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

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Tuesday 30 October 2012

Profile - Phone Box

The Knock-Knock Door is the best-remembered inanimate 'character' from among the vast roster of Cheeky's supporting cast (other non-living participants being Spook and the more obscure Hot Air Balloon), but there was another lifeless player on the streets of Krazy Town. The time-travelling Phone Box may not have been the most original idea, but at least this telephonic time-machine was of the civilian variety, rather than a police box.

Cheeky's first time-trip occurred on the Saturday page in Cheeky Weekly dated 29 July 1978, when our toothy pal looked inside an unfamiliar phone box. On dialling 1492, in accordance with cryptic instructions on a note therein, Cheeky found himself on a whirlwind round-trip to that year, and a brief joke with Chris Columbus, before being returned to Krazy Town, 1978. This first time-jump was emphasised by being printed in red ink. All the subsequent trips across the years were printed in black ink, with occasional use of red spot colour.

Cheeky's first trip through time
Art: Frank McDiarmid
The toothy funster evidently enjoyed the experience, as he immediately hoped for another meeting with the phone box, even as it receded into a temporal vortex.

Cheeky had to wait a mere 7 days until his next excursion into the past. Saturday in the 05 August 1978 issue was the jumping-off point for a trip to meet Henry VIII. As on the first occasion, this and all subsequent trips began with Cheeky dialling the year shown on the mysterious note inside the phone box.

Cheeky's journey across the years in the 26 August 1978 comic was in the opposite direction to those depicted previously, when he jumped ahead to the year 2001 to share a brief joke with some four-armed aliens on an unspecified planet. This was the only occasion on which Cheeky was propelled into the future by the phone box. Cheeky had, of course, been given a glimpse into the year 2038 via Crystal Belle's crystal ball in the 19 August 1978 issue, but that view of the future was achieved by Belle's psychic skills rather than by time-travel.

In 1978, Tom Jackson was General Secretary of the
Union of Post Office Workers.
The Post Office was at that time responsible
for the operation of the telephone system.
Art: Frank McDiarmid
In Cheeky Weekly dated 23 September 1978, the toothy funster was transported back to 1666 for a meeting with Auntie Daisy's ancestor, who admitted to starting the Great Fire of London as a result of burning some jelly. Our toothy pal met another antecedent of one of the Cheeky's Week cast, when he made a trip to the Boer War in the 14 October 1978 comic and encountered Teacher's forebear among the flying shells.

The furthest back in time that Cheeky travelled was to 218 BC for a crash-landing in the Alps, and a meeting with Hannibal. Sadly, no evidence of an ancestor of Elephant was seen among the Carthaginian military commander's war-beasts.

Art: Frank McDiarmid
The 30 September 1978 issue was the first to include the whole of the Mystery Comic. On the Wednesday page of that edition, by way of an introduction to the Mystery Comic section, the Phone Box took Cheeky on a short trip a couple of days into the past, to the moment in which the single copy of said perplexing publication emerged from the printing press.

Cheeky Weekly 30 September 1978.
The note on the wall of the printing works is
 prophetic of the industrial action which
halted publication of Cheeky Weekly in December 1978.
Art: Frank McDiarmid
Among the characters from history that Cheeky met was, appropriately, Alexander Graham Bell (in the 02 December 1978 issue).

After appearing in 15 issues, the Phone Box disappeared into the fourth dimension, never again to appear on the streets of Krazy Town. Readers were left puzzling over the source of the mysterious notes that had prompted the toothy funster's trips through time. That other telephone-based time-traveller, a certain Doctor from the planet Gallifrey, made cameo appearances during Cheeky's Week in the 13 October and 03 November 1979 Cheeky Weeklies. Maybe he had something to do with Cheeky's journeys along the time-stream.

Character Total Issues First Appearance Final Appearance
Phone Box1529-Jul-197806-Jan-1979

Sunday 21 October 2012

The features - Friends of Cheeky Chit-Chat

Most comics of the late 1970s included a readers' letters page. Replies printed on these pages were often composed by a staff member writing in the guise of one of the characters appearing in the comic. Cheeky Weekly's letters page, Friends of Cheeky Chit-Chat, was one such, as the letters were answered as if by the toothy funster himself. Letters pages had two main functions; to give readers a feeling of rapport with the producers of the comic, and to cheaply fill some space that, had a strip appeared instead, would incur script and artwork costs.

As British ComicsMeister Dez Skinn recounts, the letters printed in the first issue of a comic were somewhat fraudulent, of necessity being written by staffers since a new comic can have no readers before its debut. However, Cheeky Weekly was rather tardy in adopting the customary letters page - the first Chit-Chat didn't appear until issue 60, dated 09 December 1978 (the final issue before publication was halted for 3 weeks due to a strike). It's therefore possible that the letters printed on that first Chit-Chat page were genuine, unsolicited contributions from readers, received since the comic began publication. However, I suspect that the first letter isn't legit, as it's a blatant plug for companion title Whizzer and Chips, nor is the letter addressed to Auntie Daisy, as it's a very obvious feed line to a joke.

