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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Monday 30 March 2015

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date 14 July 1979

Art: Mike Lacey
It's GREAT, it's FUN, it's Cheeky Weekly issue 88, one week after the introduction of the new look (which will be completed this issue as we shall see later). The comic commences with a front-page reminder that, despite the revamp, reader participation features Paddywack, Joke-Box Jury and Chit-Chat continue to offer £2 prizes to successful contributors. Also on the cover is a Mike Lacey depiction of Cheeky suffering a typically traumatic encounter with Yikky-Boo, in an image sourced from the Thursday page of Cheeky Weekly dated 24 February 1979.

On Sunday Cheeky introduces a new member of the supporting cast – it's Welsh wag Taff the Laff.

Art: Mike Lacey

On page 3, Calculator Kid is beset by that dilemma which regularly troubles comic characters – the supposedly inaccessible sporting event. Trust Charlie's silicon-chipped sidekick to devise a method of entry.

Art: Terry Bave

Nigel Edwards deputises for Ian Knox on this week's 6 Million Dollar Gran episode, in which the synthetic senior citizen foils an attempt to divert an aeroplane, by landing a punch on the hi-jacker through the fuselage while the 'plane is in flight. Rather a risky strategy for all concerned but it pays off.

Art: Nigel Edwards

On Tuesday Yikky-Boo is, due to a culinary misadventure, somewhat less ebullient than during his front page appearance. There then follows some hypnotic humour involving new Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The Conservatives had won the recent general election on 03 May 1979, taking control of the country from Labour, led by Prime Minister James Callaghan (hence Cheeky's concluding joke, which wouldn't work so well as a spoken gag since the ousted PM's name was pronounced 'Callahan').

Art: Mike again

The centre pages are taken up by a colour road safety ad in the form of a comic strip entitled Football Crazy and starring the Green Cross man.

This week's Star Guest is Lolly Pop (with of course his exasperated offspring, Archie), giving his home comic of the time, Whoopee, a plug. This story, drawn by Barry Glennard, is Pop's second Star Guest visit to Cheeky Weekly – Pop kicked off the Star Guest run back in the special 31 March 1979 issue of the toothy funster's comic, illustrated on that occasion by the strip's then regular artist - Sid Burgon.

On this week's Chit-Chat page, Cheeky's message gives us some insight into the tribulations of producing a comic, and then the toothy funster has to apologise to reader Julie Mock for omitting her name from the list of Smurf Competition winners back in the 24 March 1979 comic.

Nosy Nora makes her final Cheeky Weekly appearance (in a non-speaking role), as one of Cheeky's classmates in the second panel of the Friday page. Nora's relevance to Cheeky's Week no longer exists as her role related to the Mystery Comic concept which was dropped as of last week.

Mike again

On Saturday Cheeky is sent to do the shopping, and is given an even more onerous task in the final panel where, thanks to some deft copy-and-paste work, he informs readers of impending strain on their pocket money.

Mike, with a Frank McDiarmid Cheeky
pasted into the final panel

The comic rounds off with a new strip elevating Cheeky's mollusc mate to become the star of his own feature.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

The two new strips which commenced last week (The Gang and Stage School) are joined by Snail of the Century to complete the 'new look'. It would seem Snail's debut in his own feature was delayed by 7 days due to the presence of a colour advertisement on last week's back page.

Mike Lacey delivers 8 Cheeky's Week elements in this issue, a figure which includes Mike's reprinted cover art as one element (but the 2-page Saturday is also counted as a single element, so it kind of compensates), with Frank McDiarmid supplying the artwork for Snail of the Century, a new addition to the Cheeky's Week roster as of this edition. However, Frank's contribution of a Cheeky in the final panel of Saturday is not included in the count.

Cheeky Weekly Cover Date: 14-Jul-1979, Issue 88 of 117
1Cover Feature 'It pays to read Cheeky Weekly' 'Yikky-Boo' 1 of 2 - Art Mike Lacey
2Sunday - Art Mike Lacey
3Calculator Kid - Art Terry Bave
4Ad: Weetabix
5What's New, Kids
66 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
76 Million Dollar Gran - Art Nigel Edwards
8Monday - Art Mike Lacey
9Joke-Box Jury
10The Gang reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Robert MacGillivray
11The Gang reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art Robert MacGillivray
12Tuesday - Art Mike Lacey
13Disaster Des - Art Mike Lacey
14Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey
15Mustapha Million - Art Joe McCaffrey
16Ad: Department of Transport 'Green Cross Code - Football Crazy' 1 of 2
17Ad: Department of Transport 'Green Cross Code - Football Crazy' 1 of 2
18Wednesday - Art Mike Lacey
19Mystery Boy reprint from Whizzer and Chips - Art John Richardson
20Paddywack - Art Jack Clayton
21Star Guest 'Lolly Pop' 2 of 2 - Art Barry Glennard
22Thursday - Art Mike Lacey
23Ad: IPC 'Whoopee Summer Special' 1 of 2 Ad: 'Jackpot Summer Special' 1 of 2
25Friday - Art Mike Lacey
26Why, Dad, Why? - Art John K. Geering
27Tub - Art Nigel Edwards\Ad: IPC 'Do you have trouble getting copies of Cheeky Weekly' 3 of 5
28Stage School - Art Robert Nixon
29Stage School - Art Robert Nixon
30Saturday - Art Mike Lacey
31Saturday - Art Mike Lacey
32Snail of the Century (first appearance) - Art Frank McDiarmid (first art on feature)

