Tag Archives: Phil Townsend

Jinty 2 February 1980

Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)

Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)

Spirit of the Lake (artist Phil Townsend, writer Benita Brown?)

The Perfect Princess (artist Trini Tinturé)

House of Ghosts (artist Robert MacGillivray) – Gypsy Rose story

Toni on Trial (artist Terry Aspin)

Sports Pages – featuring Karen Witt

Winning Ways 4 (writer Benita Brown)

White Water (artist Jim Baikie)

When Statues Walk… (artist Phil Gascoine)

Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)

In this issue, Alley Cat and Gypsy Rose return for 1980. This week’s Gypsy Rose story (recycled from Strange Stories) brings readers some Robert MacGillivray artwork, which has not been seen in Jinty since “Desert Island Daisy”.

It looks like Laura’s task is to liberate a captive Viking princess in “When Statues Walk…” from these walking Viking clay statues. Another one of them gets broken, and Laura is worried a teacher will discover the secret if she puts the pieces together. 

In “The Perfect Princess”, bratty Princess Victoria gets rid of another rival, Isabella. Sally, the remaining rival, is pleased about that, as Isabella was the favourite. But she doesn’t realise Victoria plans to get rid of her next by making it look like she pulled that trick on Isabella.

Dragon hijinks abound in “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost”. First it’s a dragon teacher, and now Roger’s playing St George with some visitors dressed as a Chinese dragon.

The latest Pam of Pond Hill story adds to the increasing presence of sport in Jinty. Marty Michaels has a big problem: her sister Trina, who goes overboard with crazes, and thinks she either knows it all or can gain it from books. Trina’s latest craze is to become an athlete. Although she eventually realises it’s not for her, it’s the immediate springboard to her next craze: interfering with Marty’s athletics by becoming her self-appointed trainer. Marty thinks this sounds ominous, and she has to be right. We doubt books alone would make anyone a good sports trainer.

In the other sports stories:

Sneaky Cynthia is doing a stakeout to find out what this accelerated learning is that’s turning Karen into a brilliant ice-skater. Of course she can’t see “The Spirit of the Lake”, who’s giving Karen coaching – and as a result, she gets a shock that causes her to have an accident. This could make things awkward for Karen. 

More sabotage for “Toni on Trial” from jealous Julie. This week, she loosens the spikes in Toni’s shoes, and when Toni falls on top of her as a result, she accuses Toni of doing so on purpose. And with so many people thinking badly of Toni because of her mother’s disgrace, it’s all too easy for the accusation to gain traction.

And finally, Bridie has to resort to some “equal rights for women” arguing to get into a canoe club for Boy Scouts. They make their own canoes, which could give her the canoe she needs, but then she discovers there’s a snag – their canoes are for troop use only.

Jinty 19 January 1980

Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)

Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)

Spirit of the Lake (artist Phil Townsend, writer Benita Brown?)

The Perfect Princess (artist Trine Tinturé)

In the Soup! – Cookery feature

Toni on Trial (artist Terry Aspin)

The Battling Burtons – sports feature

Winning Ways 2 (writer Benita Brown) 

White Water (artist Jim Baikie)

Jinty Calendar of Verse – part 2 of a pull-out feature

When Statues Walk… (artist Phil Gascoine, idea Terence Magee, writer Gerry Finley-Day?)

This week’s episode of “When Statues Walk” takes the cover spot, and it is one of Jinty’s best covers. One look, and you can’t take your eyes off it. In the episode, all this haunting by creepy Viking statues is giving Laura nightmares, and the nightmare includes a wolf with a demon tail. But the excavations reveal the body of the wolf in question. Was there more to it than just a dream?

Brother Herbert, the ghost monk from way back in part one of “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost” who gave Sir Roger the power to materialise for more effective haunting, is not pleased to find Sir Roger over-familiarising himself with the living instead. He sends in a ghost bulldog to deal with the matter, but one plate of food from Gaye and he’s their best friend.

In “Pam of Pond Hill”, Terry threatens disco trouble, but Pam strikes at the very heart of the problem – Terry’s brother Stan. His prejudices against teachers, due to bad school experiences, have prompted Terry to become the school troublemaker. Giving Stan a piece of her mind completely turns the corner, and she really surprises Stan in how his prejudices against teachers get challenged. In fact, they get so much challenged that he himself prevents the dreaded disco disaster from happening.

