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
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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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 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 owners of more sophisticated vessels, but needless to say Calc ensures that Charlie's yacht 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.

Friday, 28 April 2023

Cheeky-related characters in the Whoopee Annuals and Specials - Part 9 - 1988

How many editions of a weekly comic will there be in any one year? Many of us (including myself until this whole vexed topic was unleashed on me by the chronologically enlightened Stephen Archer) would confidently state the answer to be 52, but that is not in fact always the case and there can often be 53 issues a year.

How so?

Any year on which the first of January falls on a Saturday will contain 53 Saturdays because there will be 5 Saturdays in each of January, April, July, October and December (= 25 Saturdays), and 4 in all other months (= 28 Saturdays). Leap years in which the first of January falls on a Friday (as is the case with 1988, a fact which will become relevant below) will also contain 53 Saturdays for the same reason.

The cover dates shown on the front page of Whizzer and Chips always referred to a Saturday although, due to the arcane practices of the British comic industry, Saturday was not actually the day on which the comic went on sale.

To give an idea of the frequency of this phenomenon, the table below shows all the 53-Saturday years  in the 100 years from 1950 to 2049, together with the number of Saturdays in each month of those years.

First Day Jan Sats Feb Sats Mar Sats Apr Sats May Sats Jun Sats Jul Sats Aug Sats Sep Sats Oct Sats Nov Sats Dec Sats Total Sats
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
1960 Leap Year Friday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
1972 Leap Year Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 4 4 5 53
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
1988 Leap Year Friday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
2000 Leap Year Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 4 4 5 53
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
2016 Leap Year Friday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
2028 Leap Year Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 4 4 5 53
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
Saturday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53
2044 Leap Year Friday 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 5 4 5 53

This calendar conundrum never arose when I was analysing the run of Cheeky Weekly because although the comic's debut year of 1977 was a 53-Saturday one, the toothy funster's own title of course made its debut with an issue cover-dated 22 October of that year, and the next 53-Saturday year occurred in 1983, well after Cheeky Weekly's February 1980 cancellation.

The surprising regularity with which these 53-Saturday years occur means that 1988 was the 4th and final 53-weeker which the mighty Whizzer and Chips enjoyed since its 1969 inception, coming after 1972, 1977 and 1983 (all years in which Whizz-kids and Chip-ites were untroubled by halts in publication due to industrial action, which affected the W&C printing schedules of the 52-Saturday years 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1980).

Young Mustapha Million, the final survivor from Cheeky Weekly who by 1988 was a Whizzer and Chips stalwart, appeared in all 53 1988-cover-dated issues of the 2-titles-in-1 comic, drawn by Frank McDiarmid except in the case of the 03 September episode which was a reprint with artwork by Joe McCaffrey that originally appeared in Whoopee and Wow! dated 03 December 1983.

The purpose of this series of posts is to identify any appearances in the Whoopee Specials or Annuals by characters who originated in Cheeky Weekly. It was to the weekly Whoopee that survivors of Cheeky Weekly relocated following cancellation of the toothy funster's title in 1980. The weekly Whoopee itself folded in 1985, which is how Mustapha found himself lodged within the pages of Whizzer and Chips. Previously in this series I have examined the contents of the Whoopee Annuals published in 1980 to 1987, but publication of Whoopee Annuals was suspended in 1988, and would not resume until the final yearly Whoopee hardback was published in 1991. Whoopee Holiday Specials, however, continued to appear in newsagents every year.

1988's Whoopee Holiday Special was advertised in just one issue of Whizzer and Chips. Appearing in the 02 April edition, the ad featured a very prominent appearance by Mustapha Million, and was graced by artwork from Frank McDiarmid, lifted from a panel of one of the benificent youngster's strips from with the Special itself.

Whizzer and Chips 02 April 1988

Whoopee Holiday Special 1988


This is the first Whoopee Special to be produced under the auspices of Fleetway Publications, following last year's sale of IPC's comics business to the Pergamon Press group. Continuity is maintained nonetheless, as last year's Whoopee Special cover stars, the Bumpkin Billionaires, return to  the front page, in a frozen confection scenario reminiscent (to those with long enough memories) of the cover of the Cheeky Holiday Special of 1980. However, whereas the toothy Funster's frozen feast was confined within a bog-standard, initially-crispy-but-tending-to-the-soggy-if-one-dallies-over-consumption-of-the-melting-delight ice cream cone, the Bumpkin's generous helpings of chilly dessert reside in containers wrought from purest gold. This cover design may have been inspired by the upcoming Olympic Games, the opening ceremony of which always features the arrival of an athlete holding aloft a gleaming torch.

Where this cover does differ from those seen previously in this series is the large amount of text promoting the contents although curiously Mustapha, who featured so heavily on the ad in Whizzer and Chips, is not among those to get a namecheck, while his former Cheeky Weekly colleague Gran is included.

As was the case with last year's Whoopee Special, page 2 features a Mustapha Million episode, although unlike last year's original tale this Special's inaugural outing for our middle eastern mate is a reprint drawn by Joe McCaffrey of a cricket-related escapade which originally entertained readers of Whoopee! dated 12 June 1982 (and also it's a 2 page story rather than last year's original single page adventure drawn by Barry Glennard).

