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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Cheeky Weekly Index - Cheeky Annuals and Specials Index
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Major Characters from the Cheeky pages
Features Ordered by Date of Commencement

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Thursday, 28 September 2023

More on the Mr. Hill Mystery

I have previously posted about the artist who coyly signed himself  'Mr. Hill', and my efforts to identify his first name, having seen him referred to variously as Bob, Gordon and Len. Mr. Hill's connection to Cheeky was mainly through his long run on The Krazy Gang, who made their debut in the relatively short-lived Krazy and numbered among them our toothy pal. Mr Hill took over the Krazy Gang artwork duties from Ian Knox in 1977. Ian's surrendering of the strip was presumably because he had begun drawing the 2-pages-a-week 6 Million Dollar Gran in Cheeky Weekly. The mysterious Mr. Hill, whose artwork I've always found very appealing, continued to draw the Krazy Gang when the strip transferred into Whizzer and Chips following Krazy's 1978 cancellation, and the semi-anonymous artist drew the antics of the titular group until the strip came to an end in 1986. The enigmatic Mr H also drew our grinning hero in one issue of Cheeky Weekly.

I first broached the perplexing subject of the artist's first name back in 2013, when the consensus seemed to be that Bob was the appellation he went by outside of his comics work. I further considered the conundrum 2 years later, having discovered an item on a Whizzer and Chips letters page which confirmed that Bob is indeed his name.

However I recently lighted upon some further information which reintroduces the confusion because in Buster dated 16 February 1991, for his entry in the series 'Meet the Artists', Mr. Hill lists himself as Gordon, although giving his full name as Gordon Robert (from which we of course derive the 'Bob' by which he seems to be most frequently known).

Despite this latest revelation, I'm going to continue to refer to him as Bob Hill.

Later the same year, Bob placed an advertisement on the Buster letters page in the 19 October edition, announcing the publication of his book, Mr Hill's Mirthquake.

The address given in the advert would appear to be that of a house in a residential street so I felt it prudent to obliterate some of the details to avoid the present occupants being pestered by hordes of Mr. Hill fans.

I have been able to find very little information about Mr. Hill's humorous volume (he is evidently as reluctant to reveal his first name in his book publishing endeavours as he is with his comic work), but copies are held by a number of reference libraries, the author being known in the corridors of those august repositories of printed works as Gordon Hill.

Monday, 28 August 2023

Cheeky-related characters in the Whoopee Specials and Annuals - Part 13 - 1992

In the twelve preceding instalments of this series in which my aim is to identify any appearances of Cheeky and/or related characters in the Whoopee Specials or Annuals published since the absorption of Cheeky Weekly into the weekly Whoopee in 1980, I have been able to identify advertisements for those Specials/Annuals in weekly issues of either Whoopee, Whizzer and Chips or Buster published in the years in question. However, with regard to the year currently under investigation, 1992, I was surprised to find that there were no ads for that year's Whoopee Holiday Special in any of the issues of Buster published that year. The Buster Holiday Special of 1992 was advertised in Buster on 8 occasions, and the Buster and Monster Fun Holiday Special received 6 promotions, yet for some reason the Whoopee Special was ignored. It could be that publishers Fleetway Editions felt that sales of Whoopee Specials would accrue as a result of prospective readers or their parents seeing the Whoopee Specials alongside the Buster Specials on newsagents' shelves. Whoopee had ceased to exist as an independent weekly title back in 1985 following its merge into Whizzer and Chips, so few Buster readers in 1992 would remember Whoopee from its heyday. However, unless they were running it as a The Producers-style-scheme designed to lose money, Fleetway Editions must have expected the 1992 Whoopee Holiday Special to achieve a reasonable level of sales. In the original version of my previous post (which I have since updated), I erroneously claimed that the 1992 Whoopee Holiday Special was the final one, but I have since discovered that a Whoopee Special was published in 1993, so it would seem that despite not devoting any advertising to it, Fleetway Editions were satisfied with sales of the 1992 Special (or the losses resulting from it if my earlier wild speculation was anywhere near the truth).

The Whoopee Annual published in 1991, carrying on its cover the year 1992 as was the tradition, was the final yearly hardback collection of Whoopee fun.