Cheeky's Week Artists Cover Date 14-Jul-1979
Artist Elements
Mike Lacey8
Frank McDiarmid1

Sunday 22 March 2015

Cheeky's Snappy Raid

The issue of Whizzer and Chips in which Store Wars made its debut (dated 05 September 1981 and referenced in an earlier post) also contained a 'raid' carried out by Cheeky. The toothy funster had been appearing in Whizzer and Chips as a member of The Krazy Gang since Krazy comic folded in April 1978, and the 05 September 1981 issue of course predates the post-Whoopee-merge period which I'm documenting in the Whizzer and Chips - the Cheeky Raids series. However, since I had the comic to hand and we can never have too much of a Cheeky thing, I thought I'd record in this post the occasion on which our grinning pal ventured into enemy Whizzer territory and brought back a trophy...

Whizzer and Chips 05 September 1981

Unlike the raids I'm covering in the series of posts mentioned above, this raid was perpetrated and announced within the same issue. Here's the Champ story from that same edition...

Whizzer and Chips 05 September 1981
Art:Paul Ailey

In the same issue Cheeky, along with the rest of The Krazy Gang, was involved in fruit-picking fun.

Whizzer and Chips 05 September 1981
Art: Bob Hill

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Frankly, It's Kid

One of the many pleasures of being a comic enthusiast is the unexpected 'ghostings' one occasionally encounters - it's always fascinating to see how one mighty wielder of the pen will depict characters who have a strong connection to another luminary of the visual arts. Over at the ever-excellent Kazoop blog Irmantas has posted some superb colour work by Frank McDiarmid on Kid Kong. Do yourself a favour and head on over to experience this rare treat.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Doug Jensen, not Doug Goodwin

Store Wars, a rollicking tale of retail rivalry, made its debut in Whizzer and Chips dated 05 September 1981. Rather unusually for a humour strip at that time, the feature's initial instalment ran to 3 pages (and the fourth panel contains an image of utter despondency, the like of which I've never seen in a kids' humour strip).

Whizzer and Chips 05 September 1981

For many years I was unable to put a name to the artist who first drew the strip (artwork duties on Store Wars were eventually passed to Jim Watson and then apparently Jimmy Hansen although I don't recall that myself). In latter years I came to associate this artist's work with the name Doug Goodwin. I wasn't the only one to make that connection, as evidenced by the Wikipedia entry for Store Wars.

However, I was recently perusing Whizzer and Chips dated 27 September 1986, and spotted the first letter on the Sid's Whizz-kids page...

Whizzer and Chips 27 September 1986

Vigilant reader Robert Ravenscroft had noted a change in the artwork style on Store Wars, because as of the 02 August 1986 'new look' issue, reprints drawn by the original artist had replaced episodes drawn by Jim Watson. Just for comparison, here's the Store Wars story from the issue of Whizzer and Chips in which the letter above appeared...

Whizzer and Chips 27 September 1986

I think we can all agree that this artist is the same person who drew the first episode above.

I must have read the letter and reply when I bought the comic in 1986, but unfortunately over the years the artist's name evidently exited my brain via a gap in a bunch of neurons.

Now, you may be thinking that we're veering somewhat from Cheeky-related matters here, but this does in fact impact on the Cheeky canon, as the artist I now know to be Doug Jensen drew a nine-page Stage School tale in the Cheeky Annual cover-dated 1985. Here's the first instalment...

Art: Doug Jensen

Sadly, a quick online search doesn't turn up any info regarding Doug Jensen, comic artist, although there is an animator of that name who was credited with work during the 1970s. If anyone has more details please get in touch.

Thursday 5 March 2015

The Features – Stage School

First episode, Cheeky Weekly 07 July 1979
Art: Robert Nixon

Making its debut in Cheeky Weekly number 87 (the 'New Look' issue), Stage School brought a new twist to that staple of British comics, the eternal battle between schoolkids and their teacher. The spin in this case was that the pupils all aspired to careers in show-business and would thus rather be spending time in the Stage School located across the playground from the 'real class' in which most of the stories took place. Real lessons were taught by a typically bad-tempered teacher wearing the traditional robe and mortarboard, who detested all matters relating to entertainment. The kids' showbiz teacher appeared only occasionally but, in contrast to the real teacher, was a cheery sort who sported a cravat, an item of neckwear which was a late 1970s shortcut to denote 'arty' types – see also Are You Being Served?, The Dick Emery Show, The Two Ronnies etc.

