 01 July 1978, the 4-week mini comics promotion began, and for this and the 3 subsequent issues, the third page of each week's mini comic was the occupant of page 11…

Date Details
01-Jul-78Whizzer and Chips mini comic (single appearance) 3/4 'Joker' - Art Tom Williams 'Fuss Pot' - Art Tom Williams
08-Jul-78Buster mini comic (single appearance) 3/4 'X-Ray Specs' - Art Mike Lacey 'Kid Gloves' - Art Rob Lee
15-Jul-78Whoopee mini comic (single appearance) 3/4 'Supermum' - Art Jack Clayton 'Claws' - Art Artie Jackson
22-Jul-78Mickey Mouse Mini Comic (single appearance) 3/4 'Goofy' 'Donald'

In the issue dated 29 July 1978, the first post-mini-comic-promotion issue, Tuesday was featured on page 11.  The following week, Paddywack moved in, and he remained there for the 2 subsequent issues until the debut of the Teacher's Teasers filler feature moved in on 26 August 1978.

Paddywack then returned for a week, after which Tuesday was back on page 11 for one issue before Paddywack got in again on 16 September 1978.

Joke-Box Jury made its first page 11 appearance in the 23 September 1978 comic, after which Mike Lacey's Skateboard Squad took up residence for 2 weeks.

For the following 2 issues, page 11 was the home of ads for 2000AD, which shared the page with an ad for Bassett's sweets in the 14 October 1978 issue, and an ad for companion comic Shiver and Shake in the comic dated 21 October 1978.

Dynamic trio the Skateboard Squad then resumed their tenure of page 11 for another 2 weeks before being ousted by a page consisting of the Silly Snaps feature (another filler) and an ad for another title from the IPC stable, Whoopee!

Whoopee! was being advertised on page 11 again the following week, along with a Shredded Wheat ad, after which the Skateboard Squad rolled back onto page 11.

Page 11 was home to yet another competition in the 02 December 1978 issue, when the Big Four Saint competition (prizes were Corgi models of Simon Templar's white Jaguar car, from TV series The Saint) was featured.

The 09 December 1978 issue was the first to have a reduced page count due to industrial action.  The consequent upheaval resulted in the Mystery Boy feature alighting on page 11 for the only time in its 52-issue run.

Following a 3 week break in publication due to an escalation of the aforementioned industrial dispute, the 06 January 1979 comic had an ad for IPC's latest promotion across its humour titles, with various cut-out-and-keep features appearing in next week's issues of Whoopee!, Whizzer and Chips (now with Krazy) and, of course, Cheeky Weekly.  In the following issue a further ad for this promotion appeared on page 11 along with an ad for Shreddies.  Shreddies were advertised again on page 11 the week after, this time paired with and ad for IPC's footie comic, Roy of the Rovers.

The 27 January 1979 issue carried a filler on page 11 in the form of the Spaghetti Junction maze, a nice piece of artwork by Steve Bell, but not really anything to do with Cheeky Weekly apart from the pasted-in image of the toothy funster.  Another filler feature, Silly Snaps, occupied page 11 the following week,

Intellectually-challenged Paddywack then found his way back to page 11 for 3 weeks, until another filler, this time the Tease Break puzzle feature, moved in for one issue.  An ad for Trebor Double Agents sweets then moved in, but was deposed the following week (17 March 1979) by a Burpo Special focussing on Krazy Town's TV addict, Square Eyes.

On 24 March 1979, two IPC ads occupied page 11 - one for Mickey Mouse comic, and the other for a comic aimed at boys of slightly more advanced years, Battle Action.  The following week Skateboard Squad made a return to page 11, after which the front page of The Mystery Comic, featuring our plump pal, Tub, featured on page 11 for 3 weeks.

The Star Guest feature, a device used by IPC to promote characters from their other humour titles, was the occupant of page 11 in the 05 May 1979 issue, featuring in this instance the Buytonic Boy from Whizzer and Chips with Krazy.  The following week an ad for the Fun-Maker, another attempt by match manufacturers Bryant and May to break into the toy market (I've discussed their Woodcraft Village construction kit ad here).  Apparently "every Fun Maker kit has 2000 coloured wood sticks (matches, by any chance?), plenty of big wood spars (long matches?), red feathers, googly eyes, furry wires (aka pipe cleaners?), glue and a big coloured sheet of hints and ideas to start you off".  Plus a coupon for 20 Rothmans (only joking).