Noting, as we leaf through the Special, that the Bumpkins episode beginning on page 5 is rather unusual for 2 reasons; it's a 5-page epic and it's drawn by Vic Neill, our next encounter with a Cheeky-related chum is on page 11 where Charlie Counter, better known to Cheeky fans as Calculator Kid, is heading off to the swimming pool in a tale that originally appeared in Whoopee and Wow! dated 09 July 1983.

A few pages later we meet another character from the Cheeky Stable - Robot Granny who, back in the days of Cheeky Weekly, was formerly known as 6 Million Dollar Gran. This rural reprint was first seen in Whoopee! dated 24 April 1982 where it was printed in black and white, but for this outing Ian Knox's artwork has been coloured.



Immediately following Gran/Granny but reprinted in monochrome are the kids and teacher of Stage School in an episode offering us a rare opportunity to witness their activities on the sports field. Whoopee and Wow! dated 03 September 1983 is the source of this sporty saga.


Art: Robert Nixon


There may possibly be some of our Cheeky chums among the anonymous correspondents who are the subject of the puzzle on pages 28 and 29. What do you think?


Art: Jim Crocker

Following the postcard posers is a second 2-page Stage School episode, this one recycled from Whoopee and Wow! dated 22 October 1983.

Mustapha Million appears in a new 4-page adventure commencing on page 40, drawn by Frank McDiarmid. It's always good to see a Boilk! in a comic strip, and this story is the source of the artwork that featured in the ad for this Special as seen above.



In previous posts I have jokingly referred to IPC staff entering the gloomy, cobweb-draped catacombs beneath King's Reach Tower in which (I chose to imagine) old comic artwork was stored, to search for material to reprint. However, it may be that the archives were moved as a result of Pergamon's purchase of IPC's comics division, so for all I know the expeditions to select material to act as filler in this Special were conducted in bright, shining-floored, atmosphere-controlled vaults beneath the Pergamon offices in Southwark Street, a relatively short distance (about 520 metres as the corvid navigates according to Google maps) from IPC's home. Whatever the conditions of storage, the next Cheeky-related item to have been selected from years gone by is another Mustapha 2-pager, this time from Whoopee and Wow! dated 02 July 1983, the first issue in which the two titles were merged, and thus there is a recap of Mustapha's back-story for the benefit of former Wow! readers who were previously unaware of our amiable Arab pal. The original strip featured red spot colour, but is reprinted here in monochrome. The choice of this story to serve as a reprint is rather puzzling, due to its similarity to the previous, original Mustapha strip in this Special.

Art: Joe McCaffrey


Mustapha's second countryside caper of this Special is followed by another Robot Granny reprint (this time across 1 and a half pages), which long-time followers of the synthetic senior citizen may recall having previously enjoyed in the 22 May 1982 edition of Whoopee! On its original outing the concluding half-page of the story shared space with an advert for Buster and Jackpot, announcing the commencement of the cut-out-and-keep Big Daddy Wrestling Game, but in this Special the vacant half page is occupied by 3 small ads for businesses selling respectively stamps, jokes and football programmes, together with a note from Fleetway Publications asking readers to mention Whoopee Holiday Special when responding to the adverts, although each of the advertisers includes a code in their address which one would presume is to enable identification of where each ad was seen;



Philatelic Services (Dept. SUS1) = Summer Special?

Joke Shop By Post (Dept. KHS) = something Holiday Special?

Steve Earl (HS4) = Holiday Special?

Assuming these businesses placed ads in more than one Fleetway Special this year, maybe they were unable to specify the inclusion of a different code in each magazine and that's why the onus fell on readers to identify which publication generated their response.

Gran's adventure as described above is the final directly Cheeky-related material in this Special, although there is a further item with a connection to our toothy pal, boasting as it does work by the artist forever associated with the grinning punster.

Frank McDiarmid contributes his second 5-page set to this Special with the Frankie Stein escapade beginning on page 57 in which Professor Cube launches the accident-prone assemblage of reconstituted human offcuts out to sea on a windsurf board. Suspecting this may be a reprint, I looked through KAZOOP entries labelled as Frank McDiarmid, knowing that Irmantas has documented several 'Frankie Stein on Holiday' stories, but couldn't find it.



The bottom of the final page of Frankie's vacation tale provides the solution to the earlier carte-postale quiz. Were you right?



Well, there's a gratifying number of appearances by ex Cheeky Weekly characters in this Special. Admittedly all bar one are reprints, but it's great to have a new 4-page Mustapha adventure drawn by Frank M. Incidentally, my task of identifying the issues from which the reprints were selected was made easier by the fact that the title panels of Calculator Kid, Stage School and Mustapha Million helpfully changed during their Whoopee runs, and Gran underwent a number of incarnations, each of which had a new title (see preceding links for details) meaning I didn't have to examine the entire run of each strip. I'm sure one day I will be caught out with a reprint substituting a different title panel on its re-use.

Paddywack seems to have fallen from favour and is not present this year, having featured in strips in the 2 previous Whoopee Specials, his absence possibly due to growing sensitivity regarding national stereotypes. Sadly Cheeky remains persona non gagster as far as the Whoopee Specials are concerned.

My attention will next turn to the Whoopee Special of 1989.