In “Spirit of the Lake” Karen takes to midnight skating to keep things up with her mystery coach. “The Perfect Princess” (not) is now trying to get rid of Sally by tying her up and taking her place at a ball to make trouble for her. In “Toni on Trial”, Toni thinks she’s got the hurdling layout sussed for the trials, but she doesn’t know jealous Julie set up the hurdles at the wrong distance, to make her screw up at the trials. In “White Water”, Bridie disobeys orders not to do canoeing practice unsupervised and gets expelled from the club. Undeterred, she’s going to get her own canoe. 

Jinty 12 January 1980

Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)

Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)

Your Free “Decorette” Transfer – gift 

Spirit of the Lake (artist Phil Townsend, writer Benita Brown?)

The Perfect Princess (artist Trine Tinturé)

Toni on Trial (artist Terry Aspin)

Tracy Austin – feature

Winning Ways (writer Benita Brown) – first appearance

White Water (artist Jim Baikie)

Jinty Calendar of Verse – part 1 of a pull-out feature

When Statues Walk… (artist Phil Gascoine, idea Terence Magee, writer Gerry Finley-Day?)

Grate Idea! – cookery feature

It’s New Year, and Jinty celebrates with part one of a pullout calendar, in verse, which also takes the cover spot this week. Starting “Winning Ways”, a feature on sports tips, was also fitting to start at New Year, and part one is this issue. “Winning Ways” was written by Benita Brown, who is thought to have written “Spirit of the Lake”, Jinty’s only ice-skating story. No new stories can begin for New Year in this issue, as the current ones still have a way to go, and “The Perfect Princess” is only on its second episode. 

Jinty sure has been getting bigger on sports over the December–January period. She now has sports pages, “Winning Ways”, and three sports serials: “Spirit of the Lake” (ice-skating), “Toni on Trial” (athletics), and “White Water” (canoeing). 

There are disco problems in “Gaye’s Gloomy Ghost”, in the form of a ghost jester. When Sir Roger unwittingly upstages him at the disco, he’s riled and is going to lodge an official complaint. 

Sally Smith steals a girl’s identity to get into the contest for “The Perfect Princess” to replace Victoria, the princess who’s been deemed unfit to inherit the throne because she’s a real terror. Knowing girl’s comics, Sally can only get away with that deception for so long, and she’s had one narrow escape already. Meantime, Sally has an even bigger problem – Victoria is trying to get rid of her and the other candidates, and she’s got rid of one already. But Victoria may find Sally is not so easy to get rid of.

Another terror, Terry, threatens trouble in Pam of Pond Hill. Pam is helping her form teacher, Miss Peeble, to find her feet. She’s lacking in confidence and assertion, has a lot of unruly kids in her class and other pupils walk over her, and now she’s in charge of the school disco. But Terry is bringing in even more larrikins with him to the disco and says it’ll be a riot. Disco dread for Pam, and will it be disco disaster for Miss Peeble?

And speaking of terrors, terror really ups the scale in this week’s episode of “When Statues Walk…”. A statue walks all right – right into Laura’s flat for the pendant in her possession! Thanks to Laura’s dog, it doesn’t succeed. And now there’s a very tearful call for help coming from the pendant. 

Spirit of the Lake (1979-1980)

Sample Images

Published: Jinty 22 December 1979 to 19 April 1980

Episodes: 18

Artist: Phil Townsend

Writer: Benita Brown?

Translations/reprints: None known

The Christmas season is a good time to look at serials with winter themes and snow settings, so we bring you this ice skating story from Jinty. Jinty herself must have thought the same way, as she started publishing it over the Christmas period. It sure made for a beautiful Christmas season cover!

Plot

When Karen Carstairs’ father dies, her mother thinks it’s so kindly for their Graham relatives to take them in. But when they arrive, Karen soon discovers it’s not so kindly. Aunt Margaret, a mean woman in both senses of the word, only wants Mum as unpaid help around the house and gives them the less comfortable apartments upstairs. Cousin Cynthia, the best ice skater in the county, is a spiteful minx and clearly her mother’s daughter. Only the uncle is kind to them, but he is too good-natured to see how nasty his wife and daughter are to their relatives.