Star Guest then returned, this time featuring the Dads as Lads strip from Whoopee!  In the following week's issue dated 26 May 1979, the revamped Skateboard Squad, now dubbed Speed Squad, appeared on page 11 in the concluding part of a page-and-a-half story which was their debut under the new name.  Sharing page 11 in that issue was an ad for IPC's Jackpot comic.

There then followed some more Star Guest appearances interspersed with ads for the Stickits, which was a comic-strip ad (in the rather archaic style of pictures with word balloons and explanatory text underneath) promoting tubes of glue with paper character features contained within.  You stuck the eyes, nose, feet etc on the outside of the tube to create a cowboy, princess or pirate character.

Date Details
02-Jun-79Ad: The Stickits (first appearance)
09-Jun-79Star Guest 'Lazy Bones'
16-Jun-79Ad: The Stickits
23-Jun-79Star Guest 'Paws'
30-Jun-79Star Guest 'Supermum' - Art Dicky Howett
07-Jul-79The Gang (first appearance) 2/2
14-Jul-79The Gang 2/2
21-Jul-79Star Guest 'Sammy Shrink' - Art Terry Bave
28-Jul-79Star Guest (final appearance) 'Bookworm' - Art Barry Glennard

As you can see above, the second page of the first The Gang strip to appear in Cheeky Weekly appeared on page 11 on 07 July 1979. The Gang was of course a reprint of the Double Deckers feature from Whizzer and Chips. The final Star Guest feature occupied page 11 in the comic dated 28 July 1979.

The second page of a Stage School story featured on page 11 in the 04 August 1979 issue, but for the following 3 weeks, the second page of Joke-Box Jury 2-pagers came to rest in that location.

A turbulent period on page 11 followed as a variety of ads and features came and went...

Date Details
01-Sep-79Tuesday - Art Mike Lacey
08-Sep-79Speed Squad - Art Mike Lacey
15-Sep-79Disaster Des - Art Mike Lacey
22-Sep-79Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
29-Sep-79Ad: Palitoy 'Star Wars Collection' 1 of 3
06-Oct-79Ad: IPC 'Whoopee Guy Fawkes mask' 3 of 3 Ad: 'Whizzer and Chips 10th birthday issue'
13-Oct-79Speed Squad - Art Mike Lacey

Disaster Des, who had earlier been limited to the centre pages as one of the features in The Mystery Comic, until that idea came to an end in June 1979, made a bid to control page 11 for the next 2 issues.  However in the 03 November 1979 issue an ad for IPC's "5 Top Comics" (Cheeky Weekly, Jackpot, Whoopee!, Buster and Whizzer and Chips with Krazy) kept Des off page 11, although he was back on page 11 in the following issue, although in this location for the final time.

Sadly, Cheeky Weekly was resorting to a number of fillers and reprints by this time, and on page 11 in the 17 November 1979 issue, Soggy the Sea Monster, reprinted from Shiver and Shake, made his first Cheeky Weekly appearance.  In this first reprinted Soggy strip to appear in the toothy funster's comic, the art was by Terry Bave, but for the next 2 weeks, the Soggy reprints were drawn by the artist most associated with the character, Robert Nixon.  After a week in which page 11 was host to Joke-Box Jury and a Whoopee! ad, Soggy was back for a further 2 weeks until his aquatic adventures on page 11 were interrupted by the surprise reappearance of Tuesday in the 29 December 1979 comic.

Soggy was yet again back on page 11 the following week, but in the next issue, page 11 was home to an ad for IPC's girls' title, Penny, plus an ad advising Cheeky Weekly readers to place a regular order with their newsagent.

Soggy made his last appearance on page 11 in the 19 January 1980 issue, after which ads for IPC's boys' adventure title, Tiger, and Pop-A-Points pens shared page 11 in the 26 January 1980 comic.

The final issue of Cheeky Weekly had another reprint on page 11, this time Terry Bave's Ringer Dinger, reprinted from Whizzer and Chips, the third Ringer Dinger strip to feature in Cheeky Weekly.

