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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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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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Friday, 31 August 2012

The one-offs - Commissionaire's Grandson

The toothy funster had a single encounter with Commissionaire's Grandson, in Cheeky Weekly dated 19 August 1978. This was the issue in which Cheeky was given a glimpse of his life as a senior citizen in the year 2038, courtesy of Crystal Belle's mystic powers. Evidently our grinning pal is a lifelong movie enthusiast as his older self is still attending film shows on Saturday morning.


As we know, Commissionaire's appearances were linked to the Saturday morning picture show that readers of Cheeky Weekly witnessed in the first 59 issues of the comic. The final picture show to be featured in Cheeky Weekly was in the 02 December 1978 issue. The fact that Ursula the erstwhile usherette tells Cheeky in the following issue that she has a new job as a security guard suggests that the cinema had closed (a fate that increasingly befell picture-palaces during the 70s, as cinema attendance plunged while TV ownership boomed). However, Comissionaire's Grandson's comments indicate only that his grandfather retired - whether the grandson is working at the same cinema is open to conjecture.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Cheeky's Week title panel and What did YOU do today?

As of the 30 September 1978 revamp issue, a title panel began appearing on the introductory page for each day of Cheeky's adventures (apart from Sunday, which sported a title banner - see below). Whereas previously a caption naming the day of the week had appeared above the introductory page on each day of Cheeky's doings, this new title panel was located on the first row of panels and depicted an entry from Cheeky's diary for the day in question, underneath the title Cheeky's Week. The introduction of a more conventional title panel may have been initiated to make the strips more easily used as reprints (although readers of a more cynical nature may have suspected that the changes were made in order to reduce the amount of artwork needed to fill the Cheeky pages).

Thus, from the 30 September 1978 comic, all the Cheeky strips in each issue became titled Cheeky's Week…[name of day]. The front cover gag strip (previously called 'What a Cheek') had considerably more full stops between 'Cheeky's Week' and 'Sunday', but that's because this strip occupied the full width of the front page and the title of the strip was printed as a banner above the strip, spanning the panels.

With one exception, from the 30 September 1978 issue up to and including that dated 30 June 1979, the following pages would commence with the Cheeky's Week title panel;
  • Monday (the continuation of Cheeky's Sunday shenanigans on page 2 would not feature a title panel, as the title banner for Sunday had appeared on the front cover).
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday (in the 19 May 1979 comic, Thursday spanned one and a half pages. Thursday's Cheeky's Week title panel appeared on the first Thursday page in that issue. The half-page continuation contained a teaser strip for Skateboard Squad's return in the Speed Squad feature which would commence the following week. ).
  • Friday
  • Saturday (but only the first Saturday page. Interval, being a continuation of Saturday, wouldn't get its own title, nor would the continuations of Saturday)
The exception came in the 31 March 1979 issue, which carried a Cheeky's Week title panel on the Sunday strip on page 2, because the whole of the front cover was given over to promoting the knitting pattern for Cheeky's jersey which appeared inside.

The new title panel wasn't the only element introduced into Cheeky's pages in the 30 September 1978 issue. Also making its debut was the What did YOU do today? diary section, designed for readers to record their daily doings, at the foot of certain pages.

In a typical issue, WDYDT would appear on the following pages;
  • Sunday's continuation from the cover on page 2 (unlike the Cheeky's Week……..Sunday title panel, Sunday's WDYDT didn't appear on the front page).
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday (in the 19 May 1979 comic, 'WDYDT appeared on the first Thursday page in that issue, rather than the half-page continuation mentioned above)
  • Friday
  • Saturday - from 30 September 1978 to 02 December 1978 inclusive, WDYDT appeared on the first Saturday page each issue (except in the 14 October 1978 issue when the 'Published every Monday by IPC Magazines Ltd...' small print section was unusually located at the bottom of the first Saturday page, thereby shunting WDYDT to Interval for that sole occasion). From 09 December 1978 to 30 June 1979 inclusive (the June 1979 date being the final appearance of the readers' diary section), WDYDT appeared on the second Saturday page each issue.
Wednesday and Thursday pages were absent from the issue dated 02 December 1978 (the first of 2 consecutive issues to be reduced from 32 to 28 pages), so no WDYDTs for those days were present in that issue. These reduced-page-count issues presaged a complete absence of Cheeky weekly in the final weeks of December 1978. When the comic returned (cover dated 06 January 1979), a banner appeared at the top of the internal Sunday page, reading "Sorry we've been away..." so there was no room for a Sunday WDYDT in that issue.