 Whoopee Holiday Special 1992

With a menacing Splort! and Shlup!, front cover favourite Sweeny Toddler threatens to distribute a hippo potty mess in this scatalogical and zoological scene drawn by Jimmy Hansen, presaging events in the teeny terror's story on page 2.

Mountaineering mayhem ensues on pages 4 and 5 as a Robot Granny escapade is reprinted from the pages of  Whoopee! and Cheeky dated 11 July 1981. It would seem that Fleetway Editions have a different policy on the lettering on display in reprints than that of former owners of the IPC archives, as the text in this adventure has not been refurbished as it was in all the Cheeky-related reprints in last year's Special produced under the auspices of Fleetway Publications.

Art: Ian Knox

Mustapha Million features in a new adventure drawn by Frank McDiarmid on pages 8 and 9. I'm a little disappointed that no Boilk! (a favourite of mine among comic onomatopoeiae) is in evidence during the gastric plight of Mustapha and pals at the conclusion of the tale.


Frank also draws the single-page and mercifully excrement-free Sweeny Toddler episode on page 23, and additionally a Bumpkin Billionaires adventure spanning pages 31 to 34 in which the reluctantly wealthy protagonists encourage criminals to steal their cash. This brings the miscreants to the attention of the police, and if I mention the words 'cash rewards' those of you familiar with the typical Bumpkins storyline can probably deduce the tale's conclusion.

I'm guessing the the two sets by Frank which I describe in the paragraph above are new, but there is more work by the mighty Mr M on pages 41 and 42 in the form of a Boy Boss episode which I imagine is a reprint.

This Special is proving to be a treat for fans of Frank McDiarmid as more of his work is in evidence on pages 43 to 46 which contain a reprinted Cheeky episode that originally appeared in Whoopee! and Cheeky dated 27 June 1981. On its original outing the first page boasted red spot colour.



There's yet more work by Frank on pages 48 and 49 with another new Mustapha Million episode, and among the affable Arab's chums is a rather familiar-looking lad. Those goofy teeth, the sticky-up hair and the striped jersey - yes, it's definitely Cheeky! In addition there are some nods to Cheeky's strips of yore in the feline form of (what I choose to believe is) Granny Gumdrop's cat, Tired Tom, the cloud hovering above Mustapha's Pals, and Mustapha's appearance via a manhole (the latter 2 elements referencing Gloomy Glad and Manhole Man respectively).

There is no further Cheeky-related material in this Special.

It's great to see a new appearance of Cheeky, even if it is in a supporting role. Frank McDiarmid had previously teased Cheeky fans in the Mustapha Million episode in Whizzer and Chips dated 22 October 1988 with a character displaying similarities to our toothy pal, but in this Mustapha story it's undoubtedly Cheeky among the cast. Our grinning chum also features in a 4-page reprint, so will there be a strong Cheeky presence in the Whoopee Holiday Special of 1993? Join me soon when I'll be finding out.

Friday, 28 July 2023

Cheeky-related characters in the Whoopee Annuals and Specials - Part 12 - 1991

By 1991, Buster was the last extant weekly humour comic being published by Fleetway Publications. Buster had started the year carrying a reference on the cover of each issue to the title it had absorbed in 1990, namely Whizzer and Chips, but this acknowledgement of the 'merge' ceased after the issue dated 07 September 1991. A further change followed when the Maxwell Group offloaded their comic-publishing arm Fleetway Publications (Buster being among the titles it produced), which they had acquired from IPC in 1987 onto Egmont who merged it with their existing London Editions comic business to become Fleetway Editions. The first issue of Buster to reflect the change of ownership was that dated 14 December 1991, although surprisingly the reference to Maxwell remained in place, eventually being removed as of the 18 January 1992 edition. IPC, former owners of Buster, were now distributing the title.

Buster dated 07 December 1991

Buster dated 14 December 1991

1991 saw publication of the penultimate Whoopee Holiday Special, first advertised in Buster dated 30 March 1991. UPDATE 02 August 2023 - The previous sentence was based on my misreading of the Comics UK Whoopee Specials page. I see now that the page doesn't claim that the 1992 Whoopee Special was the last. I now believe there was a Whoopee Special in 1993.