Each of the kids focused on a particular branch of showbusiness. The class included, among others, a mini-magician, a ballerina, Jo-Jo the trainee clown, Merla the mindreader and a junior ventriloquist. The kids employed their own peculiar talents and skills to disrupt the progress of lessons in real class. Perhaps the most memorable student was incompetent escapologist Houdanny (cf Erich Weisz aka Harry Houdini), who spent most strips failing to emerge from a sack wrapped in chains and padlocks.

A panel in the strip dated 19 January 1980, in which Sir drives the kids out of town then dumps them, leaving them to make their own way back to school (his idea of an initiative test), shows our heroes travelling back on a bus going to Kensal Rise, an area of north London, suggesting that the educational establishment is situated somewhere in that area. The Kensal Green/Rise area is now, rather appropriately, home to a number of celebrities but in the late 1970s was considerably less salubrious than of late.

Stage School was absent from just 5 of the issues published after its commencement, notching up appearances in 26 issues, including the final edition of the toothy funster's comic dated 02 February 1980. All but 3 episodes were drawn by Robert Nixon, with Barry Glennard deputising in Mr Nixon's absence. 22 stories were 2-pagers, the remainder concluding within a single page. A single SS strip was in colour, the rest being in black and white.

Robert Nixon

The feature's original title panel depicted a stage with spotlight shining on Teacher as he retracted the sleeve of his cane-wielding arm, the more easily to apply a thrashing to a perspiring pupil's posterior. This somewhat discomfiting tableau was replaced as of the 24 November 1979 issue by a panel simply displaying the strip's title surrounded by stars. This revised intro frame design (with its customary snow-bedecked variant in the Christmas 1979 issue) continued to appear until the end of the Cheeky Weekly run.

Was Houdanny yet another Cheeky Weekly
Inconsistent Hair Colour Syndrome sufferer?
Or was he just experimenting with hair dye as part
of his showbiz course?

The showbiz shenanigans extended to the Cheeky Weekly Holiday Special 1980 and the 1981 Summer Special, each of which contained a single, 2-page Stage School story drawn by Barry Glennard. Teacher and his theatrically-inclined students also appeared in the Cheeky Annuals cover-dated 1981 (1 story, drawn by Barry Glennard), 1982 (1 story, Robert Nixon), 1983 (1 story, Jim Watson), 1984 (1 story, Barry Glennard) and 1985 (three 3-page instalments of a story drawn by Doug Jensen). In the same Annual we also witness Cheeky reading a Stage School tale, which sets our toothy pal cogitating on a possible career for himself in the footlights.

Our mini showbiz chums' tyrannical teacher (never named in the stories) was among the characters who met their future Whoopee colleagues as the merge with that title was announced in the final issue of the toothy funster's comic.

Art: Robert Nixon

The strip then became a permanent fixture in Whoopee until that title was itself cancelled and merged into Whizzer and Chips as of April 1985. This commendable 5-year run in Whoopee had seen the characters referred to in Cheeky Weekly as Olga and Shakespearian Sam rechristened Margot and Hammy respectively. The character who would be known as Marvo in Whoopee was referred to as Tony in Cheeky Weekly dated 13 October 1979., while Merla the Mind-Reader became Gypsy Rosie in Whoopee. Strongo and Jo-Jo the clown both underwent character redesigns following their move to Whoopee.

The school's headmaster, who appeared only once in Cheeky Weekly, became a semi-regular character during the strip's Whoopee run.

Stage School was among the 3 strips that had originated in Cheeky Weekly which made the transition into Whizzer and Chips when Whoopee folded. However, the feature's survival was as fleeting as many a showbiz career since it made just a single Whizzer and Chips appearance in the 20 April 1985 issue. UPDATE 11 August 2016 - Many thanks to Stephen Archer for pointing out that Stage School made a second Whizzer and Chips appearance in the issue date 13 July 1985.

A nice fun feature benefiting from Robert Nixon's lively artwork, Stage School was among Cheeky Weekly's highlights and its extended Whoopee run made it the second longest surviving strip to have emerged from the Cheeky stable.

Over the years I'd come to assume that this strip was inspired by the movie Fame, but it seems the film premiered some months after the strip made its debut.

Stage School in the Cheeky Weekly Index

Stage School - The Whoopee Years 

Feature First Appearance Final Appearance Total Issues Total Issues Missed In Run Page History
Stage School07-Jul-7902-Feb-802654,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,14,15,16,17,19,20,21,24,25,28,29

Issues Missed In Run