Uncle suggests Cynthia take Karen down to the lake and teach her how to ice skate. Cynthia doesn’t look too thrilled at this as she hands Karen a pair of skates. At the lake, she and her friends are laughing at how badly Karen is doing and don’t bother with her anymore. Then a mysterious woman comes skating up, tells Karen she did badly because the blades are in poor condition (surprise, surprise!) and offers to teach Karen herself. Under her guidance, Karen is soon doing much better. Cynthia sees this and immediately smells a rival. But she doesn’t seem to be able to see the lady. 

Back home, Uncle spots how poor the skates are and gives Karen good ones from the dozens of pairs they have. Cynthia says she didn’t notice the state of the blades (yeah, right). 

For Karen, the lady and skating are now the only bright moments in what is clearly going to be a miserable time with her aunt and cousin. But Mum doesn’t realise she’s being taken advantage of with all these dogsbody tasks Aunt keeps finding for her. Karen tries to tell her this and helps her out wherever possible; the work is very hard and it’s telling on Mum. Even though Mum eventually gets some inkling of it herself, she feels she has to do it out of gratitude for the home they’ve been offered. 

The strange skating lessons continue, with Karen making strides and Cynthia thinking Karen’s making things up or something with this mysterious lady. Karen begins to realise the lady only appears when she’s alone, and only she can see her. And she’s miles better than Cynthia. She now takes to going to the lake early to make sure she’s alone with the lady, but this gets her into trouble at home and she’s banned from skating for a week. This makes things awkward; the lady has warned the ice will thaw soon and Karen must come as often as she can before that happens, and the lady can’t guarantee coaching her at the ice rink. However, when Karen saves a farmer’s child’s life, Uncle graciously lifts the ban.

Now it’s skating by moonlight, which Karen now deems the safest time to meet the lady. Karen is surprised to briefly see a man skating with the lady, but he disappears as mysteriously as the lady herself. And the lady insists Karen ask no questions about her. And there are a lot to ask – like who is she, and why and how does she seem to disappear into thin air?

Meanwhile, it doesn’t take Cynthia long to catch on to the moonlight skating. She sneaks out to spy on it, and soon detects something very odd is going on. When it looks like Karen is just flying through the air (the lady is holding her), Cynthia faints dead away and takes a bump on the head. She mumbles about what she saw to Karen before fainting again, and now Karen knows something really strange is going on. Karen gets the farmer to help Cynthia home. As well as getting trouble over this and skating at night, which Uncle says could be dangerous, there are damned awkward questions for Karen to answer about just what happened. 

Cynthia says she can’t remember what happened after that knock on the head, which helps Karen to cover up about what happened. And Cynthia suddenly going nice to Karen, even urging that Karen go on skating when Aunt tries to ban her. But of course it’s just an act. Sneaky Cynthia remembers everything and is determined to find out just who is coaching Karen, which is the only way she could have made such strides so fast with skating. Then the lady appears and warns Karen that Cynthia is speed-skating into danger, as the other end of the lake is thawing fast. Karen saves Cynthia in the nick of time, but Cynthia is suspicious as to how Karen knew about that thawing ice in the first place. For her part, Karen is suspicious as to why Cynthia didn’t notice the sludging ice, a warning of dangerous ice ahead. She noticed it herself when she went after Cynthia, and Cynthia is a far more experienced skater than her. Good question, but it’s never answered in the story.

Anyway, the lake is finished for skating and now it’s the rink for both of them. Aunt agrees to allow Karen to skate at the rink, but she will only pay for her skating sessions, not extra coaching like Cynthia. Meanwhile, Karen is worried as to how she will cope at the rink without the lady coaching her, but in a dream, the lady reassures her that she will try to find a way to help her. 

At the rink, Karen soon discovers Cynthia is not at all grateful to her for the rescue. She isn’t having her friends making a heroine out of Karen over it and tries to play down Karen’s heroism by lying about what happened. Nonetheless, Karen makes a friend out of one girl, Diane, who gives her the skating outfit and tights Karen didn’t know she should have (and Cynthia obviously didn’t tell her). The coach, Miss Baker, spots Karen’s talent and wants her in Cynthia’s class. Pretending to be the nice aunt in front of everyone, Karen’s aunt agrees to pay for the extra coaching after all. 

Also, Miss Baker says something that could be the first clue to the lady’s identity: “I see you’ve inherited the family talent, Karen. You remind me of the Great Margot!” Later, Aunt tells Karen the great Margot must be her husband’s great aunt, Margot Graham, who was an Olympic skating star in the 1920s. She became a very rich and famous film star and died just after the war. At home, when Karen reflects on the day’s events, she realises the lady did find ways to be there at the rink for her. 