Both the Cheeky's Week title panel and WDYDT came to an end in the 30 June 1979 issue, as the comic underwent another revamp (styled the 'New Look') the following week.

A typical Cheeky's Week page showing the title panel and WDYDT can be seen here.

When I started this blog I adopted the term Cheeky's Week as a shorthand way of referring to the aforementioned strips depicting Cheeky's daily activities. Just to clarify, a list of the features which I consider to constitute Cheeky's Week can be seen here. Please note that only the strips based on days of the week carried the Cheeky's Week title panel and WDYDT diary.

Despite the introduction of the Cheeky's Week title to the element names in the comic, I continue to record each element as just the day of the week in my data (so Monday is still called Monday even when the intro panel says Cheeky's Week…Monday), to avoid unnecessary complication (for me!).

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Cheeky Weekly cover date 09 December 1978

For the second week the comic is afflicted by an industrial dispute and as a consequence is reduced to 28 pages from the normal 32. There's no mention of this fact on the cover which (also for the second week running) leads with news of a competition inside. This time the lucky winners can bag a copy of The Smurfs' new LP, Father Abraham in Smurfland.

Below the exciting news for fans of the diminutive blue songsters, Cheeky has a Sunday morning encounter with Bump-Bump Bernie. Also seen in the strip are comedy double act (Syd) Little and (Eddie) Large, who are currently attempting the unenviable task of filling the hole left in the BBC schedules by the recent defection of comedy legends Morecambe and Wise to ITV.

Unlike last week, when the reduced page count resulted in the loss of 2 Cheeky's Week elements (plus 6 Million Dollar Gran), this week's 28 pager does feature a full Cheeky's Week. However, the What did YOU do today? diary section, which has been present on all the introductory 'weekday' elements of the Cheeky's Week pages since the 30 September 1978 issue (with the exception of Saturday in the 14 October 1978 comic), is missing from the foot of the Sunday page. There is no evidence of page resizing so it seems the artwork was prepared without leaving space for the WDYDT area. Maybe the page was drawn before the introduction of WDYDT, but was pressed into use in the current issue by the exigencies of the industrial dispute.


Even the mighty 6 Million Dollar Gran cannot withstand the power of the Trade Unions, so for the second week the synthetic senior citizen is a casualty of the reduced page count, despite the Sunday page showing the toothy funster's anticipatory dash to the TV.


As Christmas approaches, the What's New, Kids page carries news of an innovative development in home entertainment, available to those with access to the appropriate technology. Yes, it's London Telephones' recorded Christmas stories, an expansion of their existing Dial-A-Disc service. Don't forget to dial 01 if you're outside London. Unfortunately, the technology is still a little primitive, and as the stories are recorded on a tape loop, you'll probably dial in part-way through a Christmas tale, finding you have to listen to the end before reaching the beginning. But think of the possibilities - one day, there will be a network of Dial-A-Disc machines, each loaded with a tape loop containing a recording of someone relating a particular fact. By simply looking up a question in a telephone directory to find the telephone number of the machine carrying the answer, we will be able to satisfy our curiosity on any number of obscure topics. They'll probably call this information distribution system the TeleWeb, or InterPhone or PhoneNet or something…

On Tuesday Cheeky meets Ursula, making her first post-Saturday Morning Pictures appearance. No longer an usherette, Ursula tells Cheeky she has secured a job as a bank security guard, a position for which she is clearly eminently suitable.

Page 16 is the home of the Smurfs competition announced on the cover. 6 seemingly-identical pictures of the little blue elves are on display but apparently only two are identical. Readers are invited to send a postcard containing their choice of twins. Winners will receive a copy of The Smurfs' latest LP, Father Abraham in Smurfland.



This is the second Smurf competition to feature in Cheeky Weekly; the first was just 3 months ago in the 09 September 1978 issue (and a list of fortunate winners of that earlier competition is printed on page 24 of this week's comic). That issue had sporadic Smurf content throughout Cheeky's Week, whereas this week's Cheeky pages are entirely Smurf-free.

On Thursday, Spiv finally finds a punter gullible enough to purchase the old banger he's been trying to flog since the 02 September 1978 comic. Posh Claude is horrified to discover that it's his dad who has been lumbered with the smoking wreck.

In the final panel of the Thursday page, Cheeky announces that The Skateboard Squad will follow, but in fact it's Disaster Des who appears on the next page. The Squad actually arrive one page later. A full roster of Mystery Comic features are present this issue but, in a kind of Brundlefly co-mingling of comic DNA, 2 features which are actually part of Cheeky Weekly (The Smurfs competition and Thursday) are caught up within the pages of the mysterious publication.

