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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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Thursday, 22 October 2020

The Whoopee Years - Cheeky Weekly Characters in the Popularity Polls - part 14 - Conclusion

The sixteenth and final Top Ten voting coupon to be published in Whoopee since Cheeky Weekly was absorbed into the senior title in February 1980, was printed in the edition dated 19 January 1985. This was just two weeks after the fifteenth set of poll results of the post-Cheeky-merge era had been published. Whoopee's own March 1985 demise and merge into Whizzer and Chips was now imminent, and one would imagine that by this late stage the decision on which features would transfer into the combined comic had already been made. Nonetheless, the poll-weary readers of Whoopee again ranked their favourite strips, and a truncated result was presented in Whoopee dated 09 March 1985 (the cover references to Wow!, which had been subsumed into an exclamation-shorn Whoopee following Wow!'s June 1983 cancellation, had ceased as of the 02 March 1985 edition).

So for the last time we'll examine which Whoopee and Wow! and/or Whoopee features had concluded between the previous poll results (in this case in the 05 January 1985 issue) and the next set of results in the comic dated 09 March 1985...

09-FEB-80 12-JAN-85 Cover Feature*
01-MAR-80 19-JAN-85 Top Ten voting coupon
12-FEB-83 26-JAN-85 Freaky Frankie
10-MAY-80 09-MAR-85 Top Ten Results

*Cover Feature is the term I use to record anything that appears on the front page but is not a comic strip (usually that would be the announcement of a competition or promotion of some kind). However, I'm not sure now why I chose to classify the 12 January 1985 issue's Joe/Sweeny Dredd illustration as a cover feature whereas I didn't do the same with the cover of the same year's 23 February edition (both of which can be seen over at Kazoop). I was probably getting somewhat fatigued when approaching the end of cataloguing the contents of 8,462 Whoopee pages. Anyway, the only actual strip to finish in this period was Freaky Frankie, which thanks to Stephen Archer's helpful comment a while back I now know to be a reprint from Monster Fun.

Not surprisingly, since the comic was limping towards its imminent termination, no new strips had been initiated.

This then was the lineup of ongoing features in the period, from which readers were making their selection of favourites (barring those readers who possibly voted for fondly-remembered strips that had expired some time earlier)...

09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bookworm
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Bumpkin Billionaires
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Calculator Kid
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Frankie Stein
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Lolly Pop
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Mustapha Million
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Paddywack
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Stage School
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Sweeny Toddler
09-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Toy Boy
16-FEB-80 30-MAR-85 Chip
10-MAY-80 09-MAR-85 Top Ten Results
23-OCT-82 30-MAR-85 Snack-Man
27-NOV-82 23-MAR-85 Calculator Corner
02-JUL-83 23-MAR-85 Team Mates
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Bleep
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Boy Boss
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Cheeky (Quick Strip)
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Comic Turns
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Creepy Comix
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Family Trees
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Gran's Gang
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Here Is The News
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Kid Comic
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Ossie
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 Shipwreck School
02-JUL-83 30-MAR-85 TV Quiz Kids
14-JAN-84 30-MAR-85 Animalad

Just to mention again that since my Whoopee collection only commences as of the Cheeky merge, the earliest issue date recorded in my database for the title is 09 February 1980, and thus the features which existed in Whoopee! prior to the merge with the toothy funster's comic are shown in the table above as having a start date of 09 February 1980.

Sadly, the final set of poll results only show us the overall winner, unlike all the previous ones which showed the ten most popular characters. Clearly the proximity of Whoopee's expiry made it all rather academic by this stage...

Whoopee 09 March 1985
Calculator Corner - Jack Oliver

Just to wrap up this series of posts on the fortunes of our ex-Cheeky Weekly chums in the Top Ten polls, I'll present here again the results relating to the survivors of the toothy funster's own title...

The most successful of the strips to transfer in from Cheeky Weekly in terms of top ten placements was Stage School, which failed to register in just one of the 15 polls for which full results were published. The popularity of the strip increased during late 1982 (with the exception of the December '82 poll), attaining first place in April '83. However, the showbiz-obsessed kids failed to make any impression among the final top ten choices. Stage School survived the merge (nominally at least - the strip appeared in just two issues of Whizzer and Chips including Whoopee).