After the first lesson, Karen stays on her own for extra practice, and the tune “The Haunted Lake” from a Margot Graham film, starts playing. Once Karen’s on her own, the mysterious lady appears and skates to the music, saying it’s her music. Now Karen realises the lady is Margot Graham – but she is dead, which means…oh, finally caught on, have you, Karen?

Under Margot’s tuition, Karen makes further strides that impress the girls, but this odd talking to herself (actually, the ghost that the others can’t see) is making Cynthia suspicious. And she is so jealous at how her cousin is upstaging her as best skater that she decides it’s time to bring out her big guns. 

Cynthia makes her move when Karen is given a record of “The Haunted Lake” by another friend at the rink, David, who operates the control room. She smashes the record, but then the music starts playing from somewhere else. 

No, it’s not ghost music. It’s the television set, which is screening “The Haunted Lake” – and talk about life (or death?) imitating art! In the film, Margot plays a ghost haunting a lake who teaches a girl to ice skate. This has Karen babbling about Margot is now doing the same thing with her. This provides Aunt Margaret with her excuse to stop Karen skating, saying she’s ill. Meanwhile, Uncle says that the lake was where Margot first learned to skate. She always wanted to return there but was too busy with her career. Eventually, she booked a flight home to do it, but the plane crashed, killing everyone on board.  

Mum shows Karen a book she has found about famous skaters. Karen now learns the name of the male skater she once saw Margot dancing with. He was another Olympic champion, Rudi Linde, and after Margot’s death he opened a skating school in Switzerland before dying just after the war. 

Cynthia snatches the book away and says she’s going for an audition to win a scholarship at that skating school, now run by Rudi Linde Jnr. Karen then overhears an argument between her aunt and uncle over whether she should audition as well. Miss Baker had suggested it, but Aunt told her Karen was ill. Moreover, allowing Karen to audition could spoil Cynthia’s chances. Rather weakly, Uncle gives in. Furious, Karen decides to go for the audition. 

So Karen makes her way to the rink to put a programme together. But she has to walk to the bus stop, which means a long in the snow. Worse, Cynthia and Aunt have discovered what she’s up to and give chase. They lose her, but are confident she’ll end up lost or too tired for any auditioning. Sure enough, snow is now falling and Karen’s in danger of getting lost. However, they have reckoned without Margot, who guides Karen to the town and the rink, presumably through a short cut. But then comes another snag – the rink is closed because of the upcoming audition, which means no practice or chance to put a programme together. 

David comes to the rescue. He helps Karen slip in to prepare for the audition, and as she is alone, Margot appears to help her. Cynthia, Mum and Aunt burst in, with Aunt trying to block Karen from the audition again. However, Miss Baker saw Karen skating brilliantly, and as Karen is clearly not ill, she insists she take the audition, which can now begin as Linde Jnr is here. 

Cynthia goes first, and she’s definitely on form. Karen is off to a somewhat uncertain start, but when “The Haunted Lake” music comes on, it gives her the boost to narrowly beat the more experienced Cynthia and win the scholarship. Karen now learns Margot was Linde Jnr’s mother; Linde Snr and Margot married, but kept the marriage secret from their fans, a common thing for film stars at the time. So Linde Jnr and Karen are relatives, and the family talent is now explained – the skating genes of Margot Graham run through both Karen and Cynthia. 

Mum is given a job at the Linde school, so she’s coming to Switzerland with Karen and is no longer Aunt Margaret’s drudge. Uncle apologises to them for how his wife and daughter made their stay unhappy. At the school, Karen makes brilliant progress, and she still feels the presence of Margot when she’s skating alone. 

Thoughts

This is a good, solid read, and the letters page indicates it was a popular story. It certainly has plenty in it to make it so: a Cinderella theme, a nasty cousin who is utterly irredeemable, a wicked stepmother type, ghosts, ice skating, a fairy godmother figure, and a girl with a wonderful secret. There’s also the Phil Townsend art, which is always popular and can be turned to a variety of genres. It is perfect for the snow settings in the story and does a good job on bringing the skating to life. 