The Pin-Up Pal poster returns to the comic for the first time since 23 September 1978. This week's comic rounds off with a poster of Krazy Town's silly snapper, Flash Harry.

Despite the note at the bottom of the second page of this week's Laugh and Learn strip reading "There'll be another feast of fun and facts soon pals!", this is actually the final time the feature will appear.

This week's Calculator Kid story depicts one of
the rare occasions on which Calculator's electronic machinations
turn out less than favourably for young Charlie.

New features commencing this week are Friends of Cheeky Chit-Chat (readers' letters) and The Burpo Special, the terrible toddler's own feature in which he interviews characters from the Cheeky's Week supporting cast. The subject of the first Burpo Special is Lily Pop who, we learn on the Chit-Chat page, is the character from the cast of Cheeky's pals who is most popular with the readers.

Although the comic is reduced to 28 pages again this week, at least all those pages are used. There is no 'feature omitted' blank page as there was in the previous issue. Like last week, however, there are no page numbers and despite the reduced page count the cover price remains the usual 9p.

All 10 Cheeky's Week pages feature pure Frank McDiarmid art (Frank also draws the Pin-Up Pal poster), so the policy of 'pure Frank McDiarmid art on the whole of Cheeky's Week every other week' which commenced at the 30 September 1978 revamp is still in place, despite the upheaval resulting from the industrial action.


Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 09-Dec-1978, Issue 60 of 117
PageDetails
1Cover Feature '50 Smurf LPs to be won'\Cheeky's Week - Art Frank McDiarmid
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid
3Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid
4Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
5What's New, Kids
6Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
7Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
8Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid
9Tub 'Mystery Comic' 11 of 34 - Art Nigel Edwards
10Why, Dad, Why? 'Mystery Comic' 8 of 28 - Art John K. Geering
11Mystery Boy reprint from Whizzer and Chips 'Mystery Comic' 11 of 37
12Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 11 of 34 - Art Reg Parlett
13Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 11 of 34 - Art Reg Parlett
14Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 11 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
15Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 11 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
16Smurfs competition (final appearance)\Ad: IPC 'Mickey Mouse' 8 of 18
17Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid
18Disaster Des 'Mystery Comic' 10 of 30 - Art Mike Lacey
19Skateboard Squad - Art Mike Lacey
20Joke-Box Jury
21Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid
22Laugh and Learn (final appearance) - Art Brian Walker (final art on feature) - Art Barrie Appleby (final art on feature)
23Laugh and Learn (final appearance) - Art Brian Walker (final art on feature) - Art Barrie Appleby (final art on feature)
24Chit-Chat (first appearance)
25The Burpo Special (first appearance) 'Lily Pop' - Art Frank McDiarmid (first art on feature)
26Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
27Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid
28Pin-up pal 'Flash Harry' - Art Frank McDiarmid


Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 09-Dec-1978
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid10

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Profile - Commissionaire

Cheeky's trips to the Saturday morning pictures were a memorable feature of the first 59 issues of Cheeky Weekly. In 51 of those comics, we witnessed the cinema commissionaire's vain attempts to impose order on the toothy funster and his unruly pals as they stormed the cinema entrance. His tremulous attempt to announce "The doors are open!" would be cut off by a strangulated gurgle as he disappeared beneath the thundering juvenile footwear of the patrons piling in to secure the best seats.

Commissionaire's first appearance
Art: Frank McDiarmid
The long-suffering Commissionaire strove to avoid injury during his Saturday morning duty by various means - wearing armour, hiding inside a dustbin and concealing himself in a pillar box to name but three ploys.

In the comic dated 17 December 1977, Commisionaire was relieved to see Teacher approaching the cinema entrance at speed, expecting the podgy pedagogue to discipline the kids into forming an orderly queue. He didn't realise that Teacher was being pursued by his mother in law and, seeing the cinema as a refuge, the dandruff-ridden schoolmaster trampled the downtrodden doorman in his rush to safety.

Art: Frank McDiarmid
A footprint-covered Commissionaire appeared on the Interval page in Cheeky Weekly dated 25 February 1978, gleefully watching Yikky-Boo being forcefully propelled from the cinema by Ursula's boot.

Commissionaire was not only trampled, but also slimed.
Art: Dick Millington
Commissionaire made it onto the front cover on one occasion; he appeared as Cheeky's stooge in the What A Cheek cover strip on 29 July 1978.

Revenge in the 01 April 1978 issue
Art: Frank McDiarmid pencils

Crafty Commissionaire appeared from a hatch above the cinema doors to avoid being trampled in the 29 July and 05 August 1978 issues, but his supposedly impregnable lair was breached the following week as the kids played leapfrog in order to reach him.

