Monthly Archives: June 2020

Tammy 16 July 1983


  • Namby Pamby (artist Eduardo Feito, writer Ian Mennell)
  • Horsepower! (artist Julian Vivas, writer Chris Harris) – A Pony Tale
  • Backhand Play (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Ian Mennell)
  • Portrait of Doreen Gray (artist Tony Coleman, writer Charles Herring)
  • Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming)
  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Alison Christie)
  • The Lady of Ranoch Water (artist Hugo D’Adderio, writer Roy Preston) – complete story
  • Make Your Mind Up, Maggie (artist Juliana Buch)

This Tammy issue contains one of my favourite complete stories, “The Lady of Ranoch Water” (a remarkably flattering name for a witch who’s a hideous old hag!). “The Lady of Ranoch Water” appears below. It was written by Roy Preston, and the Tammy credits of the period show Preston specialised in creepy complete stories, often with comeuppances. This begs the question: what spooky complete stories (Misty completes, Strange/Gypsy Rose Stories, Monster Tales) did Roy Preston write for IPC in the past?

The other complete story, “Horsepower!”, has a horse competing with progress when Pa gets ideas about getting a tractor to replace him, much to the horror of his daughter Maisie. The tractor seems to be more efficient, but in the end the weather and climate of the locality prove the horse more practical and keep horses in business there for a long time. Relief for Maisie!

Pam of Pond Hill is on summer break, which gives scope for more serials to run. No doubt one will be replaced by Pam when she returns in the autumn, as promised by the Editor.

The extremely overprotective upbringing Pamela Beeton has received since birth (her mother could give Mum in “Mummy’s Boy” from Buster a run for her money) has rendered her little more than a three-year-old in emotional and psychological development. Consequently, she acts like a baby at school, which has earned her the nickname “Namby Pamby”, and her seriously stunted growth puts her even more on a back foot than other serials where protagonists struggle with overprotective parents. At least she is trying and has found a friend, but her overprotective mother is beginning to interfere.

In “Backhand Play”, Arthur Knightly is the King of Backhanders and his motto is “Never miss a trick”. He doesn’t cross the line to anything illegal, but his backhanders are causing a lot of problems for his niece Terri, who only wants to play tennis. Terri has discovered her backhander uncle has been applying them to her tennis club to give her favourable treatment and even compel a tennis player to throw a match in her favour. She refuses to return to the club in protest and the coaches sell their cars to deal with Arthur and get her back.

The “Portrait of Doreen Gray” (yes, and the story itself makes reference to a certain Oscar Wilde story) is making shy Doreen Gray more confident, but there were hints from the beginning there was something sinister about it. Sure enough, Doreen’s confidence is threatening to turn into arrogance that could make her unpopular, and we suspect the portrait. This week, Doreen’s arch-enemy Jane Quarles begins to suspect what’s going on and starts investigating. She strikes gold – but then gets scared by a rat. Will she be scared off for good?

Oh, no! It looks like Bella is heading for another round of losing her nerve, and it’s all because of her Uncle Jed. He ropes Bella into a dangerous window-cleaning job and only Bella’s gymnastics save her from a horrible accident. But then Bella discovers the incident has affected her psychologically and she can’t perform gymnastics properly.

This week “The Button Box” brings us a romantic story about a boy and girl finding love on the beach and shells are at the centre of it all. Aww…

“Make Your Mind Up, Maggie” has been reprinted from 1974 by popular demand (the original run ended on a double episode to make way for the Tammy & June merger). Maggie is obliged to give up horse riding because it’s bad for her ballet. But this week Maggie discovers the alternative is her beloved horse Robbie being sold to the Brimstowes, who mistreat their horses (and nobody seems to call the SPCA about it). Now Maggie is in an awkward double life of doing both ballet and riding while keeping it secret from her ballet teacher. To make things even more difficult, Maggie is finding that ballet is just as bad for her riding as riding is for her ballet.