Some of the story elements we have seen many times before, but it’s nice to get some new takes on them. For example, it’s the mother who’s the Cinderella of the story rather than the heroine, who takes the more novel role of Buttons. We have no doubt if Karen had arrived alone to her relatives’ house, she would have been the Cinderella, with the Aunt using far more blackmail tactics to keep her in line as Karen isn’t falling for her tricks the way her mother does. It’s nice to see one relative who’s nice instead of both being horrible and exploitative, which is the usual case in Cinderella serials. The only problem with the uncle is that he’s a bit naive in not being able to see how horrible his wife is being, and he may also be lacking a little backbone. For example, in the quarrel with his wife over whether Karen should go to the audition, he gives in a little too readily despite his reluctance and what should have been a red flag: his wife saying Karen shouldn’t go to the audition because it would spoil Cynthia’s chances. We have to wonder why he married her at all, as he is far nicer than she is. 

Unlike regular Cinderella protagonists, the mother in the Cinderella role is not even trying to fight or break free of her exploitation because she can’t see it for what it is, despite Karen trying to tell her. She thinks it’s fair exchange for the home they’ve been given and doing it is an expression of gratitude. Even when the uncle apologises for it in the end, her response is more gratitude for the home they were given. 

Oh, what kind of home? It’s clearly a dismal one with Cynthia and her mother. Karen’s pursuit of skating and the mystery lady are the only bright spots and relief in what is otherwise a miserable situation. And when Cynthia’s response to Karen saving her life is more jealousy and spite, it’s established once and for all that this is a home they must break away from. Those two are beyond redemption and will never change, so there is no living with them.

It’s also good to see the ghost/fairygodmother figure is not a deus ex machina. There are limits to her powers because she can only appear when Karen is on her own, so she can’t always be there to bail Karen out. She can still find ways to help where possible, but it’s done in subtle ways, without Karen even realising she’s doing it, which actually helps Karen even more that way. It gives Karen scope to stretch her own development in skating and not be too dependent on her mystery lady. In the audition scene we sense Karen really is winning it all on her own, without Margot’s help, except for a last-minute boost of needed confidence. 

The story makes a fine job of explaining how Margot came to be haunting the lake, but it’s a real surprise twist to have the haunting inspired by a movie she did in life. The family connection was clearly another reason why she appeared to Karen, but that’s not to say she can’t appear to anyone who needs it. For all we know, Margot is still haunting the lake, waiting to help another prospective skater to stardom as she did with Karen. 

Jinty 2 December 1978

The Girl Who Never Was (artist Terry Aspin)

Sue’s Fantastic Fun-Bag! (artist Hugh Thornton-Jones)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)

Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)

No Cheers for Cherry (artist Phil Gascoine)

Let’s Go Nuts! Cookery feature

Jinty’s Top-Model Game – feature 

She Shall Have Music (artist Ron Smith)

Sea Sister (artist Peter Wilkes)

Fran’ll Fix It! (artist Jim Baikie)

The Human Zoo (artist Guy Peeters, writer Malcolm Shaw)

Home-made Christmas cards – feature 

It is now December, and Jinty is starting off the countdown to the festive season with a feature on how to make your own Christmas cards. Sadly, the rest of her Christmas countdown got cut off by a strike, causing her to miss three issues that December. In the New Year, Jinty belatedly printed the episode of Fran’s Christmas party, which must have been intended for the Christmas issue. Strangely, Tammy was not affected and had all her issues that month. Perhaps the IPC strikes did not affect their titles all the same way.

As we see on the cover, things are getting stormy in “Sea Sister”, and she’s not the only serial with it this week. Storms and floods are turning the tide in both “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “The Human Zoo” and helping our heroes to escape their respective confinements. In the former, it’s a cruel children’s home. In the latter, it’s an alien lab, which is also demonstrating that the aliens, so advanced compared to Earth, are light-years behind Earth when it comes to a flood crisis. Their technology is not made for water except in avoiding it. There’s no water drainage, no boating vessels, no flood control, no rain gear or umbrellas. They can’t even swim although they have seen it from humans. All because they are afraid of water, presumably because of their evolution.  

The Girl Who Never Was is given some magic spells to help her survive in the magic world, but there are drawbacks. The biggest one is a limit on the number of spells, so Tina has to really use her head in how she uses them – or avoid wasting them. Will it help the selfish Tina acquire the good sense she badly needs?