In the 04 November 1978 comic, Commissionaire follows Bubblegum Boy's example and is seen suspended from a gum bubble above the cinema doors.

Commissionaire made his final Saturday appearance in Cheeky Weekly dated 02 December 1978. This was the last comic to feature Cheeky's visit to the Saturday morning picture show. Unlike Ursula, the other cinema employee to be featured in the comic, Commissionaire did not feature in any subsequent Cheeky's Week pages. However, he was seen clinging for his life to the sign above the cinema door as a torrent of kids pour into the picture show below him, on the Pin-Up Pal poster in Cheeky Weekly dated 17 March 1979, 15 weeks after he was last seen on a Saturday page.

The Commissionaire's grandson appeared in Cheeky Weekly dated 19 August 1978, the issue in which the toothy funster was propelled 60 years into his future.

In 4 issues of Cheeky Weekly, Commissionaire made an additional post-show appearance on the second Saturday page, as Cheeky and pals exited the cinema. However, 3 of his post-show appearances used the same artwork.
Variations on a theme by Frank McDiarmid
Commissionaire made one Krazy appearance, in that comic's last issue dated 15 April 1978 where, in the final panel of the 'Ello, It's Cheeky strip, his head appears to be among the cakes on Baker's Boy's tray.

Snail makes a prediction
Art: Mike Lacey

Apart from missing an 'A', Snail was right - Cheeky Weekly 01 July 1978.
Art: Frank McDiarmid

Commissionaire was absent from Cheeky Weekly's first birthday issue dated 21 October 1978. OR WAS HE? See my speculation on this topic here.


Chit-Chat 27 October 1979

UPDATE 14 September 2012: It seems Saturday morning picture shows were in existence much earlier than I guessed, as this footage from Saturday 03 October 1914 (early in World War 1) shows. Nice clips of the commissionaires.


Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Commissionaire5122-Oct-197702-Dec-1978


Count of elements by artist
Character Artist Total Elements

Commissionaire
Frank McDiarmid
19
Commissionaire
Frank McDiarmid pencils
16
Commissionaire
Mike Lacey
7
Commissionaire
Unknown Cheeky Artist 1
5
Commissionaire
Jim Watson
4
Commissionaire
Barrie Appleby
4
Commissionaire
Dick Millington
2
Commissionaire
Cut and Paste
1







Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The features - Saturday Morning Pictures including Interval

For Cheeky Weekly's first 59 issues, readers witnessed the toothy funster's regular trip to the Saturday morning picture show. Special cinema shows for children had been a weekend ritual for many youngsters since the 1940s (and possibly earlier). A programme of kid-friendly films (cartoons, comedy and adventure serials), together with an opportunity to cause mischief in a darkened cinema, proved a strong attraction for many youngsters in the days before widespread TV ownership.

The first Interval. Art: Frank McDiarmid
There were a number of Cheeky Weekly features associated with our grinning pal's cinema visit;

In the final panels of the first Saturday page in issues 1 to 59, Cheeky would be seen entering the cinema (usually leading the charge of kids trampling the long-suffering Commissionaire in the rush to get good seats).

Then there would be a cartoon supporting feature (or, on one occasion, a magic show).

This would be followed by the Interval (of which more later).

After the break, the latest episode of the adventure serial would commence. Over the weeks, a number of features fulfilled the role of the serial;
There would usually be a continuation of the Saturday feature after the adventure serial, commencing with Cheeky exiting the cinema.

Interval was the only Cheeky's Week feature to occur entirely within the structure of the Saturday morning pictures sequence.

11 February 1978 - a Snail-less Interval
Art: Unknown Cheeky Artist 1
The characters to feature most prominently in the Interval pages were;
  • Cheeky (natch) who appeared in all 59 Intervals, as did Ursula.
  • Snail, who was unaccountably absent for just one Interval - that dated 11 February 1978. Despite his absence during the cinema show, Snail was seen on Cheeky's shoulder in the same issue as he exited the cinema on the post-Interval Saturday page.
  • Crunching Chris, whose cacophonous mastication was endured by the audience during 32 film shows.
  • Snoozin' Susan, who snored through 20 programmes
Frank McDiarmid's depictions of Ursula
became more grotesque as the weeks passed
Some of the more unexpected characters to be seen during the Interval were Manhole Man (who emerged in the cinema via a manhole in the stalls), Knock-Knock Door, Paddywack (whose attendance at the cinema was surprising for the reason explained here) and Scruffbag, the school cat. Pet snails are of course regularly seen in cinemas.