The 1991 Whoopee Holiday Special was first advertised in Buster in the 30 March 1991 edition.

It would appear that the Fleetway Specials of 1991 were published in 4 tranches - following Whoopee, Battle and Roy of the Rovers on 23 March came The Best of Billy's Boots and Buster on 04 May...

...followed by Buster and Monster Fun, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and Hot-Shot Hamish on 18 May.

Latecomers jostling their way onto the crowded newsagents' shelves on 01 June, came Dan Dare, Whizzer and Chips, Big Comic and 2000AD.

1991 saw the surprise return, for a final time, of the Whoopee Annual, publication of which had been suspended after the 1987-cover-dated Annual was printed in 1986. Was this unexpected addition to Fleetway Publications' 1991 printing schedule made with the upcoming sale of the business in mind, to make the revenue from Annuals seem more attractive than it would have been with just 2 humour titles?

Whoopee Holiday Special 1991

Sweeny Toddler is once again the cover star. Artist Jimmy Hansen has provided an aid to identification of the terrifying tyke in the form of the legend 'Sweeny is Heer' on the life belt being wielded by the notorious nipper, to aid those who may be confused by the life guard outfit. I can see no Cheeky folk among the characters scattering across the beach.

Despite not being seen on the cover, Gran makes an appearance on page 6, which features a reprinted Gran's Gang seaside-related adventure sourced from Whoopee and Wow! dated 07 April 1984. The speech balloons have been refurbished. Art by Ian Knox.

Whoopee Holiday Special 1991

Whoopee and Wow! 07 April 1984


Trainee Hypnotist, not one of the regular stars of Stage School, is the pivotal character in the story selected for reprinting on pages 14 and 15. Once again the speech balloons have been spiffed-up (but introducing typos in the balloon in the first panel of the second row on page 1, and in Sir's dialogue in the second panel of the second page). This tale of mesmeric machinations first appeared in Whoopee! and Cheeky dated 20 December 1980. Superb art by Robert Nixon.

On pages 24 and 25 we're treated to a new Mustapha Million episode drawn by Frank McDiarmid.

Sourced from the same issue as the Gran's Gang episode above (Whoopee and Wow! 07 April 1984) is this Quick Strips page including Paddywack and Cheeky. Revised speech balloons are again in evidence. Paddywack is drawn by Jack Clayton, Jim Barker is the Bleep artist, Cheeky is depicted by Cheekmeister Frank McDiarmid and the Here Is The News artwork is supplied by Ed McHenry.


This is the final Cheeky-related entry in the Special.

A Boy Boss reprint drawn by Frank McDiarmid appears on pages 50 and 51.

Whoopee Annual 1992

Jimmy Hansen is again on hand to provide the cover image, and this time Sweeny is joined in a botanical brouhaha by his parents plus Ma and Pa Bumpkin.

The first member of the Cheeky crew to make an appearance, as she was in the above Special, is Gran. However on this occasion the editor has selected an episode from Gran's robotic years, reprinted from the 26 April 1980 edition of Whoopee! and Cheeky. The captions and Speech balloons have again been re-applied, with one change. Ian Knox is the artist.


A reprinted Boy Boss episode drawn by Frank McDiarmid occupies pages 28 and 29, and on pages 34 to 36, Frank draws a Bumpkin Billionaires escapade in which young Billy rides an overweight horse in the Grand National. I assume this is a new strip.

Mustapha Million turns up on page 43, but unlike his appearance in the Holiday Special, this is a reprint. Cut down to a single page from the 2-page adventure originally presented in Cheeky Weekly dated 21 April 1979, this truncated version of the story was previously reprinted in Whizzer and Chips now including Whoopee dated 18 May 1985. Some colour has been applied to what was a monochrome tale on its previous outings, and the speech balloons have again been refreshed. The phrase 'mud bombs' in the original was replaced with 'mud pies' on the strip's previous reprinting, and that change is maintained here. Joe McCaffrey is the artist.