In “She Shall Have Music”, good sense is still very far from Lisa’s thinking. Her parents have given her an electronic piano so at least she has something for piano practice, but the arrogant Lisa considers it way beneath her and angrily kicks it to pieces like the spoiled brat she is. Her parents are deeply hurt, but all she can think about is piano, piano, piano. Then she tracks down her original piano, which is going up for auction. Knowing how obsessive she is about getting that piano back, this can only mean more trouble. 

Sue and her fun-bag are annoyed at how Aunt Thora goes on and on at how you should spread a little happiness wherever you go and keep a smile on your face at all times…with Henrietta around, that is asking for it!

In Alley Cat, Spotty Muchloot thinks he’s foiled Alley Cat at last when he bells the cat, but it backfires on him because of unforeseen consequences.

Fran plays Dick Turpin and “ghost” to keep a horse safe from crooks, but they track her and the horse down all the same. Better come up with something fast to fix them, Fran!

Cherry’s luck finally seems to have changed, with a big chance that could finally break her free of the relatives that she doesn’t even realise are exploiting her. But we’re not counting our chickens with her still in the clutches of those sneaky relatives.

Jinty 18 November 1978

The Girl Who Never Was (artist Terry Aspin)

Alley Cat (artist Rob Lee)

Limerick Winners – contest results

Somewhere Over the Rainbow (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)

No Cheers for Cherry (artist Phil Gascoine)

Welcome to…Rainbow Corner! – Feature 

Shadow Games – Feature

She Shall Have Music (artist Ron Smith)

Sea Sister (artist Peter Wilkes)

Fran’ll Fix It! (artist Jim Baikie)

The Human Zoo (artist Guy Peeters, writer Malcolm Shaw)

Biscuit bonanza – feature

Fran sure deserves the cover spot this week because of her latest potty antic – landing a horse she’s trying to protect in the school swimming pool! She’s really excelled herself this time. 

Spotty Muchloot pulls another trick on Alley Cat, this time to keep him tracked and stop him pinching his food. But of course Alley Cat’s fast to detect it and turn the tables on Spotty. 

Tina (The Girl Who Never Was) and Lisa (She Shall Have Music) continue to make their difficult situations even more difficult for themselves because of their selfish attitudes, because of which they can’t see beyond themselves or realise there could be different ways to handle their situations. At the end of it, it looks like Lisa’s in trouble in front of the whole school, but there’s a strange development for Tina. 

This week, our space aliens in “The Human Zoo” demonstrate that in some ways, they are not as advanced as we first thought, and Earth has the upper hand over them in some areas. Shona and her friend Laika glimpse the aliens’ farming methods – which is done by hand ploughs and tools, and captured humans as (cruelly treated) beasts of burden – while Earth, far less advanced, has long since gone over to mechanised farming in developed nations. These aliens have the flying saucer, food replicator robots, a time machine and the flying skateboard, but they don’t have the frikkin’ tractor?! The logic to it is that farming machines would need repair and maintenance, whereas slave humans can be quickly replaced. Oh? For how much longer? The aliens are driving native humans to extinction, and it is getting too expensive to take ones from Earth. Considering how efficient and cost-effective Earth’s mechanised agriculture is by comparison, these aliens would do well to take a leaf or two out of our book. Well, on to the alien city, where things take a surprising but weird twist in Shona’s search for her lost sister Jenny. 

A police cell? That’s the latest shelter for our runaway orphans in search of the home “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, as the police haven’t anywhere else to put them. Don’t worry, the door’s not locked. The police have to do their duty and send them back where they started, but our orphans are working – well, singing – their way to the policemen’s hearts. 

Cherry gets an audition, but whether by accident or design, her mercenary relatives have dolled her up to such ridiculous levels that Cherry’s not on form for it. Can she recover and turn things around, or will there be no cheers for her again?

“Sea Sister” finds the stone she came for. The trouble is, it’s been set into a wall to fix a hole. And she’s growing attached to her new friend, Jane Bush, but she can only stay until she retrieves the stone. Things are definitely getting problematic. 

Tammy 28 August 1982

Cover artist: John Armstrong

A Horse Called September (artist Eduardo Feito, writer Anne Digby (Pat Davidson))

Saving Grace (artist Juliana Buch, writer Ian Mennell)

Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Malcolm Shaw)

A Gran for the Gregorys (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie)

Cross on Court (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Gerry Finley-Day) – first episode

Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)

Camping Sights (Mari L’Anson)

Nanny Young (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – final episode

Slave of the Clock (artist Maria Barrera, writer Jay Over)

Treasures from the Seashore (Chris Lloyd) – feature

For 1982 in our Tammy August month round, we profile the final issue in that month. It’s the seventh issue since the new look Tammy was launched. The credits, a little uneven in the relaunch issue, now seem to have been ironed out more. As with a new comic, the relaunch is a little experimental, with some stories and features quickly canned and replacements tried, while other stories prove to be popular and played for all they’re worth. 