Count of Elements (or distinct combinations thereof) appearing on Page 11

Elements Total
Suddenly14
James Bold 2/29
Soggy the Sea Monster7
Star Guest7
Paddywack6
Skateboard Squad6
Advertisement: IPC5
6 Million Dollar Gran 3/34
Disaster Des4
Tub4
Tuesday4
Joke-Box Jury 2/23
Advertisement: Shreddies\Advertisement: IPC2
Advertisement: The Stickits2
Paddywack 2/22
Speed Squad2
The Gang 2/22
Tuesday 1/22
What's New, Kids2
4 Comics competition1
Advertisement: 5 Top Comics1
Advertisement: Bassett's\Advertisement: IPC1
Advertisement: Big Four Saint Competition1
Advertisement: Fun-Maker1
Advertisement: Palitoy1
Advertisement: Pop-A-Points\Advertisement: IPC1
Advertisement: Shredded Wheat\Advertisement: IPC1
Advertisement: Trebor1
Basil Brush competition\Advertisement: IPC1
Buster mini comic 3/41
Friends of Cheeky competition1
Joke-Box Jury1
Joke-Box Jury\Advertisement: IPC1
Mickey Mouse Mini Comic 3/41
Mystery Boy1
Old Comic1
Ringer Dinger1
Silly Snaps 1/21
Silly Snaps\Advertisement: IPC1
Spaghetti Junction maze1
Speed Squad 2/2\Advertisement: IPC1
Stage School 2/21
Suddenly\Advertisement: IPC1
Teacher's Teasers 2/21
Tease Break1
The Burpo Special1
Tuesday 2/31
Whizzer and Chips mini comic 3/41
Whoopee mini comic 3/41

Friday, 23 September 2011

The features - Archie's Angels

The Cheeky's Week strips are fondly remembered by Cheeky Weekly fans, but coming a close second in the memorability stakes for me are the James Bold stories.  These spooky tales provided a good counterpoint to the humorous antics of the toothy funster and his pals, so it's hard to understand the decision to axe the Bold series after the issue dated 05 August 1978.  Maybe it was felt that the eerie goings-on depicted in the Bold tales were either too male-oriented for a comic supposedly aimed at boys and girls, or just too scary for Cheeky Weekly's target audience of whichever gender.  Admittedly, this is unlikely to be the reason for the cessation of Bold's adventures, as the spooky goings-on would resume when The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure began its 9-issue run in October 1978.  It seems to me that the most likely explanation is budget-related. As we have seen, the Bold scripts were re-hashes of old Maxwell Hawke stories from Buster in the 1960s, so IPC saved on writing costs, but they chose to reinterpret the scripts with new artwork, and therefore still had costs.  Archie's Angels, the strip which replaced Bold in the 12 August 1978 issue, was a straight reprint from Whizzer and Chips 6 years earlier, so no writing or artwork fees were due.

Archie's Angels was a strip in that grand British comics tradition of 'a bunch of kids sharing a mode of transport, around which adventures ensue', such as The Q-Bikes (Beano), Sammy Brewster's Ski-Board Squad (Buster), and of course Cheeky Weekly's own Skateboard Squad.  Archie's Angels did stretch credulity somewhat, in that their chosen mode of transport was a set of antique miniature biplanes, and their parents seemed unconcerned as the Angels flew off into perilous situations.

The team consisted of Archie Drake (leader, 'cos his dad bought the planes, and pilot of Angel One), Ginger (the ginger one, Angel Two), Scoffer (fat, Angel Three), Cyril North (brainy, spec-wearer, Angel Four), Jackie (girl, who made the team uniforms, Angel Five).

The first Archie's Angels episode was a 3-pager, but all subsequent instalments ran to 2 pages.

At the end of the introductory episode, we see that a train carrying circus animals is about to hit a car stranded on a level crossing.  The second episode commences with the resultant crash and consequent derailment.  On hearing of the disaster (in which no-one was hurt, but the animals broke out), Archie heads off to get the Angels airborne in order to capture the errant circus beasts. As he watches his son head off to the barn where the team's planes are housed, Archie's dad shouts a warning, "Be careful, lad! Those brutes aren't half-tame zoo animals…they're highly dangerous!"  I would have thought that uppermost in his mind would be the fact that his son and pals will soon be heading skyward without adult supervision.

