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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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Features Ordered by Date of Commencement

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Tuesday 7 July 2015

The Framing Devices - A History

The conversation in IPC's offices in 1977 may have proceeded something like this...

Ok, so we've decided that we're going to launch a comic based around the Cheeky character from Krazy. The purpose of this meeting is to decide on the new comic's title and discuss the contents. Anyone got ideas for the title?”

Cheeky's Comic?”

Nah, any more?”

Cheeky Chuckles?”

Hmm, not really.”

Toothy Fun?”

Get out.”

Er, how about Cheeky Weekly? The comic is published every week, see, and it almost rhymes and it's quite catchy...”

Cheeky Weekly?..Cheeky Weekly! Yeah, I like it! We'll use it. So has anyone got any ideas for the contents? Obviously we need to feature Cheeky prominently...”

Why don't we have Cheeky on the front and back page, with a mix of humour and adventure strips inside?”

I want more Cheeky content that that.”

Hey, I've got an idea...the comic's name, Cheeky Weekly, could have another meaning...each issue we follow Cheeky throughout the week, with a page for Sunday, Monday etc.”

Aah, yes! I like it...”

Yeah, and all the other strips are related to Cheeky's life in some way. So one strip he could watch as a TV show, another he reads in a book and so on. I don't think that's ever been done before.”

Excellent, sounds like a winner to me. Someone get Frank McDiarmid on the phone...”

Whether the title came first or not, having all the features linked to Cheeky's week was a unique (as far as I'm aware) property of Cheeky Weekly. No doubt the idea of linking all the strips meant that more careful planning had to be carried out for each issue of Cheeky Weekly than for the typical humour/adventure title of the time, as the editor had to ensure that each framing device was correctly located in relation to its companion strip. I'm sure the extra trouble taken was appreciated by Cheeky fans.

As I've mentioned in recent posts, the 'linked strips' idea was finally dropped when Cheeky Weekly underwent its third major revamp in the 07 July 1979 issue, but the framing devices had in fact been falling away for some time. In this post I'm going to chart the history of each of the framing devices, examining them in the order in which they came to an end.

Please be aware that, to make the text less cumbersome, I'm using the term 'framing device' plus the words 'link', 'introduction' and 'connection' interchangeably.

The first lost framing device was that which depicted Cheeky enjoying a surreptitious Sunday bedtime read of his book, 'Fangs of Fear', which related the chilling exploits of ghost-hunter James Bold. Every week some event would occur to bring the toothy funster's nocturnal perusing to an untimely conclusion, always at a cliff-hanging moment in the narrative. Cheeky's final bedtime browse occurred in the 31 December 1977 issue. However, that wasn't the last encounter with James Bold that Cheeky Weekly readers enjoyed – it was just the framing device which changed.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

The second page of that week's chapter of
James Bold - Fangs of Fear
Art: Massimo Belardinelli

The second lost link was that which connected a strip that wasn't named in the comic, so for ease of reference I have dubbed the feature in question Doug's Doodle. Cheeky's Pal Doodle Doug would threaten to reveal that the toothy funster had been dipping into his dad's comic collection (which was the subject of another link as we will see), forcing our grinning pal to publish Doug's latest gag strip.

This framing device surrounding Doug's artistic endeavours lasted 10 issues, making its final appearance in the 14 January 1978 comic.
Cheeky had another creative pal, Oscar, whose efforts as a film director were seen in the Home Movie series, drawn by Jack Clayton. In the early days of the toothy funster's title, Oscar would invite Cheeky to view his latest celluloid masterpiece, which readers would witness on the following page. The final Home Movie appeared in the issue dated 10 June 1978, although Oscar made his final appearance in the issue dated 17 June 1978, but on that occasion Cheeky declined the junior director's invitation, so no Home Movie strip was seen in that issue.

Art - Cheeky: Frank McDiarmid Pencils
Doug's Doodle: Artie Jackson

As mentioned earlier, the James Bold strips proved as indefatigable as the man himself, and returned to Cheeky Weekly for a new adventure entitled 'The Ghost Highwayman' in the 07 January 1978 edition. In order to enjoy this particular Bold tale, the toothy funster visited the newsagents every week, intent on a free read of the latest novel. However, just as the story reached a peak of excitement, Newsagent would spot the clandestine page-surfer and eject him from the premises in a concluding framing device, Suddenly.

Art: Frank McDiarmid

Art: Frank again

The newsagent-based link (and its Suddenly companion) was employed to allow Cheeky to enjoy a free read of a further two Bold stories; Tower of Terror and The Frightened Village. The newsagent/Suddenly links came to an end in Cheeky Weekly dated 24 June 1978. As readers might have expected, this wasn't the last they would see of the indomitable Bold. Nor would it be the last time that a book would be used as a framing device.