Tammy 24 September 1977

Tammy cover 24 September 1977

Cover artist: John Richardson

  • Bella (artist John Armstrong)
  • Rowena of the Doves (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Melanie’s Mob (artist Edmond Ripoll)
  • Selena Sitting Pretty (artist Diane Gabbot(t))
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Babe at St. Woods (artist John Johnston)
  • Eye of the Beholder (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – Strange Story
  • Edie the Ed’s Niece (artist Joe Collins)
  • Wee Sue (artist Mike White)
  • Daughter of the Regiment (artist Mario Capaldi) – final episode

On the cover, big sis gets one over little sis for once, who not only has to do the work but also looks narked at not being the first to read the weekly Tammy.

This week’s Tammy features one of my favourite Strange Stories, “Eye of the Beholder”, plus it has ever-popular Hugo D’Adderio artwork. The story appears below. An unsavoury Babylonian empress cares only about her garden. Like the selfish giant, she won’t share it with anyone, and woe betide anyone who so much as sniffs the flowers. But it looks like the empress may have imposed this extreme meanness on the wrong person…

Bella has set up a gym club on a collective farm. Some people are finding it hard to accept this, and at the end of the episode we get a hint that someone may have resorted to sabotage, which has put a girl’s life in danger.

Speed is the new motto at Cliff House School, and Bessie is taking it deeply to heart because it’s fun. Speed is no problem for Bessie where sneaking/eating food is concerned. But putting an aristocratic visitor on roller skates to speed things up? Unless there’s a speedy turnaround, this could mean a speedy punishment for Bessie.

Rowena reaches the last of her brothers for help in aiding her father, but all she gets is another refusal: “none of us are entirely ready, yet”. Then her brother’s companion reacts so badly against this – “you have shamed us!” – that he breaks his oath of fealty to his master. Wow, looks like help at last, at least from someone. Will it prod the brother into action as well?

“Daughter of the Regiment” concludes. Tessa Mason has been battling to prove her father was innocent of the charge that got him executed at the Charge of the Light Brigade. And what does she find? Her father wasn’t executed or charged with anything, and isn’t even dead! It was all a ruse so he could go undercover to foil a plot to assassinate Queen Victoria, and Tessa’s investigation unwittingly put it in danger. Well, they should have known that no true daughter would ever accept her father was guilty and wouldn’t rest until she had discovered the truth. They should have said he was killed in action or something.

Of late, there has been dispute as to whether Tammy artist Diane Gabbot should be spelt Gabbott. Gabbott was the original spelling and we’re not sure if “Gabbot” is a misspelling that crept in or a simplified spelling Diane adopted.

Anyway, Diane’s latest Tammy story is “Selena Sitting Pretty”, and the theme is one you see more often at DCT: a girl pretends to be disabled to take advantage. Selena Smith pretends to be wheelchair-bound because she is having difficulty handling the competition at her new school. This week she hides Lorraine’s running shoes, which forces her to run in bare feet. It blows up in Selena’s face when Lorraine wins anyway and then makes a present of the shoes to Selena, not realising she’s on the verge of discovering Selena’s secret.

A stuffy Latin teacher has problems with Babe of St Woods, who always has gangsters on the brain. When she asks for prep on one of the Caesars, Babe does hers on “Little Caesar”, the 1920s gangster. Then Babe comes to the rescue when she discovers the teacher’s prescription has been written out in the wrong dosage. Teach has failed to notice this although the prescription is in Latin. Really, teach!

Miss Bigger takes the class to the seaside on the annual school trip but makes it as stuffy as the Latin teacher while another class are permitted to have all the fun of the beach. What’s more, Sue has to find a way to get one of the girls to a beauty contest and back without Miss Bigger noticing; the girl needs the prize money for her parents’ anniversary present. In the end Sue’s class have as much fun on the beach, and the girl wins third place and enough money for a present.

Melanie Newton still has to keep her sports club comprised of local toughs a secret from her snobby father, but things are looking up for it. That is, until Dad asks her to go against the gang because he wants the gang’s sports site for development. Looks like Melanie has to rebel against her father again, something she’s been doing ever since the beginning of the story because she hates how her working-class father is now a snobby, selfish rich businessman.

Eye of the Beholder 1

Eye of the Beholder 2

Eye of the Beholder 3

25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics: Volume 3

We’ve had two instalments of “25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics”. You know, the ones that start with:

“We have all noticed certain things in girls’ serials. Things about plot, character and setting that always seem to crop up and we comment on them a lot. Then again, there are other things about plot, character and setting that always crop up as well, but we hardly even notice them. At least, not until someone else points them out.”

