Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
E.T. Estate (artist Guy Peeters, writer Jake Adams)
Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming)
The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Alison Christie)
Into the Fourth at Trebizon (artist Diane Gabbot(t), writer Anne Digby) – text adaptation
Just Like a Child… – complete story, repeated from Strange Stories
Heart to Heart Hints (Mari L’Anson) – Valentine feature
The Crayzees (artist Joe Collins)
Happy Valentine’s Day (writer Maureen Spurgeon) – quiz
Nanny Young (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
Cuckoo in the Nest (artist Tony Coleman, writer Ian Mennell)
Goodies – Valentine’s Day cookery feature
For Valentine’s Day, here is the Valentine issue from Tammy 1983, an issue that is now 40 years old this year. Happy 40th!
Inside, we have plenty of Valentine features, including a Valentine’s Day story from “The Crazyees”. You would think The Button Box would have joined Valentine’s Day with a love story from the button box, but instead it’s a button story about Elizabeth II’s coronation.
Setting the Valentine theme off is a most beautiful Valentine’s Day cover, one of my favourites, with Tammy’s resident features: Bella, Pam of Pond Hill and The Button Box. It also features what must be the most extraordinary story ever in girls’ comics: “Cuckoo in the Nest”. There are loads of Cinderella stories, slave stories, animal stories, sports stories and SF stories, but you surely won’t find another serial like this in girls’ comics. Love it or hate it, you can never forget it. Why? It has a boy, Leslie Dodds, as the main protagonist, no less. Also, he is masquerading as a girl at a boarding school, would you believe? The reason for it is bit complicated to explain here, but maybe there’ll be an entry on this one at some point. So we have a boy who has to learn hard and fast about the girls’ world to keep up his masquerade, and the girl readership gets a taste of the boys’ world into the bargain. No doubt the closet male readership enjoyed this story too, along with the footy that’s in it. The story is now on its penultimate episode, which ends on the note that the game is now well and truly up for Leslie, and there’s no place to hide.
Still on the subject of masquerades, aliens are taking over “E.T. Estate” (and then Earth, of course) by switching all the people with themselves as doubles. They try to do this with Jenny Holmes, the only girl who knows what they’re up to. However, this time a weakness comes into play, which causes it to fail. But then Jenny discovers her parents have been switched. How? These aliens may be able to duplicate the human beings they replace, but boy, are they lousy actors! Their impostures would make the “Cuckoo in the Nest” look professional by comparison. Another weakness exposed.
Bella’s current job is gymnastics instructor. There’s nothing new about that, but this time she’s doing it in an Islamic country where teaching oppressed Muslim girls gymnastics gets her caught right up in a modernism versus fundamentalism clash, with an usurper taking advantage to overthrow the Shah Bella works for. Shades of Iran! Right now, Bella’s retelling her pupils the story of how she taught gymnastics in Australia. However, the flashback doesn’t quite square with the original 1978 print. Either there’s something wrong with Bella’s memory or there’s some cavalier editing here.
In Pam of Pond Hill, Tess Bradshaw has gone crazy over synchro swimming. However, an unfair ban (now lifted) on Pond Hill pupils using the public swimming baths at any time and now a clash of instructors have been causing problems. But that is nothing compared with Tess’s biggest problem: her nonstop yakking and bragging about synchro, which constantly annoys everyone if it doesn’t put them off her.
“Just Like a Child…” (reprinted from Strange Stories, with text boxes replacing the Storyteller) is a cautionary tale not to be too quick to dispose of your old childhood treasures, just because you think you’re past them. You never know, as Andrea Owen finds out when she is a little too zealous to switch from toys to teen stuff, only to find that one toy won’t be got rid of that easily.
In Nanny Young, there’s a fake ghost called Sir Roger when the residents of rundown Manor Towers play ‘ghost’ to get publicity to save the manor (which backfires). It might be coincidence, but could this be a reference to Sir Roger from “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost”?