A new Mario Capaldi story, “Cross on Court”, replaces his previous one, “Come Back Bindi”. Bindi was Jenny McDade’s swansong; it only lasted six episodes when it could have been played for longer. Was it meant to be short, or did it get cut short for some reason? “A Gran for the Gregorys”, a story I liked, lasted eight episodes (ending next issue), but I felt it could have had more episodes and ended too soon. Nanny Young’s story ends this week, presumably to make way for something else, but she returns later.

“Saving Grace” and “Slave of the Clock” are definite hits, and the latter is remembered as a classic. The current Bella story had me hooked when it appeared; Bella loses her memory, and the unscrupulous Barlows are taking advantage of course. Interestingly, it was written by Malcolm Shaw, whereas all the other credited Bella stories were written by Primrose Cumming. “A Horse Called September”, an adaptation of the book by the same name, started later than the relaunch. It is guaranteed to be a smash with Anne Digby as the writer and the gorgeous equestrian artwork of Eduardo Feito. The Pam of Pond Hill story has a story arc that will keep it going for quite a while, and with a secret saboteur as the antagonist, it will definitely keep readers riveted. 

Tammy and Princess 2 June 1984

Cover artists: Trini Tinturé and Juliana Buch

Bella (artist John Armstrong, Primrose Cumming)

No Use to Anyone! (artist Eduardo Feito)

Pride of the Lamports (artist Hugo D’Adderio) – Pony Tale

Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)

Shape Up to Summer with Bella (feature)

Stefa’s Heart of Stone (artist Phil Townsend, writer Alison Christie) – final episode

Take the Plunge! (Mari L’Anson) – feature 

The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Alison Christie)

I’m Her – She’s Me! (artist Phil Gascoine)

Cora Can’t Lose (artist Juliana Buch)

Sadie in Waiting (artist Joe Collins)

We now come to the end of our Tammy June month round with June 1984. In fact, this was the last month Tammy would ever appear. She was cut off by a strike with the 23rd June issue and was not brought back to finish her stories. Everything was forever left tantalisingly unfinished.

If not for the strike, Tammy would have been cancelled in August for her own merger into Girl (second series). As June progressed, there were signs of Tammy heading for the merger, with some double episodes and the disappearance of the Princess logo on her last published issue. Princess had only merged with Tammy two months earlier, so her logo lasted the shortest of any comic to merge with Tammy. The Tammy logo had also changed with the merger, going from straight colour to an eye-catching rainbow colour. Many of the covers are pretty summer scenes (well, it was summer) and an inset of a story panel.

For the moment, the buildup to the Girl merger has not yet started. Tammy’s still on the Princess (second series) merger. “Stefa’s Heart of Stone”, which came over from Princess (reprinted from Jinty), finishes this week. This was the last story to be completed from Princess. This will give more scope for the buildup to the merge with Girl.

Right now, it’s pretty much business as usual. With the last of the serials from Princess gone, Sadie in Waiting is the only Princess feature remaining. The current serials could be scripted for either Tammy or Princess. The one remembered the most is “Cora Can’t Lose”, which built up to an exciting conclusion, only to be cut off by the strike, to the eternal frustration of readers. The other serials that started in the remaining weeks of Tammy got cut off as well. But it may not be too late, even all these years later. Perhaps Rebellion can do something to redress the matter. 

Tammy 11 June 1983

Cover artist: Phil Gascoine

Portrait of Doreen Gray (artist Tony Coleman (credited as George Anthony), writer Charles Herring)

The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Alison Christie)

Backhand Play (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Ian Mennell) – first episode

School Days (artist Phil Townsend, writer Ian Mennell) – complete story

Enchanted June (artist Alma Jones, writer Maureen Spurgeon) – feature 

Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming)

Different Strokes (artist Santiago Hernandez, writer Charles Herring)

Jaws Three (artist Phil Townsend, writer Gerry Finley-Day)

Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)

Heatwave! (Mari L’Anson) – feature 

Now we come to the 1983 issue in our Tammy June month round. As it so happens, the issue has a feature about popular British folklore in June (below), which makes it even more flavoursome for our June month theme. At this time, Tammy liked to run a feature on a particular month and the folklore that went with it.

