Tag Archives: Bizzie Bet and the Easies

Jinty 31 March 1979

Stories in this issue

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands) – first episode
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Boney is beautiful! (feature on pop group Boney M)
  • Prisoner of the Bell (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • You Wanna Be a Millionaire… or do you? (quiz)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Kate Bush (pin up)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)
  • What price beauty? (feature)

Alice follows the sound of Chana’s voice and discovers that they have both been betrayed – Chana has been exiled from the city and will thereby surely die, and Alice’s cousin Karen has got the golden urn and declared herself sun goddess. The temple priestesses seize Alice on sight and she is forced to dress as a jester in order to appease her cousin, who is finding that power has gone to her head!

It is the first episode of “Bizzie Bet and the Easies”, a lightweight two page humour strip that has started running in the place of “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!”. Bet is an energetic girl but her friends the Easies are much keener on a quiet life with minimal effort. I like their style, personally!

Laika is starting to grow her forbidden garden, but she has to balance the needs of tending to it with the danger of getting caught in the Forbidden Zone. This time the police nearly catch her, and her weak little sister Valli is half-dead with anxiety.

Susie is no longer the prisoner of the bell – at least temporarily so, because her gran can’t get at her while she is on the residential gym course. A weight seems to have lifted from her, and Susie’s gym mojo returns – but the gran doesn’t give up as easily as that!

Ann tries to emulate her sister by demanding that the bullies who have pinched a precious photo album give it back – but instead they just rip up the photos! Ann is heartbroken but more importantly she can’t face telling the news to the old lady whose photo album it is. When the story comes out, more and more people are disappointed in Ann and she feels once again that she can never make up for her dead sister.

The “Daughter of Dreams” is Pauline Starr – she’s really just a figment of shy Sally Carter’s imagination, but such a strong imagination that she comes to life! Sally is the only person who can see her, but the fantastical creation can nevertheless have an effect on the world around her… and on Sally’s confidence, of course. The sequel to this story is drawn by the unknown artist who drew Merry, but this is done by the hand of a different artist (probably a Spanish person by the looks of the style).

The four-footed friends are posh Peke Winston and scruffy mongrel Riley – their owners are also fast friends, but Laura’s mum is having none of it. Riley ends up shut in a shed, with a threat to turn him over to the police, as a vermin spreader.

Patti is still a normal teenager in “Children of Edenford” but not so the girls next door – Mandy and Debbie used to be lazy messy little horrors who never helped out, but now they make posh suppers for dinner parties and listen to poetry records for fun. Patti escapes to visit her friend Jilly – only to find that Jilly too, is proposing to do some maths homework for a bit of fun, and has taken down all her Travolta posters! “Pop music is a waste of time. It neither enriches the soul nor challenges the intellect.” Yikes!

Jinty 28 July 1979

Jinty cover 28 July 1979

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Alley Cat
  • The Forbidden Garden – final episode (artist Jim Baikie)
  • The Long and the Short of It! – Competition
  • Mike and Terry (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Hot But Happy! – Feature
  • The Bizzie Bet Holiday Dice Game! – feature
  • Picnic with Patti (artist Paul White)
    The Disappearing Dolphin (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)

The stories get pushed off the cover in favour of Jinty’s latest competition, which tests your skills in fashion design. The centre pages have a Bizzie Bet and the Easies dice game (below), which gives you an idea of all the work Bet piles on herself even when she’s not trying to change the Easies. But I have always wondered if anyone ever actually played those dice games that girls’ comics put out.

Xenia not being able to touch Earthlings without killing them gets her in another bind when she comes across a sick woman who needs help. Linette escapes the blackmailing landlady and found refuge with far nicer people. But they are fans of her father, which means more painful reminders of his death.

It’s the last episode of “The Forbidden Garden”. Laika hits on an extremely daring plan to help her dying sister. But she has to run the gauntlet with the police – and with armfuls of real flowers, which stick out like a sore thumb in a world where flora has been rendered extinct because of pollution! Another Baikie story, “Village of Fame”, replaces it next week.

Mike and Terry get caught in a trap set by the Shadow. They escape, but Mike’s adopted a rather weak disguise to get on the Shadow’s trail again – a ridiculous false beard.

Loads of laughs as the Lilliputians get rid of nosey parker Noreen. But fresh trouble is never far away of course, and at the end of the episode Minty has got stuck in a vending machine.