The first Chit-Chat: spot the fake letters
The first Chit-Chat was a somewhat truncated affair, sharing a page with a list of the lucky winners of the Smurf competition. Space was at a premium in this shortened issue of Cheeky Weekly.

Despite being a late addition to the comic, after its debut Chit-Chat became a permanent feature in all the subsequent issues of Cheeky Weekly, clocking up 58 appearances.

Maybe a friend of Kent Clark?
As of the 24 February 1979 Chit-Chat, Cheeky would introduce the page with news of what had occurred in the Cheeky Weekly office that week. From these columns we learned that Mick was Departmental Art Editor, Paul and Tony were the art staff, David and Colin were the 'editorial lads' and Uncle Bob (presumably Bob Paynter, IPC's Group Editor) was 'the guv'nor' (although he was only mentioned twice, the final time being in the concluding issue's Chit Chat, in which Cheeky thanked the staff, and the readers for their support). The secretary was Pauline.

From issues dated 20 October 1979 to 15 December 1979, Cheeky's introductory column on the Chit Chat pages gave brief details of the staff and artists who worked on the Cheeky Weekly strips. Due to a mix-up, Cheeky's column from the 20 October 1979 comic was repeated (minus the closing sentence) in the following week's Chit Chat.

Reader Jonathan Murray's letter was  featured in 2 issues,
and resulted in a knitting pattern for Cheeky's jersey
being printed in Cheeky Weekly dated 31 March 1979

Readers whose letters were printed on the Chit-Chat pages won a £2 prize, plus a Friend of Cheeky badge, as given away with issue 3 of Cheeky Weekly. Despite the highly inflationary nature of the economy at this time, the cash prize remained unchanged throughout the comic's run.

Surprisingly few of the letters printed commented on the quality of Cheeky Weekly. The majority of the letters chosen for publication concerned the activities of readers' pets.

From the first Chit-Chat to that dated 30 June 1979, the page would feature the toothy funster's face (the 'standard Cheeky face' as featured at the top of this blog), with a speech balloon reading 'Let's hear from you!'. As of the 07 July 1979 revamp issue, the Chit-Chat page was renamed Cheeky's Chit-Chat and this and all subsequent Chit-Chats (with the exception of the 27 October 1979 issue), were printed with a red title and spot colour. From this point on, the toothy funster's grinning fizzog appeared only on the picture of the badge. 37 Chit-Chats were single-pagers or less, and 21 covered a second page, or part thereof. Tub's brand of heavyweight hilarity occupied the lower half of the second Chit-Chat page on 11 occasions.

The Chit-Chat page was often the site of the small stamp collecting ads which appear to have had a symbiotic relationship with comics for many years. I'm not sure what it was that attracted comic readers to philately, but the stamp companies soliciting comic enthusiasts to send off for their products 'on approval' must have found the funny papers a good source of business.

From the 05 January 1980 edition, as the comic wound down in preparation for the final issue, readers were no longer told on the Chit-Chat page they could win £2 and a badge by writing to Cheeky. Instead the panel which had previously solicited readers' contributions stated that the letters printed had won the cash and badge.

When Cheeky Weekly merged with Whoopee! as of 09 February 1980, Whoopee!'s letters page was retitled Whoopee Chit-Chat, but the letters were addressed to the editor rather than the toothy funster.

Chit-Chat in the Cheeky Weekly Index

Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History

Sunday 14 October 2012

Thursday 11 October 2012

Cheeky Weekly cover date 06 January 1979 - The Standby Issue

Glumly entering the newsagents in the full expectation that Cheeky Weekly will be absent from the counter for a fourth week running, Friends of Cheeky all over the country (and possibly beyond) are delighted to spy a neat little pile of their favourite title awaiting them. What a great start to 1979!

Had publication not been interrupted, this would have been the New Year issue of Cheeky Weekly. There is usually a small area at the bottom of each page reading 'CHEEKY DD.MM.YY', the date being the cover date of the issue in which the page appears.  The fact that there are no dates on the pages of this edition suggests to me that this is a 'standby' issue, compiled in order that the publishers had something ready to send to the printers at short notice, as soon as they were aware that the industrial dispute had come to an end. Since the Cheeky Weekly editor had no way of knowing how long the strike would last, he chose to omit the dates from the pages, and to make this standby issue non-specific in terms of the time of year depicted therein. For the same reason, the date sections in all the What Did YOU Do Today? Diary areas on the Cheeky's Week pages are blank.

The New Year issue was published the week after this issue appeared.

The cover makes no reference to the missed issues, instead a new strip is announced; Eagle Eye joins the Cheeky Weekly gang this week. Veteran consumers of IPC product may be less than thrilled at this announcement, as they will be aware that Eagle Eye is in fact a reprint from Shiver and Shake, 1973. In the grand tradition of Cheeky Weekly covers which promote adventure strips, the Eagle Eye art is lifted from the debut story inside. Below the announcement, Cheeky shares a joke with arthritic athlete Jogging Jeremy.