The kind-hearted pupils help Sir out of a tricky situation with a school cleaning lady in the Stage School adventure on pages 68 and 69. This story is another selection from Whoopee and Wow! dated 07 April 1984, the issue which yielded the Gran and Quick strip pages in the above Whoopee Holiday Special. The plot sees the kids flatter the cleaning lady by comparing her to a character from the TV Soap Coronation Street. When the strip originally appeared the comparison was made with 'Annie Worker', a reference to the TV character Annie Walker. Since the character was no longer appearing on screen in 1991, the reference in the strip was changed to Bet Gilroy with no attempt to make a play on the name. Once again the text has been updated, although Sir's original 'Erk!' as he attempts to control the unruly vacuum in the first panel of the bottom row on the first page survives. Art by Robert Nixon.

The final Cheeky-related material in this Annual is another vintage Mustapha Million tale, this time originating from Cheeky Weekly dated 15 December 1979 but previously reprinted in Whoopee dated 16 March 1985, just 2 issues short of the comic's demise. The original strip was printed in colour, but on its previous reprinting it was presented in red spot colour. The colours used in this latest reprinting don't conform to the colour design of the strip's original outing. Art by Joe McCaffrey.

Immediately following the above adventure is another 3-page Bumpkin Billionaires set drawn by Frank McDiarmid. This escapade concerns a wig worn by the bank manager. Neither of the two Bumpkins episodes in this Annual follow the usual 'Bumpkins trying to dispose of their wealth' plotline.

Someone didn't check the small print at the foot of the inside back cover of this Annual (I'm not referring to the name of the publisher as presumably the sale of the business hadn't occurred when the Annual contents were sent to the printer).


The final Whoopee Holiday Special appeared in 1992, and I'll be examining its contents soon. UPDATE 02 August 2023. As explained above, the first part of the preceding statement is incorrect due to an error on my part. However, I will be examining the contents of the 1992 Special, which I now don't believe was the final one, soon.

Wednesday, 28 June 2023

Cheeky-related characters in the Whoopee Annuals and Specials - Part 11 - 1990

1990 was a sad year for Whizz-kids and Chip-ites (plus those regular readers of the 2 conjoined comics who felt no particular allegiance to either Whizzer supremo Sid or Chips chief Shiner), as the weekly version of  'two-in-one' title Whizzer and Chips was brought to an end in October of that year. Or at least Whizzer and Chips ceased to have an independent weekly newsagent presence after its 27 October 1990 issue, though it was of course 'merged', as was the custom in the comics trade, with a stablemate considered to be more vital by its publishers. However, by this late stage Fleetway Publications didn't have much choice but to merge Whizzer and Chips into Buster, since that was the only other humour title they were publishing at the time.

Cheeky Weekly had of course been dragged into this spiral of collapsing comics back in 1980 when it was absorbed into Whoopee!, which was in turn assimilated by the mighty Whizzer and Chips.

The final surviving member of the innovative band of characters who made their 1977 debut in Cheeky Weekly was the kindly Mustapha Million who continued to occupy a weekly slot into the very last edition of Whizzer and Chips. I know little about the contents of Buster after Whizzer and Chips was amalgamated into it, so it may be that some Cheeky funny folk did on occasion turn up there in reprints (makes mental note to do some research when time allows).

In the spring of 1990 few Whizzer and Chips readers would have suspected that their favourite title had but months to live as they perused the ad for '3 Special Specials' which appeared on page 11 of the comic dated 14 April. Humour title Whoopee is sandwiched between the gritty Battle Holiday Special, the cover of which would appear to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and the soccertastic Roy of the Rovers Holiday Special featuring a cover image of a determined Roy Race no doubt streaking goalward and, in a thoroughly wholesome way, keeping his studs well clear of his felled opponent's knee.This was the only time the 1990 Whoopee Holiday Special was advertised in Whizzer and Chips.


Whoopee Holiday Special 1990

Yet another seaside Sweeny scene graces this year's cover. I'm guessing the artwork is by Graham Exton who as far as I can tell drew the inimitable infant in all the 1990 editions of Whizzer and Chips.