Briony’s got all the prefects ganging up on Pandora and picking on her for the most trivial thing. The box does have a spell for that sort of thing, of course. But Pandora has to choose between using the box to solve the bullying problem or making Scruffy a free cat again, which means no more witchcraft, because she can’t do both because of the timetable.

In “The Disappearing Dolphin” the girls find dirty work afoot with their expedition: their Roman artefact has been stolen and someone has messed around with their underwater samples. They’re off to do some investigating, but it looks like someone is on their trail…

Bizzie Bet game 1Bizzie Bet game 2

 

 

Jinty 7 April 1979

Jinty cover 7 April 1979

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Alley Cat
  • Prisoner of the Bell (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Your Easter Bunny– feature

“Alice in a Strange Land” finds the temple is a prison that nobody is willing to escape from because of what lies beyond it. The guards don’t even try to stop Alice. And Alice gets her first hint of why when she finds the city outside is nothing but ruins and nobody around. This land is getting stranger and stranger!

Bizzie Bet tries to get the Easies into training. But they end up with injuries from it, which gives them a valid reason to lie about again.

Desperation drives Laika to break the law and steal water for her plants. To make matters worse, Gladvis the “meanest prefect in the school” has photographed her in the act. And it looks like Gladvis is worse than Laika thinks, because it looks like she is out to blackmail Laika instead of reporting her.

Grandma is determined to bring the prisoner of the bell back under her power and sets her up to be expelled from the gymnastics college. Now that is not very becoming for a grandmother!

Ann tries to take Mary’s place at the drama club, and so far, so good. But will it stay that way or will the jinx that seems to dog Ann’s every attempt to emulate Mary strike again? Meanwhile, in “Daughter of Dreams” Sally Carter is gearing up for a dance production.

Mrs Marshall is foiled once more in her efforts to break up “The Four-Footed Friends”. Then she’s off on her high horse again when she discovers the council is going to extend the estate, which will bring more “riff raff” into the area. She does not realise it is so the “riff raff” will be liberated from dreadful slums.

Patti is still waging war against whatever is turning the “Children of Edenford” into goody-goody automatons – but in the last panel it looks like she has succumbed to it herself!

 

 

Jinty 28 April 1979

Jinty cover 28 April 1979.jpeg

Cover artist: Audrey Fawley

Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)

  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Prisoner of the Bell – last episode (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • Mirror, Mirror – feature (Concrete Surfer artist)
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Make Matchbox Furniture – feature

We have a very beautiful, striking cover from Audrey Fawley. Instead of advertising a story, it advertises the beauty treatment feature on the centre pages.

“Alice in a Strange Land” is forced to take the mixture to make her forget her past life. Now that may not have been much of a life, but it’s better than being a slave in the strange land in South America. Then Alice has a flashback of her old life, so the drug clearly isn’t all that perfect.

Meanwhile, Patti and Jilly find a way to break through the headmistress’s strange power to turn her pupils into goody-goody automatons of perfection. So now they’ve turned on the school sprinkler system to flush it out of everyone!

It’s the last episode of “Prisoner of the Bell”. It looks like grandmother has finally won and turned Susie into the prisoner of the bell completely. But it all backfires on grandmother at the worst possible moment and could get Susie killed! There is no blurb saying what will replace this story, so we just have to wait and see.

The dreadful cleaning job Laika has been blackmailed into is taking its toll on her (and giving her a taste of what it is like to work in the dreaded Industrial Zone where her father will be forced to work in later on). She can barely drag herself back home, she flops at her school test because of her horrible job, and still no water for her plants. And now vicious dogs that have been dumped in the Forbidden Zone are threatening to eat her up!

Ann leads a protest demonstration at school. But as with all her other attempts at emulating Mary, it all goes pear-shaped and Ann ends up in Coventry just as she is planning a party.

Another party is threatened too, in “The Four-Footed Friends”. It’s Riley’s birthday, but that’s not stopping spoilsport Mrs Marshall from keeping him away from his friend Winston. However, they score one over Mrs Marshall and it’s a happy birthday for Riley.

Gatecrashers have wrecked yet another party in this issue, in “Daughter of Dreams”. It gets even worse when imaginary friend Pauline suggests a conga dance, which backfires. But Pauline is determined to put things right…

This issue also advertises the first issue of Penny, a title destined merge with Jinty the following year. Penny had more impact on Jinty than Lindy, the previous title to merge with Jinty.