At the top of page 2 is an acknowledgement of the interruption to publishing.

Nigel Edwards does the art honours on this week's 6 Million Dollar Gran episode, deputising for regular artist Ian Knox for the 5th time since the series began. This week, Gran and the Potts children visit the pet shop with the intention of purchasing a parrot. Outraged on learning that their colourful feathered mimic of choice has an exorbitant price tag of ten pounds, Gran slams the counter and launches the bird through the door, into the street. A parrot-chase ensues, and on spotting the terrified avian cowering among the leaves of a tree, Gran unleashes a mighty blast from her synthetic lungs. This powerful puff (incorrectly labelled a Bionic Blast on the page - Gran is a robot) not only uproots and defoliates the parrot's arboreal haven, but divests the frightened bird of its feathers. Surprisingly, the plucked polly retains the power of flight. In a further plot twist, Gran inadvertently allows a felon to escape arrest, but by the end of the story not only is said miscreant delivered into the long arm of the law, but the parrot is miraculously re-feathered.

For readers like myself, who aren't fans of IPC's incessant 'cut out and keep' promotions, there's ominous news on page 11; Cheeky Weekly will be featuring the first part of a snap game next week. Readers of stablemate titles Whizzer and Chips (with Krazy) and Whoopee! will find their comics similarly blighted over the next four weeks.

Milkie is the source of Cheeky's copy of The Mystery Comic this week - it seems someone left it in a milk bottle instead of their milk order. The unfortunate customer's milk shortage is our good fortune, as we get a classic, totally bonkers Elephant On The Run tale in the centre pages of the mysterious publication.

The inaugural instalment of cover star Eagle Eye's adventure (as far as Cheeky Weekly is concerned, anyway) appears on pages 26 and 27, and ends on a cliff-hanger as young Tommy Trotter (he with the vision of the bird of prey) stumbles upon a bullion robbery.

The issue rounds off with a treat for all Elephant fans, as the peripatetic pachyderm is the subject of this week's Pin-Up Pal poster on the back page.

We say farewell to one of the more obscure inhabitants of Krazy Town this issue - this is the final appearance of the time-travelling phone box.

Frank McDiarmid pencils contribute 9 Cheeky's Week elements to this issue, with pure Frank McDiarmid art on The Burpo Special only.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 06-Jan-1979, Issue 61 of 117
1Cover Feature 'Eagle Eye' 1 of 2 \Cheeky's Week - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils (final art on feature)
2Sunday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
36 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
46 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
56 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
6Monday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
7Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
8What's New, Kids
9Tuesday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
10Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
11Ad: IPC 'Collecting promo' 1 of 2
12Wednesday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
13Tub 'Mystery Comic' 12 of 34 - Art Nigel Edwards
14Why, Dad, Why? 'Mystery Comic' 9 of 28 - Art John K. Geering
15Mystery Boy reprint from Whizzer and Chips 'Mystery Comic' 12 of 37 - Art John Richardson
16Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 12 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
17Elephant On The Run 'Mystery Comic' 12 of 34 - Art Robert Nixon
18Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 12 of 34 - Art Joe McCaffrey
19Mustapha Million 'Mystery Comic' 12 of 34 - Art Joe McCaffrey
20Disaster Des 'Mystery Comic' 11 of 30 - Art Mike Lacey
21Thursday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
22Skateboard Squad - Art Jimmy Hansen
23Chutes Away competition winners (single appearance)
24Joke-Box Jury
25Friday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
26Eagle Eye (first appearance) reprint from Shiver and Shake
27Eagle Eye (first appearance) reprint from Shiver and Shake
29The Burpo Special 'Yikky-Boo' - Art Frank McDiarmid
30Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
31Saturday - Art Frank McDiarmid pencils
32Pin-up pal 'The Elephant' - Art Robert Nixon (single art on feature)

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 06-Jan-1979
Artist Elements
Frank McDiarmid pencils9
Frank McDiarmid1

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Ed McHenry's Cheeky Panto

From the pen of Ed McHenry comes this Christmas quiz which appeared in the 26 December 1981 issue of Whoopee! Almost 2 years after its absorption of Cheeky Weekly, Whoopee! was still featuring a considerable number of strips which originated in the toothy funster's comic. Thus, along with Cheeky himself and a number of Whoopee! stalwarts, Ed draws Louise, Paddywack, Charlie and Calculator, Teacher and kids from Stage School, Mr Smith (Cheeky's teacher), Jogging Jeremy, Baby Burpo, Gloomy Glad, Mustapha Million, 6 Million Dollar Gran and Auntie Daisy. Oh, and not forgetting the toothy funster's slithering sidekick, Snail.

If my maths and comic character identification skills are fully functioning, the scene features 17 characters who originated in Whoopee! or earlier merged titles not including Cheeky Weekly (don't forget to count Chip as well as Mike), and 19 who came from strips in Cheeky Weekly (don't forget to include Calculator). I think the cat and two characters representing Ali Baba's 40 thieves are just generic cartoon creations.