Poll Date Feature Position
10/05/80 Stage School 8
15/11/80 Stage School 6
20/06/81 Stage School 10
20/02/82 Stage School 7
07/08/82 Stage School 8
21/08/82 Stage School 10
02/10/82 Stage School 5
06/11/82 Stage School 3
04/12/82 Stage School 8
22/01/83 Stage School 4
02/04/83 Stage School 1
19/11/83 Stage School 5
31/03/84 Stage School 4
21/07/84 Stage School 4
05/01/85 Stage School Not placed

The next most successful of Cheeky's chums in terms of placements was Mustapha Million who made it into 12 results, although he secured top spot on 3 occasions, something that Stage School only managed once. It's interesting that Mustapha was absent from the results in the period November '83 to July '84 (the merge of Wow! into Whoopee in July '83 could well be a factor), but enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the January '85 results - reprints of Mustapha's Cheeky Weekly adventures (the majority of the reprints used in this period were drawn by Reg Parlett) began in Whoopee and Wow! dated 07 April 1984. We can only assume that this late improvement in reader regard for the strip was instrumental in Mustapha's survival into Whizzer and Chips following Whoopee's cancellation.

Poll Date Feature Position
10/05/80 Mustapha Million 1
15/11/80 Mustapha Million 1
20/06/81 Mustapha Million 1
20/02/82 Mustapha Million 3
07/08/82 Mustapha Million 4
21/08/82 Mustapha Million 4
02/10/82 Mustapha Million 4
06/11/82 Mustapha Million 7
04/12/82 Mustapha Million 4
22/01/83 Mustapha Million 7
02/04/83 Mustapha Million 9
19/11/83 Mustapha Million Not placed
31/03/84 Mustapha Million Not placed
21/07/84 Mustapha Million Not placed
05/01/85 Mustapha Million 7

Calculator Kid secured 11 placings, the number 2 spot being the highest position that Charlie and Calc reached. It would seem the merge of Wow! into Whoopee as of July 1983 dented the pair's popularity, although rather surprisingly the strip did continue into Whizzer and Chips (as did the Calculator Corner puzzle spin-off).

Poll Date Feature Position
10/05/80 Calculator Kid 4
15/11/80 Calculator Kid 2
20/06/81 Calculator Kid 5
20/02/82 Calculator Kid 4
07/08/82 Calculator Kid 6
21/08/82 Calculator Kid 5
02/10/82 Calculator Kid 6
06/11/82 Calculator Kid 8
04/12/82 Calculator Kid 6
22/01/83 Calculator Kid 3
02/04/83 Calculator Kid 5
19/11/83 Calculator Kid Not placed
31/03/84 Calculator Kid Not placed
21/07/84 Calculator Kid Not placed
05/01/85 Calculator Kid Not placed

Gran had a curious Whoopee career, appearing in the top ten once in each of her 3 Whoopee iterations, every time at the lower end of the rankings. With a record this bad it's no wonder she didn't survive the merge.

Poll Date Feature Position
10/05/80 $6,000,000 Gran 7
15/11/80 $6,000,000 Gran Not placed
20/06/81 Robot Granny Not placed
20/02/82 Robot Granny Not placed
07/08/82 Robot Granny Not placed
20/02/82 Robot Granny Not placed
02/10/82 Robot Granny Not placed
06/11/82 Robot Granny 10
04/12/82 Robot Granny Not placed
22/01/83 Robot Granny Not placed
02/04/83 Robot Granny Not placed
19/11/83 Gran’s Gang 7
31/03/84 Gran’s Gang Not placed
21/07/84 Gran’s Gang Not placed
05/01/85 Gran’s Gang Not placed

The Whoopee editor made considerable efforts to find a vehicle that would boost Cheeky's popularity, putting the grinning gagster through several revamps. Sadly none of these strategies worked (it's possible that the decision to allocate Cheeky so many pages in the early days of the Whoopee/Cheeky merge caused an antipathy towards the character among existing Whoopee readers who presumably outnumbered those ex-Cheeky Weekly fans coming to the combined title, and poor Cheeky never recovered from that festering resentment) and Cheeky failed to register in any of the poll results. The Whoopee version of the toothy funster as a solo star failed to survive into Whizzer and Chips although, through the convoluted byways of comic history, he was already appearing in that venerable 'two comics in one' title as a member of the Krazy Gang, which would continue there until 1986.

Paddywack also failed to make any top ten appearances, despite appearing on Whoopee's front cover for a time, and was not carried over into Whizzer and Chips.

Back to part 13.

Back to the first part of this series.


  1. Shame about Gran...love Ian's art...also liked stage school...Whoopee ending was a bad day..

    1. mmmm...I don't know - Whoopee still had some good strips at the end but also some real clunkers so maybe it was best to cancel it, although some of the clunkers transferred into W&C!