 

 

Jinty 16 June 1979

Jinty cover 16 June 1979

  • Casey, Come Back! – first episode (unknown artist – Merry)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Alley Cat
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)
  • Take Your Pick! – General Knowledge Quiz
  • The Disappearing Dolphin – first episode (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Your Own Seaside Rock! (feature)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)

As the cover announces, there are two new stories in this issue. And the moment we open up the issue, we see the first one: “Casey, Come Back!”. Josie Stanton lives a lonely life with her grandfather. While not downright cruel or abusive like some guardians we’ve seen in Jinty, grandfather does not show Josie any affection, takes her for granted, and just expects her to work hard on the farm. Casey the dog is the only friend Josie has. Then grandfather deprives Josie of even that when he sells Casey! Looks like he’s taken Josie for granted once too often.

The other story is another Trini Tinturé story, “The Disappearing Dolphin”. An underwater archaeological dig turns to mystery when a dolphin shows up and then disappears without explanation.

“The Four-Footed Friends” is now on its penultimate episode, so we will be seeing a new story pretty soon. Mrs Marshall finally pushes Laura too far with her ridiculous carry-on about germs and mixing with ‘common’ people. So now Laura is running away, with the dogs in tow!

In “The Forbidden Garden”, they have advanced the programmed rainfall, which puts Laika’s precious plants in danger of being ruined. Talk about “it never rains but it pours”!

In part two of “Nothing to Sing About”, Linette’s father dies. Linette blames the fans, despite her mother saying it was just a heart attack that could have struck at any time. Linette’s bitterness is making everyone suffer, and she’s vowed never to sing again. Hmm, that may be harder than you think, Linette!

Pandora has been confident that she can get by at stage school without her aunt’s box of witchcraft. But her confidence is shattered when she gets mixed feedback on why she was such a hit at her school show, with some saying that she is not all that good and just gets noticed because she is “so pushy” and a “big-head” (no arguments there). So she gives in to her aunt and accepts the box.

In “A Girl Called Gulliver”, Maloney snatches Gwenny’s bag to get his hands on the Lilliputians. But then a policeman gets his hands on Maloney! However, more trouble is soon brewing for the Lilliputians, in the form of a vacuum cleaner and then a cat, whom Minty is determined to fight.

Bizzie Bet hopes the Hobbies Fair will make the Easies more active. But of course they go for a hobby where they can still go easy. And it’s yoga. Maybe they should try meditation too.

Jinty 21 April 1979

Jinty 21 April 1979.jpeg

  • Alice in a Strange Land (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • The Forbidden Garden (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Alley Cat
  • Prisoner of the Bell (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • I’ll Make Up for Mary (artist Guy Peeters, writer Alison Christie)
  • Feature – Superman Christopher Reeve Talks to Our Jinty Reporter
  • Daughter of Dreams
  • The Four-Footed Friends (artist Peter Wilkes, writer Alison Christie)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Children of Edenford (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Feature – Cherry Ripe

“Alice in a Strange Land” learns about the Spring of Life – waters that can make her immortal, but she will forget everything her old life (though that may not be such a huge loss, considering how unhappy it was), and become a brainwashed slave of the temple. And in the final panel she is being ordered to drink from it!

Brainwashing is big in Jinty at the moment, with two other stories featuring it. In “Prisoner of the Bell”, Susie is being brainwashed into becoming an academic through the power of grandma’s bell. And in this episode she not only succumbs to it completely, but the change in her is also getting the blessing of her parents. But luckily for Susie it sounds like the final episode next week.

In “Children of Edenford”, Patti has worked out a way to counteract the strange brainwashing at her school that is turning everyone there into obedient robots and has now freed her friend Jilly. They have now combined forces against the brainwashing, while pretending they have succumbed to it.

Ann is still having no luck in “making up for Mary”. A housewarming party is ruined and the blame is put on her, quite wrongly. And it looks like another party has gone wrong for “Daughter of Dreams”. How can her magical companion help her put it right?

Snobby Mrs Marshall is still coming between “The Four-Footed Friends”. How is she going to react when she discovers they have managed to defy her once again and get their photograph in the paper in this episode?

In this issue we see “Laika’s dirty job”, the one we would have seen in the 30 June 1984 issue of Tammy had the strike not intervened, making the 23rd June issue the last one ever. It’s a gruelling, unpleasant job cleaning out huge vats in a food-processing factory, in the dreaded industrial zone where people are stuck on dead-end jobs of the worst kind. And to make things even worse, Laika has to cleaning chemicals that are choking her, and there’s no time to do a ton of homework. And the job is dirty in another way too – it is illegal because Laika is underage, and Gladvis is getting off-ration food from her uncle for in return for Laika. And Laika is stuck there unless she can find a way out of Gladvis’ blackmail.