The feature which I refer to as Old Comic ran in 37 issues of Cheeky Weekly. The associated framing device saw Cheeky each week selecting a page from a comic collection in the attic. The collection was owned by Cheeky's dad, who professed to hate comics, although it was clear he enjoyed his son's funny papers. Old Comic, and consequently its framing device, came to an end in the 26 August 1978 edition.

Art: The mighty Mr M

Art on Casey Court: sorry, don't know

The 26 August 1978 edition of Cheeky Weekly was a particularly fateful one as far as framing devices were concerned as, in addition to the Old Comic framing device documented above, a further two links were brought to an end in that same issue, namely that which introduced Creepy Sleepy Tale and its closing companion which I refer to as Wednesday (conclusion).

Creepy Sleepy Tale was a bedtime story that Cheeky told Baby Burpo, and was introduced by a series of panels showing the toothy funster arriving at the Burpo residence for babysitting duty and suffering some indignity at the hands of his infant charge. Our vengeful toothy pal would read Burpo a frightening fable from his book of nocturnal narratives with the intention of giving the belligerent babe a salutary and nappy-filling experience, but it was Cheeky himself who, in Wednesday (conclusion), was depicted departing for home in terror. Creepy Sleepy Tale, and thus its framing links, came to an end in the 26 August 1978 edition.

Art: Mike Lacey

Art: Keith Reynolds?

Art on Wednesday (conclusion): Barrie Appleby

A short-lived framing device relating to Wednesday did replace that associated with Creepy Sleepy Tale - in the three issues which followed the final Tale, the final Wednesday panel saw Cheeky assisting Burpo in the assembly of the Crack-A-Joke Game which replaced Creepy Sleepy Tale on the centre pages of the issues in question.

One month after CST finished another long-running framing device came to an end – the one which linked Mustapha Million to Cheeky's Week via our grinning pal's regular search for a copy of the mysterious comic in which Mustapha appeared. In Cheeky Weekly's first issue we witnessed the toothy funster arranging what appeared to be a classroom outing to the dentist. It only became apparent in the final panel of that first Friday page that the dentist's waiting room was the location in which the much-sought-after comic containing Mustapha Million's 2-page story was to be found. Cheeky Weekly readers were able to enjoy the Mustapha story that Cheeky read since it followed Cheeky's Friday page. Subsequent Mustapha strips were similarly located and introduced by Cheeky. The first 5 Mustapha tales saw Cheeky finding the comic in waiting rooms of various kinds (barber, chiropodist etc), but the sixth may have indicated that the scriptwriter was running out of suitable locations, as that week the mysterious publication was to be found in a gents' toilet.

Thereafter, Cheeky was was usually provided with a copy of the perplexing publication by one or other of his pals, but no matter who handed the toothy funster his copy of the Mystery Comic, Mustapha's strip was the only one he referred to and was the only one that Cheeky Weekly readers saw.

The first 36 Mustapha episodes were placed after the Friday page, but our moneyed mate was then relocated to follow the Thursday page for 13 weeks. The direct link between Cheeky and Mustapha ended on that 13th week (the comic dated 23 September 1978) as in the next issue the whole of the Mystery Comic moved in to the centre pages of Cheeky Weekly and a new link – that between Cheeky and the Mystery Comic – was established.

Art: Jim Watson

Mention should be made of Cheeky's pal Nosy Nora, who for a time played a significant role in the Cheeky/Mustapha link.

The next connections to be lost encapsulated the strips representing the main and supporting features screened during Cheeky's weekly visit to the Saturday morning picture show. This was the most complex sequence of links and consisted of...

  • A scene showing Cheeky and pals arriving at the cinema and the inevitable confrontation with the Commissionaire.
  • A strip representing the supporting feature (a cartoon in all but one case, that exception being the Hey Presto Magic Show which celebrated Cheeky Weekly's first birthday).
  • A page showing the in-cinema happenings during the interval (featuring Ursula).
  • An adventure strip representing the main feature.
  • A scene showing Cheeky and pals emerging from the cinema.

Strips to fill the supporting feature slot were (in order of the date on which they bowed out of the comic)...

Feature Start Issues End Source (if known
 to be reprint)
Wile E Coyote22-Oct-1977507-Jan-1978
Henery Hawk26-Nov-1977304-Feb-1978
Cocky Doodle29-Oct-1977504-Mar-1978Buster
Daffy Duck24-Dec-1977411-Mar-1978
Road Runner18-Feb-1978903-Jun-1978
Bam Splat and Blooie29-Oct-1977917-Jun-1978Buster
Hickory Dickory Doc16-Sep-1978116-Sep-1978Cor!!
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf24-Jun-1978230-Sep-1978Cor!!
Hey Presto Magic Show21-Oct-1978121-Oct-1978
Tweety and Sylvester21-Jan-19782802-Dec-1978

It's possible that the Warner Brothers cartoon strips were reprints, but if they were I don't know where from.