Archie activates the old air-raid siren attached to the barn roof, summoning the rest of the Angels.  After briefing them on their mission, the team takes to the air.
In episode 3 the Angels succeed in herding a vicious panther into a workmen's trench with some low-level flying, then set about rescuing a young lad who has been abducted by an enraged gorilla.  The fourth instalment sees Archie land in an orchard, alight from his aircraft, and pelt the ape with apples.  Distracted by this fruity onslaught, the gorilla drops the little boy and turns his attentions to the intrepid team leader.

In episode 5, just as it seems the gorilla has got Archie cornered, the rest of the Angels turn up and use their planes to force the gorilla into a nearby shed.

The air-aces then seek out the circus owner, who tells them that two Canadian bears are still unaccounted for.  Unknown to anyone, the bears are approaching the local old people's home.

In the denouement, the Angels take to the air with a net slung between the planes (these are kids flying, remember!) and drop it on the marauding grizzlies.  Expressing his gratitude to the team for recovering his animals, the circus owner gives the Angels free tickets to the circus.  A bit stingy if you ask me, but the Angels seem to be enjoying themselves at the show in the final panel.

Archie and his team went on to have at least one more adventure during their original run in Whizzer and Chips, but the final episode to appear in Cheeky Weekly was in the 16 September 1978 issue, after a run of 6 weeks.

All the Angels episodes were drawn by the mighty Ron Turner, who I associate more with sci-fi hardware than old aeroplanes, but as ever Ron does a sterling job, with dynamic work on the train crash.

The first Angels instalment in Cheeky Weekly commenced with a banner above the title reading "This is what he saw" to tie the strip in with Cheeky's cinema visit on the preceding Interval page.  The caption changed slightly the following week, to read "This is what they saw".  None of the following episodes had captions, but the 'story so far' summary which appeared above the strip title when originally published was removed for the reprints.  Presumably it was intended that the recap would be included in the Interval feature, as it had been while the James Bold series was running.  However, the only Interval to have a story so far summary during the run of Archie's Angels was that in the 26 August 1978 issue.  In the Interval in the comic dated 09 September 1978, it seems space was left in a speech balloon for a recap to be included, but the space is blank.


Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Archie's Angels12-Aug-7816-Sep-786028,29,30


Feature Artist Number of Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Archie's Angels Ron Turner612-Aug-197816-Sep-1978


Preceding Page Count
Interval6


Pages per Issue Number of Issues
31
25

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cheeky Weekly cover date 12 August 1978

This week's above-title banner (printed in pale green on a yellow background and therefore hardly visible) alerts readers to the new cinema serial which starts inside, and below that, Crystal Belle predicts fun ahead.  As always, the comical clairvoyant's prophecy is proved right and the larks commence immediately below as Cheeky engages Posh Claude in some horological hilarity in the What A Cheek strip.

There's trouble in Krazy Town park (again) for The Skateboard Squad as they take on a bully who's been pinching the little kids' pocket money.  Deft placement of a skateboard by Skipper propels said lout into the ornamental fish pond, after which the sodden small-change snatcher hands his victims back their cash.

On Sunday evening Cheeky's dad announces that the family is going on a surprise barge holiday, so the toothy clan clamber into their car (snail presumably slithers aboard) and, with mum at the wheel, set off for the canal.  Cheeky's worried that he'll miss today's episode of 6 Million Dollar Gran, but is delighted to find that his dad has borrowed a portable TV, so he can watch his favourite programme while they travel.

There's some great Ian Knox art in this week's Gran episode.  I particularly like the depiction of the vicious hound descending on the baddie to reclaim his bone.

Throughout Cheeky's Week, the toothy funster is surprised to meet several of his pals who, by coincidence, also happen to be holidaying on or beside the canal.  Even Burpo's parents are there, meaning the toothy funster is not spared his usual Wednesday babysitting session.  To make it worse, Burpo's cousins are also along for the holiday.