And in this issue, Jinty gets an exclusive interview with the then Superman, Christopher Reeve. It reveals some interesting information on Reeve’s audition for the role and the filming of the first movie.

 

Richard Neillands

Sample Images

Bizzie Bet 1Bizzie Bet 2

Little information is available on Richard Neillands. He was known to be a prolific artist in the 1970s and 1980s, though he was seen more frequently at DCT, and an incomplete list of his DCT stories can be found here. He was a regular artist in Mandy, Judy and Tracy with serials like “Unhappy Families”, “The Girl with No Shadow” and “Polly’s Painted Smile”. On Tammy, Neillands drew some Wee Sue stories, but was not a regular or long-lasting Wee Sue artist. He was probably used as a filler artist.

On Jinty, Neillands drew one serial, “Darling Clementine”, and a humorous regular, “Bizzie Bet and the Easies”. Bizzie Bet was an energetic girl who tries to get the lazy Easies off their butts every week, but the Easies always win in the end. Bizzie Bet lasted about six months, which did not make her a long runner compared to Jinty’s other humorous regulars such as “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” or “The Jinx from St Jonah’s”.

Richard Neillands stories in Jinty

  • Darling Clementine (1977-78)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (1979)

 

Jinty 18 August 1979

Jinty cover 18 August 1979

  • Almost Human (artist Terry Aspin)
  • Bizzie Bet and the Easies (artist Richard Neillands)
  • Village of Fame (artist Jim Baikie)
  • Tom Baker – Doctor Who feature
  • Mike and Terry (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • The Disappearing Dolphin (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Be a Private Eye! (text story with deliberate mistakes to spot)
  • Rinty ‘n’ Jinty
  • Nothing to Sing About (artist Phil Townsend)
  • A Girl Called Gulliver (artist Phil Gascoine)
  • Pandora’s Box (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Harvest Crossword – Feature
  • Crumbs! That’s a Good Idea! – Feature

The indignity the Lilliputians suffer in this issue makes the cover, and the complementary use of orange and green on the cover makes it even more striking. The silly things thought a sandcastle was for living in, and have been hung up to dry after the soaking they got from the sea. This Gascoine story certainly had several cover slots, no doubt because it was such a fun, upbeat story (unlike the next story Gascoine will draw – “Waves of Fear” –  which is one of Jinty’s most disturbing stories).

This issue is one for Doctor Who fans because it has an exclusive interview with Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor. The text story is unusual too. There are deliberate mistakes in it, and the challenge is to see how good a sleuth you are by picking up as many of the mistakes as you can.

Xenia’s inability to touch Earthlings without killing them causes real problems as she tries to help some people with an accident. The district nurse is getting suspicious.

Sue does not trust Mr Grand’s scheme to use her village as a location for a television serial. And when she discovers just how he is filming it (cameras everywhere and stirring things up to create action), she declares war on him.

Mike and Terry are out to stop a plot to kidnap a ventriloquist, and Mike is turning conjurer to do it. But at the end of the episode he looks like he could do with a disappearing trick when the kidnappers accost him.

In “The Disappearing Dolphin”, Paula and Chris think they’ve worked out who is plotting against them – Mrs Ormerod-Keynes. But now they need to work out why and how.

It’s the penultimate episode of “Nothing to Sing About”. Linette has now been put straight about the cause of her father’s death and realises she was wrong to blame the fans. But her bitter behaviour beforehand has had serious consequences – it wrecked her mother’s new engagement.

Pandora works another spell to get what she wants – a job in a commercial. But she finds a conscience when she discovers it cost Ruth her chance of getting it, and she badly needed the money because her father can’t pay the school fees.

Story length through Jinty’s life

I have created a new page listing the stories in Jinty by publication date. This seemed like an interesting and useful addition to the list of stories in alphabetical order that has been in place on the blog since we started. As part of the information on that new page it seemed sensible to count the number of episodes for each story, too (where possible) – luckily for me, the Catawiki data that I was using to compile this information gave me the ability to include that for almost all stories. As I put together the list, I got the impression that in the last year of Jinty‘s publication, the story length was getting shorter and shorter: so I pulled together some stats on it.

For each year below, there are some stories I excluded from the statistics, either because I didn’t have a complete count of all the episodes (for instance where a story had started in Lindy or Penny before their merger with Jinty), or because they were by their nature long-running humour strips with no specific start or end point. I’ll give a list of the excluded stories and their running lengths further down this post.