...and here are the strips that were presented as adventure serials...

Feature Start Issues End Source (if known
 to be reprint)
Space Family Robinson22-Oct-19773624-Jun-1978
James Bold in Island of Fear01-Jul-1978605-Aug-1978
Archie's Angels12-Aug-1978616-Sep-1978Whizzer and Chips
Sonny Storm23-Sep-1978123-Sep-1978Cor!!
The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure07-Oct-1978902-Dec-1978Shiver and Shake

The final Saturday morning picture show to be featured in Cheeky Weekly occurred in the 02 December 1978 issue. The following week our toothy pal announced, "Some of you readers have been wondering what I do on Saturday afternoons, after I've been to the cinema. Today, I'm going to watch our local football team". The Saturday feature in that and all subsequent issues concentrated on the toothy funster's post meridiem pursuits.

Here's a complete Saturday morning pictures sequence. The elements featuring Cheeky are drawn by Frank McDiarmid. I don't know who drew Tweety and Sylvester. I believe James Bold in Island of Fear is by Mike White.

The Cheeky Weekly editor evidently felt that, despite the loss of the cinema visits, the comic still required an element of adventure. Thus junior sleuth Eagle Eye was, like the final 'film serial' The Terrible Trail to Taggart's Treasure, resurrected from Shiver and Shake and commenced his reprinted adventures in Cheeky Weekly dated 06 January 1979. The framing device for this feature occurred on the Friday page where readers saw Cheeky in the classroom. In the introduction to the first episode of the new adventure strip, Cheeky said “I'll sneak a quick read of my new book, Eagle Eye”. However on Friday in the next issue, our grinning pal intercepted Do-Good Dora on her paper round and, offering to finish her deliveries, told readers “This was the only way I could think of to get my hands on Teachers' Weekly – they've started serialising the great Eagle Eye novel that Teacher confiscated from me”. All subsequent Eagle Eye episodes were introduced by Cheeky undertaking some classroom connivance to get hold of Teacher's magazine, until Eagle Eye came to an end in the 24 February 1979 comic.

Art: Mike Lacey

A decision to end all the remaining framing devices appears to have been implemented in subsequent weeks.

The first of these surviving links to come to an end was the long-running connection between Cheeky's pages and Skateboard Squad. The link between Cheeky's universe and the terrific trio's first incarnation was the most-developed of all the framed strips, as not only did Skateboard Squad appear alongside Cheeky when he introduced their story each week (although sometimes the Squad was obscured by the clouds of dust raised as they raced through the panel to their next adventure), but the toothy funster and a number of his pals made reciprocal visits to the Squad's pages.

Art: Frank

The history of Skateboard Squad's introductory panels wasn't entirely smooth and it seems that an initial decision to discontinue the link was later overturned. The introductions were originally dropped a week after the 30 September 1978 revamp which saw the introduction of the Mystery Comic section. This necessitated a revision to the comic's layout which resulted in the Skateboard Squad being shunted from the page following Sunday to the page after Tuesday. The introductions were absent from 9 consecutive issues, but were reinstated (due to reader demand?) with the exception of one week in which Skateboard Squad was preceded by Paddywack, for the remainder of the Skateboard Squad' s run, which ended in the 12 May 1979 edition. However, this is not quite the end of the framing devices associated with Skipper, Skatie and Wipe-out, as the team returned in their new guise of Speed Squad in Cheeky Weekly dated 26 May 1979, introduced once again by our toothy pal. These links continued up to and including the 23 June 1979 edition. The following week the Squad were absent from the comic and in the 07 July 1979 issue the title underwent its 3rd revamp. From this point the introductions were dropped and Speed Squad continued as a stand-alone strip. The Squad did appear in the final panel of the Thursday page in the comic dated 22 December 1979, but this wasn't an introduction to their strip, as it didn't commence until 8 pages later. The following week the Squad appeared on Sunday, but their strip didn't actually feature in that issue. The 2 aforementioned Squad appearances were originally drawn for comics intended to be published a year earlier, a time when the links were still being featured.

Art: Mr M

The original conceit surrounding the Paddywack feature (which commenced in the comic dated 08 July 1978), was that the titular character's adventures were drawn by Cheeky's pal Doodle Doug, who would each week be seen handing the toothy funster his latest crop of gags. This interaction would serve as the introduction to Paddywack who would follow on the next page. These introductions came to an end in the 30 June 1979 edition as the comic prepared for its 'new look' which would debut a week later.