On Thursday, Cheeky frets that he won't be able to find The Mystery Comic, but a copy just happens to float by the barge inside a bottle.  Cheeky enjoys a colour Mustapha Million strip, as Creepy Sleepy Tale, usually a colour feature in the centre pages, has been shifted forward in the comic and is in black and white.  This is the first time that Mustapha's strip has been in colour.

On Friday, as Cheeky returns from holiday, and just as we're beginning to wonder how this week's Calculator Kid strip will be incorporated into the comic, Cheeky meets Nosy Nora, who has been snooping on Charlie and Calculator's latest doings, and is happy to tell Cheeky what transpired.

On Saturday it becomes apparent why Cheeky had to finish his holiday on Friday, as otherwise he wouldn't have been able to attend the cinema show.  As announced on the cover, a new film serial starts this week - Archie's Angels.  In fact, this is a reprint from Whizzer and Chips, 1972, with art by the ever-reliable Ron Turner.  I'd always assumed that the strip's title was a play on TV series Charlie's Angels, but a quick search reveals the TV show debuted in 1976, so the comic strip title is evidently a play on the word archangel.

…needless to say the kids, all of whom have had "several" flying lessons, form an aerobatic team dedicated to rescuing those in peril.

There is no 'Cheeky's pal appearing throughout the week' element in this issue, instead the canal barge holiday theme dominates Cheeky's Week.  On page 31 is a teaser for next week's issue, featuring an old geezer wearing a familiar jumper and trainers.
Teacher is the subject of the back cover's Pin-Up Pal poster, and is seen enjoying a daydream in which Cheeky is imperilled in a variety of fiendish ways.

Gloomy Glad's Dad makes his third and final Cheeky Weekly appearance this issue, and Glad's Mum makes her only appearance in the toothy funster's comic this week.

The art team that I refer to as Frank McDiarmid pencils produce the majority of the Cheeky's Week art in this issue, providing 10 elements.  Barrie Appleby delivers the Wednesday conclusion, and there's pure Frank McDiarmid art on the Crystal Belle cover feature, What A Cheek and the Pin-Up Pal poster.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 12-Aug-1978, Issue 43 of 117
PageDetails
1Cover Feature 'Crystal Belle' - Art Frank McDiarmid\What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
3Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
4Sunday evening - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
76 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
8Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
9Ad: Bubbly
10Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
11Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
12Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
13Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Not known
14Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Not known\Wednesday - Art Barrie Appleby
15Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
16Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey
17Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey
18Ad: Trebor 'Double Agents' 2 of 6
19Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
20Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
21What's New, Kids\Joke-Box Jury
22Ad: Rowntree Mackintosh
23Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
24Ad: Burton's (single appearance)
25Tweety and Sylvester 'Brain Drain'
26Tweety and Sylvester 'Brain Drain'
27Interval - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
28Archie's Angels (first appearance) reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Ron Turner
29Archie's Angels (first appearance) reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Ron Turner
30Archie's Angels (first appearance) reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Ron Turner
31Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils\Ad: IPC 'Jinty' 6 of 7
32Pin-up pal 'Teacher' - Art Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 12-Aug-1978
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid pencils10
Barrie Appleby1
Frank McDiarmid1

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The One-Offs - Jimmy

Jimmy appeared only in the 18 February 1978 issue.  He was given a rather distinctive look, wearing a strange flat cap and glasses, so he has the appearance of a character who would return.  Sadly for Jim, however, no further work came his way after his first encounter with Walter's limited bladder capacity.  Maybe someone in the Cheeky Weekly office envisaged a rich vein of water-divining -based humour, but the writer couldn't think of any more jokes on this topic, leaving Walter as the sole source of liquid laughs.


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Profile - Spiv

In the early days of World War 2, as a beleaguered Britain faced shortages of essential supplies, the UK government introduced a system of rationing to control the distribution of commodities such as food and fuel.  The British population was issued with ration books without which they were unable to legitimately buy the items that were subject to restriction.

Into this tightly-controlled marketplace stepped criminals who would 'obtain' sought-after goods and offer them at inflated prices to the public.  These black-marketeers came to be known as spivs or wide-boys.  While rationing was in effect, the dangerously glamorous spiv, with his rakish moustache, loud tie and sharp, American-style suit, became a familiar figure in British popular culture and was often presented in a humorous context.  Comedian Arthur English had an act based on the typical spiv (and featured in a comic strip in Radio Fun - an example can be seen on Lew Stringer's blog), and George Cole memorably played wide-boy Flash Harry in the early St Trinians films.

