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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Saturday, 4 July 2020

The Whoopee Years - Cheeky Weekly Characters in the Popularity Polls - part 3

The previous post in this series concluded with the Top Ten results printed in the issue dated 20 February 1982...

The next results appeared in the 07 August 1982 edition. Top Ten voting coupons had by then been printed in the 29 May, 26 June and 31 July comics (clearly the votes sent in response to the latter coupon would have been received too late to be included in the 07 August results). Small voting coupons also appeared on most Whoopee Chit-Chat letters pages - readers were asked to complete and return the coupon when responding to the participation features.

To understand what features were appearing in the comic between the previous results and those of 07 August 1982, let's first examine those that had ended between the two dates, which could be seen as the features being culled for failing to garner sufficient votes in the intervening period...

06-FEB-82 27-FEB-82 Go to the Pictures - Free
20-FEB-82 06-MAR-82 Enter For Frankie's Monster Awards
28-MAR-81 27-MAR-82 Mother's Day Messages
28-NOV-81 03-APR-82 The Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk
08-NOV-80 24-APR-82 Blinketty Blink
13-MAR-82 24-APR-82 Fun-Fear
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Smiler's Smile-In
10-JAN-81 24-APR-82 The Cavers
09-FEB-80 24-APR-82 Whoopee Chit-Chat
03-OCT-81 24-APR-82 Willie Bunk
30-JAN-82 15-MAY-82 It's Cheeky (second run)
01-MAY-82 22-MAY-82 Crazy Graffiti book
24-JUL-82 31-JUL-82 Bullseye Game instructions
24-JUL-82 07-AUG-82 Bullseye Game

A significant loss for me in this period is the antedeluvian antics of The Cavers, but clearly my enjoyment of the strip wasn't shared by enough readers to prevent it from being curtailed. Willie had done a bunk, both in his Willie Bunk (new strips) and The Spectacular Adventures of Willie Bunk (occasional reprint) guises. Fun-Fear was also a reprint, returning in March 1982 as an occasional filler pending the comic's revamp in May. You'll notice that 6 features, including participation pages Whoopee Chit-Chat and Smiler's Smile-In, came to an end in the 24 April 1982 issue. This was because the following edition announced itself as having a 'new look', sported a new, two-coloured title design and included '3 fantastic new stories', which appear on the table of features starting between the poll results...But before we look at that, I'll mention that the toothy funster's turbulent post-Whoopee-merge career underwent yet another refashioning as It's Cheeky (a second run for him with that title), ended 2 weeks after the comic's new look was introduced.

This is the promised list of features starting between the poll results...

27-MAR-82 25-JUN-83 Little Ed
01-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Beaky
01-MAY-82 25-SEP-82 Frankie's Monster Awards
01-MAY-82 25-SEP-82 Jimmy Fixit
01-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Kids of Class Five
01-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Smile-In
01-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Whoopee Winners
22-MAY-82 25-JUN-83 Cheeky (second run)

David Mostyn's Little Ed was actually introduced just over a month ahead of the May '82 revamp, and was a lively, fun strip, with the titular character (Ed being short for Editor) devising different genres of story each week and instructing the artist (whose hand and pen were seen in the strip) on how the narrative should progress. Maybe this strip was influenced by the real Whoopee editor's struggles with its contents. Of the features commencing on 01 May, Beaky was a rather tedious strip, possibly inspired by Rod Hull's aggressive avian associate, concerning a large bird, Jimmy Fixit was entirely forgettable (its association, by reason of its title, with a certain TV programme of the time is now extremely unfortunate), and Kids of Class Five was a quite diverting series, which veered more towards the dramatic than the humorous, and bore similarities to the long-running Grange Hill TV drama (the subject of an earlier IPC title and a later spin-off, prequel strip in the publisher's School Fun). The editor presumably felt that a non-humour strip was necessary to replace the similarly dramatic Willie Bunk, although the arrival of the Kids brought to a total of 3 the number of school-based stories (Stage School and Teacher's Pets were also running at this point) and possibly risked alienating readers who sought refuge from educational matters in their leisure reading. Cheeky's fortunes underwent another overhaul 3 weeks after the above-mentioned 'new look' issue, as his strip reverted to being titled Cheeky, but maintained, for the period in question, its one-page-a-week footprint.

What strips/features were ongoing?...

09-FEB-80 25-JUN-83 Smiler
09-FEB-80 12-JAN-85 Cover Feature
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
01-MAR-80 19-JAN-85 Top Ten voting coupon
10-MAY-80 09-MAR-85 Top Ten Results
01-NOV-80 27-OCT-84 Guy Fawkes Mask
21-MAR-81 27-NOV-82 Whoopee It's Quiz Time
09-MAY-81 25-JUN-83 Robot Granny
12-SEP-81 25-JUN-83 Tom Horror's World
31-OCT-81 05-NOV-83 Guy Fawkes Supermask
02-JAN-82 25-JUN-83 Teacher's Pets

Calculator Kid was carrying on with the format established way back in Cheeky Weekly, helmed as ever by the always-reliable Terry Bave. Stage School was also unchanged from its early days in the toothy funster's comic. Paddywack, who had enjoyed a run of full-page stories following his stint on the front cover, was finding his strip reduced to just half a page with increasing regularity. Gran was continuing in her Robot Granny phase which had been introduced following her failure to return to the top ten after dropping out as $6,000,000 Gran in the 15 November 1980 poll results, and Mustapha Million carried on, as generous as ever.

So what was the readers' verdict as reflected in the 07 August 1982 results?...

Mustapha had slipped from 3rd to 4th position. Calculator Kid had dropped 2 places from number 4 to number 6. The kids of Stage School were down from 7th to 8th place. Gran, Paddywack and Cheeky again failed to register anywhere among the top ten.

My examination of the fortunes of the ex-Cheeky Weekly funny folk in the Whoopee Top Ten polls continues in part 4.

Back to part 2

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