Well, here we are again, with:

25 Things You May (or May Not) Have Noticed in Girls’ Comics: Volume 3


1: We get plenty of serials with spooky moggies…

Image credit: “Cat!”, M&J, 1991.


2: … but not many with spooky doggies.

Whistle and I'll Come..
Image credit: “Whistle and I’ll Come…” Misty 1978-79.


3: Antagonists who trick protagonists into signing contracts don’t make sure they are legally valid.

The Stables Slave

Image credit: “The Stables Slave”, Tammy 1972-73.


4: When you count on something, there’s always something you didn’t count on…

Bad Luck Barbara
Image credit: “Bad Luck Barbara”, Mandy 1985.


5: We all laud the one true friend who stands by the unfortunate protagonist through thick and thin…

Move Over, Maria
Image credit: “Move Over, Maria”, Bunty 1994.


6: … yet we all wonder why the hell the true friend sticks by the protagonist when she’s a pain in the butt and nobody else likes her!

Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl!
Image credit: “Snobby Shirl the Shoeshine Girl!”, Jinty 1976.


7: The main villain suddenly reforms if they cross an even bigger villain.

Sadie in the Sticks
Image credit: “Sadie in the Sticks”, Tammy & June 1974.


8: Parents with a problem child seem to think a schoolgirl and change of scene will be the instant magic cure.

Be Nice To Nancy!
Image credit: “Be Nice To Nancy!”, Judy 1989-1990.


9: We don’t get many girls’ serials where the main antagonist is a boy.


Image credit: “Bullied!”, M&J 1996.

10: So often is a magic object more trouble than it’s worth, even if it does have its uses.

Topsy Turvey
Image credit: “Topsy Turvey”, Mandy 1985.


11: Aliens with advanced science often have poor scientific methods.

The Human Zoo
Image credit: “The Human Zoo”, Jinty 1978-79.


12: About 99% of the time, protagonists/antagonists out for revenge find out they were mistaken.

Down with St Desmonds
Image credit: “Down with St Desmond’s!”, Bunty 1977-78.


13: The plot always sets you up to beware of girls who look so sweet and angelic you could use them for artificial sweeteners.

Angela Angel-Face
Image credit: “Angela Angel-Face”, Jinty 1980.


14: The problem in a dystopian world of the future is nothing the 20th century can’t fix.

Trixie of 2087
Image credit: “Trixie of 2087”, Debbie PSL #107, 1987.


15: Nobody but the protagonist seems to act if an animal is being mistreated until the final episode.

Olympia Jones
Image credit: “Olympia Jones”, Tammy 1976-1977.


16: An award, prize or big win always turns out to be a jinx – unless it’s won at the end of the story.

The £100,000 headache
Image credit: “The £100,000 Headache”, Debbie PSL #33, 1980.


17: They never let you get away with deception, even if your reasons for it are sympathetic/noble.

Image credit: “Ashamed of Her Mum”, Debbie PSL #100, 1986.


18: There are plenty of girls’ serials with bully teachers…

Image credit: “Hard Times for Helen”, Judy 1984-85.


19: … but not many with bullied teachers.

Patsy on the Warpath
Image credit: “Patsy on the Warpath”, June 1969.


20: So often everyone seems to conveniently lose all memory of something weird happening except the protagonist and all trace of it disappears at the end of the story – even when there is no reason for it.

Who is Astra?
Image credit: “Who is Astra?”, Mandy PSL #62 (and #211), 1983.


21: Loads of girls’ serials are set in World War II…


Image credit: “Catch the Cat!”, Bunty 1976.


22: … but few set in World War I.

For the Love of Lucy
Image credit: “For the Love of Lucy”, Diana 1978.


23: Beware of sweet-talking ladies who offer to take poor homeless orphans under their wing.

Slaves of the Teasets
Image credit: “Slaves of the Teasets”, Bunty PSL #292 (and #438), 1987.


24: Somebody does not listen to warnings when they should have…

Image credit: “Minnie the Meanie”, Judy 1982.


25: … with predictable results to shape the rest of the story.

Image credit: “Minnie the Meanie”, Judy 1982.