By the time WW2 came to an end in 1945, Britain's economy was severely weakened, so rationing continued into the post-war years.  Restrictions were gradually lifted, and the use of ration books ceased altogether in 1953.

The target audience for Cheeky Weekly was born long after wide boys disappeared from Britain's streets.  However, British kids of the late 1970s would have been familiar with spiv Private Joe Walker as portrayed by James Beck in the BBC's TV comedy set in the war years, Dad's Army.

Cheeky Weekly's Spiv would usually be found emerging from an alley that often had a punning name, such as Muhammad Alley or Cleo Lane, and attempting to sell some dodgy gear from his suitcase.  Cheeky always had a smart reply to the spiv's sales patter - the toothy funster only ever bought two items from the dodgy dealer; a copy of The Mystery comic in the issue dated 01 April 1978 (the amount Cheeky paid wasn't revealed), and a sketch pad in the 15 July 1978 comic.  Spiv appeared in the first issue of Cheeky Weekly, and departed after his appearance in the issue dated 29 December 1979 (possibly he left to spend some time at Her Majesty's pleasure), having clocked up appearances in 66 issues.


A caption in the 31 December 1977 issue of Cheeky Weekly informed readers that Spiv's name was Alf Price (ho, ho).  In the 14 February 1978 issue, a note scrawled on the wall behind Spiv read "Bring back Dad's Army", acknowledging the inspiration behind the Spiv character.

Spiv was arrested by Constable Chuckle for trading without a licence in the issue dated 20 May 1978, but in the following issue the dodgy dealer was back in the alley trying to sell chocolate bars.


As from the 02 September 1978 comic, Spiv moved out of the alley and into the used car trade.  From this date, Spiv would each week try to persuade Cheeky that a rusting wreck would be the ideal purchase for the toothy funster's dad.  In the issue dated 09 December 1978, Spiv finally sold the car to Posh Claude's dear Daddikins, and very soon thereafter Spiv was back in the alley flogging a variety of items of doubtful provenance.

Spiv turned up at Cheeky's new year party in the 13 January 1979 comic, and sold a job lot of 1978 calendars to Uncle Hamish, who was convinced that he'd make a killing "next time 1978 comes round".

The longest gap between appearances by Spiv was the 25 weeks between the 30 June 1979 comic and that dated 22 December 1979.  This absence could be due to another period of detention in some penal institution.  However I suspect the real cause was that the writer ran out of Spiv-type jokes at the end of June 1979, and the reason that Spiv reappeared in the 22 and 29 December 1979 comics (his final Cheeky Weekly appearance) was that these pages had originally been prepared for the December 1978 issues which failed to appear as originally planned, due to industrial action.

Spiv was the subject of 07 April 1979's Burpo Special.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

The wily wide-boy never joined the elite of Cheeky's pals who featured throughout a particular issue - the issues in which he featured in more than one Cheeky's Week element were those dated 24 December 1977 and 13 January 1979, in which he appeared in 2 elements each.  In the issue dated 24 June 1978 he featured once in Cheeky's Week and also made a guest appearance in the Skateboard Squad strip

Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Spiv6622-Oct-197729-Dec-1979

Spiv - Number of appearances by Element
Element Number of Appearances
Wednesday12
Saturday11
Tuesday11
Thursday10
Sunday7
Friday5
Monday4
Sunday evening4
Suddenly2
Cheeky's Week1
The Burpo Special1

Spiv - Number of appearances by Page
Page Number of Appearances
159
26
216
125
195
315
44
83
103
113
243
253
92
132
11
31
71
161
171
181
231
301
321

Count of elements by artist
Character Artist Total Elements
SpivFrank McDiarmid26
SpivFrank McDiarmid pencils15
SpivMike Lacey9
SpivBarrie Appleby6
SpivUnknown Cheeky Artist 15
SpivDick Millington4
SpivJim Watson3

Monday, 5 September 2011

Cheeky Weekly cover date 05 August 1978

Relative newcomers Charlie Counter (better known as Calculator Kid) and his electronic pal get top billing on the cover this week, drawn by Frank McDiarmid in place of regular CK artist Terry Bave. Meanwhile, the Vicar delivers the punchline in this week's What a Cheek strip.