The first Interval set the routine for most of the subsequent appearances of the feature;

Cheeky would deliver a gag to a gang of anonymous fellow cinema-attendees, who would sometimes be looking at the end caption of the preceding cartoon (occasionally using Warner Brothers' famous 'That's all, folks').

The toothy funster would insult Ursula the Usherette while selecting a snack of dubious provenance from her tray. Her responses to Cheeky's weekly ribbing were initially limited to silent fuming or guttural snarls, until she snapped in the 04 March 1978 comic and subjected the toothy funster to a retaliatory tirade that left him reeling. The lumbering lolly lady retained the power of speech in all but one of her subsequent appearances.

Walter Wurx would quite often be seen heading for an urgent appointment to check the cinema's plumbing.

As the adventure film was about to commence, Cheeky would try, and usually fail, to get a seat far from Crunching Chris, the only boy who could eat marshmallows noisily, and sonorous snorer, Snoozin' Susan.

In the final Interval panel, Cheeky and the characters seated beside him were shown in silhouette against the screen, on which the serial's title caption was being projected. One of the characters shown in the panel would give a brief recap of the climax of the previous week's episode. In a mix-up, the same recap was used in the 14 and 21 January 1978 issues - it actually belonged in the latter comic. The final panel also often featured characters looking for lost items in the dark (shoes, socks, grandad's false false teeth).

The intervals in the 26 November 1977 and 24 December 1977 issues were the only ones to be introduced by a caption, which read 'During the interval…'.

All the Intervals occupied a full page, with the exception of that which appeared in the 04 February 1979 issue, which covered a half page. The remainder of that page contained a Bam, Splat and Blooie reprint from Buster which, Snail informed readers (by means of a gastropod-type thought bubble), was an extra cartoon before the serial.

In the 20 May 1978 issue, The Muppet Show's Waldorf and Statler were seen sitting in the balcony although, unlike in their TV appearances, they refrained from commenting on the goings-on around them.

In the comic dated 19 August 1978, Cheeky got a glimpse of his life 60 years into the future. It appears that the toothless funster of 60 years hence is still visiting the cinema on Saturdays, but for the Pensioners' Film Show. In an amazing coincidence, the senior citizens are enjoying a 60-year-old episode of Archie's Angels, which just happens to be the serial running in Cheeky Weekly 60 years earlier. In a further, astounding coincidence, the episode being shown this week in 2038 is the same one that Cheeky would have watched had he not been whisked into the future, meaning that the readers of Cheeky Weekly can continue to follow the Archie's Angels story uninterrupted.

Carriageway chaos occurred throughout Cheeky's Week in the comic dated 26 August 1978, as a learner driver terrified the populace of Krazy Town. Even the cinema patrons weren't safe, as the car motored through the interval.

The supporting cartoon was replaced by a special magic show in Cheeky Weekly's first birthday issue dated 21 October 1978.

The final Interval appeared in Cheeky Weekly dated 02 December 1978. In the following week's issue, Cheeky told us "Some of you readers have been wondering what I do on Saturday afternoons, after I've been to the cinema. Today, I'm going to watch our local football team". Thereafter, the Saturday pages depicted the toothy funster's afternoon pursuits. Interval stalwarts Ursula, Crunching Chris and Snoozin' Susan continued to appear in the comic after Interval came to and end.

Interval was an enjoyable part of Cheeky's Week and introduced one of the comic's most memorable characters, Ursula. However, by the late 1970s, attendance at Saturday Morning Pictures must have been in sharp decline due to the increasing number of homes with a TV, and the introduction of Saturday morning children's TV shows. Possibly feedback from readers indicated the feature should be dropped, although it seems at least one Friend of Cheeky wondered why it had ceased...

Chit-Chat 27 October 1979


Interval in the Cheeky Weekly Index


Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Interval22-Oct-7702-Dec-7859025,27,28,29


Feature Artist Number of Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Interval Frank McDiarmid1822-Oct-197725-Nov-1978
Interval Frank McDiarmid pencils1812-Nov-197718-Nov-1978
Interval Dick Millington224-Dec-197727-May-1978
Interval Unknown Cheeky Artist 1514-Jan-197804-Mar-1978
Interval Barrie Appleby411-Mar-197822-Jul-1978
Interval Jim Watson601-Apr-197810-Jun-1978
Interval Mike Lacey617-Jun-197802-Dec-1978


Preceding Page Count
Tweety and Sylvester27
Road Runner9
Bam Splat and Blooie5
Wile E Coyote5
Daffy Duck4
Cocky Doodle3
Henery Hawk3
IPC2
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf2
Tweety1
Hey Presto! Magic Show1
Hickory Dickory Doc1
Ghouldilocks1