Readers who have been following this blog for some time will be aware that this series of Profile posts examines the named characters who appeared alongside the toothy funster in his daily ‘Cheeky’s Week’ pages. Cheeky Weekly’s USP (at least in its early days) was that the Cheeky elements acted as framing devices for all the other features in the comic. A number of the characters from the non-Cheeky features were shown to share the same universe as our grinning pal. For example, Skateboard Squad and Calculator Kid were seen on the Cheeky pages a number of times.
Other features had a metafictional relationship to Cheeky’s world; James Bold was the hero of a series of novels (and later a film) which Cheeky enjoyed, and Elephant on the Run was a strip in our grinning pal’s favourite funny paper, the Mystery Comic.
In some cases Cheeky Weekly blurred the reality boundary by incorporating fictional-from-Cheeky’s-perspective characters into the Cheeky pages; Paddywack was initially presented as the subject of a cartoon strip drawn by Doodle Doug, but was later seen at the cinema during a Saturday morning pictures sequence, and on one occasion the titular pachyderm from Elephant on the Run, plus his plastic-clad pursuer, turned up in Cheeky’s Week. Were these examples of the scriptwriter deliberately being playful with the whole concept of the ‘reality’ depicted in comics, or rather the result of lapses in concentration? You decide.
6 Million Dollar Gran, initially presented as the robotic star character in Cheeky’s favourite humorous sci-fi/fantasy TV show, made one transition across the fictionality interface into Cheeky’s world. In that particular case, I think we can excuse the comic’s creators for what some may consider to be a gaffe, since Gran’s sole Cheeky’s Week appearance occurred in the final issue of the toothy funster’s comic, during a sequence in which all those funny folk who would be transferring into Whoopee! the following week were shown meeting their new comic colleagues, and therefore the scriptwriter had no option other than to include the synthetic senior citizen. Additionally, the depiction of Gran as a TV character ceased following the 14 July 1979 edition of Cheeky Weekly (Gran’s being the final framing device to be dropped from the comic), and her former TV star status was never mentioned in Whoopee! so it was simpler to assign her to the same level of reality as her Cheeky chums in the final issue of Cheeky's mighty, if short-lived, title.
|Gran's non-speaking role in the final Cheeky Weekly|
Art: Frank McDiarmid
Any blog readers cross-referencing to the list of Cheeky's Week Characters will be understandably puzzled by the discrepancy between this post's mention of Gran's single appearance and that list's total of 5 appearances by the robotic senior citizen. The difference exists because the Cheeky's Week Characters list includes in the total Cover Features containing the relevant character, whereas the figures shown in these Profile posts excludes Cover Features. The description Cover Feature is one I use for elements that appear on page 1 but which are not comic strips (What a Cheek and its replacement Cheeky's Week were the main cover strips).
Gran's front page appearances that I have classified as Cover Features are on the 12 November 1977, 29 July 1978, 02 September 1978 and 21 July 1979 issues.
It's now apparent that my assignment of Cover Feature is not really adequate - I should have created an additional category called something like Cover Feature - Cheeky-Related, which would have meant that the single-panel Cheeky gag covers would have been identified separately from the cover features such as those listed above. Maybe I'll get round to reclassifying those elements one day.