Teacher, for the second week running the 'featured' pal, and evidently undergoing some kind of breakdown, makes good his threat from last week to "get my revenge on you lot for all you've made me suffer in school - by behaving even worse than the worst of you! Hee! Hee!" On Sunday he appears dressed as a cowboy a la Six-Gun Sam. On Monday the podgy pedagogue usurps Cheeky's position as deliverer of the Knock-Knock door tagline. Teacher appears as a superannuated Burpo on Wednesday, wearing a nappy and bootees. And for the second week running Teacher lays his hands on The Mystery Comic before Cheeky can locate it, riding a unicycle while reading the mysterious publication. Later in the week Teacher tries to sneak into the Saturday morning picture show dressed in a school uniform (he's ejected by Ursula).

Teacher's uncharacteristic episodes come to an end when his wife returns from a week visiting her mother, and finds the scatty schoolmaster hasn't done the housework.  The final panel of Cheeky's Week sees Teacher standing at his front door, dressed in a pinny and scrubbing a saucepan.

Meanwhile, on Sunday evening, Bump-Bump Bernie's explanation of how he sustained his latest injuries becomes so animated that his flailing arms launch him skyward.  Bernie is still aloft on Monday when, unnoticed by the folks of Krazy Town, he collides with permanently airborne Bubblegum Boy.

Pages 12 and 13 are given over to the winners of the Draw Hid Kid competition which appeared in the issue dated 27 May 1978.

In this week's Mustapha Million strip, the middle-eastern moneybags invites a pal to play tennis.  Said unnamed pal has been told to look after his little brother Alfie, but Mustapha says that Alfie can come along, too.  Of course, Alfie proves to be a handful.  Among the guards posted to keep an eye on Alfie in the final panel, Reg Parlett includes Kojak and Stavros from the popular TV show of the time, Kojak.

Other special guests in this issue are then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Denis Healey and Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher on Tuesday, and TV comedy trio The Goodies, who Cheeky meets in Granny Gumdrop's shop on Friday.

James Bold reaches the final episode of his final adventure this issue.  His escapades, while all rather disappointing as he encountered no supernatural occurrences (though he did discover a spaceship-load of harmless aliens), proved a good counterpoint to the humour strips, and none of the fillers which will take his place in future issues will prove as memorable.  He'll be missed (but JB will return in the Cheeky annuals dated 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982).

The back-cover Pin-Up Pal poster this week features Libby, about to fetch Cheeky a clump with her placard.

There are 11 pure Frank McDiarmid Cheeky's Week elements this week, and Frank also provides the Calculator Kid art on the cover, plus the poster on the back page.  As mentioned above, Mike Lacey provides 1 Cheeky's Week element.



Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 05-Aug-1978, Issue 42 of 117
PageDetails
1Cover Feature 'Calculator Kid' 1 of 2 - Art Frank McDiarmid\What a Cheek - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
3Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
4Sunday evening - Art Frank McDiarmid
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
76 Million Dollar Gran - Art Ian Knox
8Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
9What's New, Kids\Ad: Bassett's
10Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
11Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
12Draw Hid Kid winners (single appearance)
13Draw Hid Kid winners (single appearance)
14Ad: WH Smith
15Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
16Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Mike Lacey
17Creepy Sleepy Tale - Art Mike Lacey\Wednesday - Art Mike Lacey
18Ad: Rowntree Mackintosh (first appearance)
19Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid
20Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
21Mustapha Million - Art Reg Parlett
22Ad: Sporting Aces (first appearance)
23Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
24Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
25Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
26Tweety and Sylvester 'Those Little Ups and Downs'
27Tweety and Sylvester 'Those Little Ups and Downs'
28Interval - Art Frank McDiarmid
29James Bold (final appearance) 'Island of Fear' 6 of 6 - Art Mike White
30James Bold (final appearance) 'Island of Fear' 6 of 6 - Art Mike White
31Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid\Ad: IPC 'Jinty' 5 of 7
32Pin-up pal 'Libby' - Art Frank McDiarmid

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 05-Aug-1978
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid11
Mike Lacey1