The second link to be extinguished in that same issue was that between Cheeky's universe and the collection of strips which were contained in the pages of the Mystery Comic. From Cheeky Weekly's aforementioned revamp edition dated 30 September 1978 , the centre pages of the toothy funster's title contained a mock publication whose front cover bore the legend Mystery Comic. Readers were asked to believe that this new central section represented the whole of the comic that they had previously witnessed Cheeky searching for in order to read Mustapha Million. Mustapha took up residence in this construct along with a selection of new strips. Cheeky's weekly search for the Mystery Comic now moved to Wednesday (which was situated such that it allowed enough space to accommodate the perplexing publication in the centre pages before the Cheeky features resumed with Thursday).

However, in keeping with the (seeming) new policy of discarding all links, the 30 June 1979 issue of Cheeky was the last to feature the Mystery Comic as a grouping of strips behind a mock front cover. All the features which had previously been contained within the Mystery Comic continued, but in subsequent issues they were dispersed throughout Cheeky Weekly and no Mystery Comic title page was seen, nor were the erstwhile Mystery Comic features referred to in the Cheeky's Week strips.

Art: Mike Lacey

The 30 June 1979 edition was indeed a fateful one for the framing devices, as a further 2 links were also brought to an end;

Charlie Counter, aka Calculator Kid, made his first Cheeky Weekly appearance (along with his battery-powered buddy, Calculator) in the edition dated 01 July 1978, wherein his adventure was introduced by Cheeky in the final panel of that week's Friday page. Thus commenced a run whereby all Calculator Kid stories (with one exception) were introduced by the toothy funster. These introductions continued not only when Calculator Kid got shunted forward to appear after Cheeky's Thursday page, but also after a further move to follow Monday. Charlie and Calc appeared with Cheeky in the majority of these intros. However the 30 June 1979 issue was the last to include such preliminaries, concluding what had amounted to 46 introduced-by-Cheeky episodes.

Art: Frank again, doing a nice rendition of Charlie & Calc

The longest-surviving link was that between Cheeky's universe and a certain on-screen synthetic senior citizen. In the first issue of Cheeky Weekly our grinning pal was seen heading home at the end of the Sunday evening page, eager to catch the first episode of what was to become his favourite TV show, 6 Million Dollar Gran. These Cheeky-rushing-home-to-catch-his-fave-TV-show introductory sequences to the Gran episodes became a fixture of Cheeky's week, and the intros continued even after the Sunday evening page was dropped and Gran was relocated to the page after Sunday (Cheeky explained Gran's programme had been moved to a mid-day slot) and also when Gran shifted again to the page following Monday. For the majority of the strip's run, each Gran episode ended with a panel showing Cheeky in front of the TV as the end credits rolled. Although 6 Million Dollar Gran continued to display a TV screen in her title panel until December 1979, the final Cheeky-rushing-to-see-TV framing device occurred in the 30 June 1979 comic, bringing to an end a run of intros that spanned 86 issues.

However, possibly due to an oversight on someone's part, this wasn't quite the end of the framing devices, as the final Gran strip to conclude with the Cheeky-watching-closing-credits final panel appeared in the 14 July 1979 comic.

Here's a 6 Million Dollar Gran sequence which commences with Cheeky failing to secure a place in front of the TV, but help appears from an unlikely quarter. Note how the caption above the Gran title panel reflects the events on the preceding page...

Art: Frank McDiarmid

Art: Ian Knox

I'm sure Cheeky Weekly readers appreciated the effort that the production staff and artists put in to these framing devices. While the quality of the actual strips remained unchanged, a link-less Cheeky Weekly just didn't have the same charm. Maybe by June 1979 the editorial team had decided that Cheeky Weekly was a hopeless case heading towards merger and felt it wasn't worth putting unnecessary effort into the title any more, so the opportunity was taken to end the links under cover of Cheeky Weekly's 07 July 1979 'new look' issue. In subsequent weeks it became clear to loyal readers that the comic's glory days were gone as their favourite title became burdened with even more reprints and rehashes.

N.B. While Snail of the Century, the comic's final original feature, which commenced on 14 July 1979, was a strip set in Cheeky's universe (it always featured the toothy funster and took place in his garden) it didn't have an introduction within Cheeky's Week and thus was an entirely stand-alone feature which doesn't qualify as a framed strip.


  1. I can see why you think the Creepy Sleepy Tale is by Keith Reynolds, but I’d be reasonably sure it’s by Mike Brown :)

    1. You may well be right. It was the lack of signature that led me to think it wasn't by Mike - he signed the first few CSTs.

  2. I love the framing device...so clever and unique..makes the comic very special...also liked it showing the days of the week..
    I agree not the same when it ended..