Page 3 of this Special presents our first encounter with some fondly-remembered Cheeky folk, as the editor chooses to reprint a Quick Strips page which originally featured in Whoopee and Wow! dated 05 May 1984. It's sad to be reminded of the ignominious end suffered by Cheeky as his career declined and eventually concluded when Whoopee was cancelled. This brief glimpse of a constricted Cheeky is unlikely to have 1990 readers unfamiliar with the character, and who have never experienced the joy of an expansive toothy funster punfest, clamouring for more appearances by our grinning pal. Paddywack was of course a fellow former Cheeky Weekly star, though his relegation to the Quick Strips page was less humiliating than that of Cheeky's since Paddywack had spent time in the single-row-of-panels format on several prior occasions. Paddywack is drawn by Jack Clayton, Jim Barker is the Bleep artist, Cheeky is depicted by Cheekmeister Frank McDiarmid and the Here Is The News artwork is supplied by Ed McHenry.

More reprinted Cheeky-related fun is apparent on page 21 in the form of a Gran's Gang adventure sourced from the 14 April 1984 edition of Whoopee and Wow! By that time in her curious comic career, Gran's former robotic nature was no longer referred to, so none of her erstwhile superhuman feats are on display in this tale to puzzle young readers who have not previously encountered the elderly lead character.

Art: Ian Knox


We're treated to a new, colour Mustapha Million episode on pages 48 and 49. The notion of Mustapha running out of money, an occurrence his pals recall during the course of this tale, seems a highly unlikely eventuality. Certainly our generous chum could temporarily exhaust his immediate supplies of cash, but surely a helicopter-drop of replacement moolah is just a phone call away to one with Mustapha's resources.

Mustapha's is the final appearance by a Cheeky-related character in this Special.

I can't pretend that I'm not disappointed there are just 4 panels of Cheeky in this year's Whoopee Special, following last year's 4 full pages of (albeit reprinted) toothy funster material. Stage School and Calculator Kid are absent this year. On the plus side we enjoyed a new Mustapha Million episode drawn by Frank McDiarmid.

Join me soon when my search for Cheeky-related characters will arrive at 1991, which saw the publication of the final Whoopee Annual, as well as a Holiday Special. Will Cheeky funny folk be present in both publications?

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Cheeky-related characters in the Whoopee Annuals and Specials - Part 10 - 1989

And so we reach 1989 in our quest to identify any appearances in the Whoopee Annuals or Specials by Cheeky or the funny folk who were his comic companions in the pages of Cheeky Weekly. The reason this series focuses on the spin-offs of the weekly Whoopee is that's the title into which the survivors of Cheeky's comic transferred following the inevitable 'merge' following cancellation of the toothy funster's comic. There was also a subsequent merge of Whoopee into Whizzer and Chips, although only Mustapha Million, Calculator Kid and Stage School made the transition. Mustapha continued to appear until Whizzer and Chips itself succumbed to a merge into Buster in 1990, Calculator Kid eventually came to an end in July 1986, and Stage School appeared just twice. Cheeky didn't transfer into Whizzer and Chips as the star of a strip, but he had been appearing in W&C as a member of the Krazy Gang since 1978, a feature which would continue until February 1986.

Whoopee Annuals were at this point undergoing a hiatus which would end in 1991.

The Oink! Holiday collection was the first Special to be advertised in Whizzer and Chips in 1989, in the 18 March edition. There then followed ads for various Specials of the adventure and humour genres, but the first and only Whizzer and Chips mention of the Whoopee Holiday Special of that year came in the issue dated 24 June 1989, as part of an ensemble ad for Fleetway Publications' humour Special offerings. Nick Baker's tumultuous beach scene is probably designed to make people avoid the seaside and read some comics instead, but surprisingly none of the covers of the publications being promoted are on display.


Whoopee Holiday Special 1989


It's tyrannical tyke Sweeny Toddler's turn to occupy the cover this year, as he succumbs to a desert island daydream, illustrated by Tom Paterson, which continues onto page 2.

Cheeky himself has so far failed to appear in any Whoopee Holiday Specials, but his fondly-remembered  title gets a mention in an ad for reprint-collection Big Comic on page 5 (below the half-page conclusion to a Scared-Stiff Sam episode).