  • For 1974, the mean story length is just under 16 episodes and the mode (most usual) story length is 13 episodes
  • For 1975, the mean is just under 18 episodes and the mode is 16 episodes
  • For 1976, the mean is just under 15 episodes and the mode is 19 episodes
  • For 1977, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 11
  • For 1978, the mean is just over 16 episodes and the mode is 18
  • For 1979, the mean is just over 14 episodes and the mode is 12
  • For 1980, the mean is 11.5 episodes and the mode is 12
  • For 1981, the mean is 11 episodes and the mode is 10

We can see that the two averages do go up and down over the run of Jinty. Having said that, the drop-off in episode length in 1980 and 1981 does look like a real change, despite that context of background variation. (I’m not going to do any full-on statistical analysis with standard deviations and so on though!) Both average figures are down in those two years, because there are fewer long stories pushing up the mean as well as a general trend to the slightly shorter length of 10 – 12 episodes.

Which stories did I exclude from the analytics, and why?

  • The humour strips with no specific story arc: “Dora Dogsbody” (94 episodes), “Do-it-Yourself Dot” (62 episodes), “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” (112 episodes), “The Snobs and the Scruffs” (12 episodes), “Desert Island Daisy” (9 episodes), “Bird-Girl Brenda” (27 episodes), “The Hostess with the Mostess” (19 episodes), “Bet Gets The Bird!” (11 episodes), “Alley Cat” (163 episodes), “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” (111 episodes), “Bizzie Bet and the Easies” (27 episodes), “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” (96 episodes).
  • “Merry at Misery House” (66 episodes) is not a humour strip but like those above, it has no specific overall story arc, no obvious beginning or end that is worked towards throughout its run. I have therefore excluded that too. The same goes for “Pam of Pond Hill” which ran to a mighty 126 episodes in Jinty and then on into Tammy of course.
  • The stories that I have incomplete episode information about: “Finleg the Fox”, “Penny Crayon”, “Hettie High-and-Mighty”, “Gypsy Rose” (these stories are not catalogued on Catawiki as a group), “Rinty n Jinty”, “Seulah the Seal”, “Tansy of Jubilee Street”, and “Snoopa”. Various of those would be excluded even if I had complete episode numbers, of course.
    • Edited to add: further information has been given in the comments below. “Finleg” and “Hettie” ran for 7 episodes in Lindy, and “Tansy” ran for 45 episodes in Penny. “Seulah” ran for 11 episodes in Penny, and then started a new story in Jinty & Penny, which I hadn’t really realised. The two Seulah stories were more like separate arcs in a bigger story than self-contained stories in themselves. Many thanks to Marc for this information! I will add them into the spreadsheet and see if it makes any difference to the years in question.
    • “Snoopa” ran for 45 episodes in Penny, which Mistyfan confirms below (many thanks). As a gag strip, this would not be included in the year-on-year statistics in any case.

Longest run of an individual story? “Alley Cat” has all the others beat, at 163 episodes; runners-up are “Pam of Pond Hill” at 126 episodes, and then “The Jinx From St Jonah’s” and “Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag!” neck and neck at 112 and 111 episodes respectively. However, if you exclude these and look at the length of the ‘normal’ stories, then the top three are “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (36 episodes), “Fran of the Floods” (35 episodes), and “Always Together…” (29 episodes). (Phil Townsend does particularly well for long-running stories, as “Daddy’s Darling” clocks in at 24 episodes and “Song of the Fir Tree” at 22 episodes.)

At the other end of things are some short stories. There are only two single-episode stories: “Holly and the Ivy” and “Mimi Seeks a Mistress”. “Freda’s Fortune” is the only two episode story. “Mimi” was a reprinted story, printed towards the end of 1980; possibly “Holly” and “Freda” were intended for publication in annuals or summer specials and then used as filler.

There are a few 3 or 4 episode stories: “The Birds”, “The Changeling”, “Casey, Come Back!”, and “The Tale of the Panto Cat”. This is also an odd length for a story – long enough to allow for a bit of development, but short enough to feel a bit abruptly cut off when you get to the end. Of these four, I’d say that “The Birds” is the one I find uses its length most successfully, though “Panto” works pretty well as a seasonal short. The slightly-longer “Her Guardian Angel” (5 episodes) likewise uses its length reasonably well to give us a seasonal amusement.  Some other shorter stories, such as “Badgered Belinda” (7 episodes), do read like they have probably been cut down from an originally-intended standard length of 10 – 12 episodes.

The spreadsheet with this information is available on request – please comment and I will be happy to email it to you if you want.