We are now in the era where Tammy ran credits and her covers used story illustrations taken from the panels inside. Jinty did the same thing for several years before she changed to Mario Capaldi covers on 21/28 June 1980. This era of Tammy also had a new logo.

This issue has a gorgeous Phil Gascoine cover, which heralds Gascoine’s new story, “Backhand Play”, the last tennis serial Tammy published. A number of tennis stories appeared in Tammy over the years, such as “Backhand Billie” and “Double – Or Nothing!”. But the one that has to be the classic is “Becky Never Saw the Ball”, about a tennis player making a comeback after going blind. 

Bella and Pam of Pond Hill continue as the regular characters. There are two other regulars strips that appear now. One is a weekly complete story, with themes ranging from the supernatural to romance. Some of these completes reprint old Strange Stories, with text boxes replacing the Storyteller. The other is “The Button Box”. The Button Box is a storyteller theme (minus the supernatural), with Bev Jackson bringing a story every week from her button box. Each button has a story to tell, and often a moral along with it. This week’s moral: if you show a little kindness, it will be rewarded. Like having your life saved, which is what happens with the only man who showed kindness to a beggar girl who is bullied by everyone else in an Italian village. 

Tammy has had a higher number of serials since she dropped a lot of old regulars on 17 July 1982. And now she has credits, we can not only see who is behind the stories but also the types of stories some of her writers favoured. For example, we can see from the credits that Alison Christie favoured heart-tugging emotional stories and Charles Preston spooky completes. Perhaps Preston used to write on Strange Stories, Gypsy Rose and Misty. Other writers, such as Malcolm Shaw, Ian Mennell and Charles Herring, wrote on a wider variety of genres. 

Tammy & Jinty 5 June 1982

Cover artist: John Armstrong

Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming ) – new story

The Devil’s Mark (artist Phil Townsend) – Monster Tales

Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)

Wee Sue (artist John Richardson) – Old Friends

Nanny Young (artist Phil Gascoine)

The Human Zoo (artist Guy Peeters, writer Malcolm Shaw)

Make Waves! (Mari L’Anson) – feature

Wheels of Death (artist Ken Houghton) – Strange Story

Di and the Dolphins (artist Eduardo Feito)

We come to 1982 in our Tammy June month round, and the Tammy & Jinty merger era. The following month, everything in the merger was swept away for everything to start new and anew in the new look Tammy on 17 July 1982. So the weeks leading up to it was clearing the decks, with double episodes of serials, some material cut from “The Human Zoo”, and new stories shorter in length, such as new Bella story starting here. The Jinty logo has shrunk, another sign the Jinty merger was on its way out.

Bella’s new story is the last Bella story to have the cover spot in the splash panel cover era. The story begins with Bella having nowhere to go but Uncle Jed and Aunt Gert, which usually means slaving for them until she finds a way to break free and pursue her gymnastics. She is astonished to find them coming over all nice to her, but they have a long track record of phoney niceness to her when it suits them, and this is no exception. 

The merger regulars (Monster Tales, Old Friends and the Strange Stories) carry on as usual. Nanny Young, a new regular that started with the merger, and Pam of Pond Hill, which came over from the merger, will continue with the new look Tammy. Bessie, Molly, Tansy and Wee Sue are in rotation as the “Old Friends” regular, but they look tired and clearly on their very last legs.

As there are so many regulars with the merger, there is not much room for serials. One reader even wrote in during the merger asking for more serials and no more “Old Friends”. She got her wish with the new look Tammy, with “Old Friends” dropped and the number of regulars reduced, which allowed for more serials. Right now, we have “Di and the Dolphins” and a welcome reprint of “The Human Zoo” from Jinty. 

The current Pond Hill story puts more focus on Pam’s boyfriend Goofy than usual. Goofy, a bit on the bumbling side, wants to prove he can be good at something. His choice is making and entering a soapbox racer in a derby. He is adamant Pam is to stay out of it and not help in any way, saying she’s too interfering. Trouble is, he’s making things too difficult for her not to interfere! It’s soon evident he doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s bitten off more than he can chew, and he badly needs the help he so adamantly refuses.