And, having remarked on the absence of our buck-toothed buddy, we turn the page to witness Cheeky in his punning pomp, sharing Sweeny's Crusoe-fixation, as the reels of silliness-packed celluloid which originally flickered across the pages of Whoopee! and Cheeky in the Movie Masterpiece of 09 August 1980 get threaded up for another showing. Gratifyingly, this big-screen blockbuster is (almost) uncut and presented in its 4-page entirety, with (almost) no edits to Frank McDiarmid's glorious artwork. A good assortment of Cheeky's chums have supporting roles. Readers unfamiliar with the Cheeky milieu will probably follow most of what's happening, though they won't know that the gent bowing in obeisance is Cheeky's teacher in his 'real' world, nor will they be aware that the blonde in the animal skin swimsuit is Lily Pop and thus miss the significance of her offer to escort Cheeky across the lake. It's hard to imagine what the uninitiated make of the Knock-Knock door, Gloomy Glad and her cancelled cloud or Walter Wurx' apology for unavoidable absence from the cinema audience in the title banner.

The 2 edits to this reprint are;

  • The removal of the 'We'll take good care of you' text from the second panel on the fourth page. This (slightly misquoted) reference to the British Airways advertising jingle familiar to viewers of ITV in 1980 is evidently considered to be so puzzling to readers in 1989 that it requires excision, whereas those same readers are left to unravel the aforementioned unexplained foibles of Cheeky's pals for themselves.


  • The understandable replacement of the original 'trailer' at the foot of the same page


Page 12 of the Special sees the commencement of a 2-page Mustapha Million tale, appropriately concerning school summer holidays, selected for reprint from the pages of Whoopee! dated 24 July 1982.

Art: Joe McCaffrey

Whoopee dated 04 September 1982 is the source of the next story featuring a Cheeky-related character, and this time it's Robot Granny. As the aged automaton embarks on a walk in the country, readers unfamiliar with the character require no explanation of the setup, since the premise is explained by the strip's title.


Art: Ian Knox

The editor of this Special reaches further back in the annals of Mustapha Million to furnish the vintage single-page adventure drawn by Reg Parlett which occupies page 27. This story originally appeared in Cheeky Weekly dated 15 July 1978, but it seems the staff member tasked with gathering material suitable for recycling didn't actually scour the Cheeky Weekly archive since the version presented here uses the angular speech bubbles that were in evidence when the episode was previously reprinted in Whoopee and Wow! dated 27 October 1984 (the original printing featured more conventional, rounded-off bubbles, but the design was changed to match the squared-off style which was a feature of Whoopee at the time of the strip's first reprinting). The original title banner, which included a caption reading 'This is what he read', because at the time of the episode's debut in Cheeky Weekly Mustapha's adventures were presented as a page from the Mystery Comic, has been replaced. Both reprintings have used the same replacement banner.


Cheeky Weekly 15 July 1978


Whoopee Holiday Special 1989

Last year's Whoopee Holiday Special included a reprinted Stage School episode concerning events on the sports field, and a similar tale featuring more outdoor athletic endeavours by the aspiring showbiz kids has been retrieved from the vaults this year, selected from the pages of Whoopee and Wow! dated 07 July 1984.


Art: Robert Nixon

Calculator Kid occupies the penultimate page of this Special, and the young owner of the sentient arithmetical aid finds his modest model yacht pitted against the sleek and sophisticated vessels of his opponents. Needless to say, Calc ensures that Charlie's humble craft overtakes its rivals. This boating pond battle was first enjoyed by readers of Whoopee! dated 21 August 1982.

Art: Terry Bave


Last year's Whoopee Special included a new Mustapha Million strip as well as some reprints, but this year all the Cheeky-related items are recycled. Nevertheless former Cheeky Weekly funny folk are well-represented in this Special, and it's great to see our toothy chum again, rendered by the master of Cheekery, Frank McDiarmid, even if it is a reprint. Maybe the editor decided to include Cheeky to test the audience reaction to the character - if it's positive we may see him again next year. Is it too much to hope that we will see some new Cheeky material? Probably, but join me again soon when I'll be entering a new decade to examine the 1990 Whoopee Special.