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The Bash Street Kids

The Bash Street Kids

Fact File

Started:
1954
Finished:
Present

On the 13th of February 1954, a half-page story by the name of 'When the Bell Rings' debuted. Apparently inspired by the view from the Beano Office window, which overlooked Dundee High School's playground, the strip depicted the joyous explosion of children from the confines of the classroom when the home-time bell rang. The pen of Leo Baxendale, already busy on 'Little Plum' and 'Minnie the Minx', was responsible for this breakthrough in comic form, varying between traditional comic strip panels and full page scenes crammed with figures involved in all sorts of mischief.

WTBR 3

Originally these strips and scenes would involve dozens of unruly pupils and hapless teachers, but before too long the focus became the kids of Class IIB, with Danny, Plug, Smiffy, Toots and Sid, Wilfrid, Erbert, Spotty and Fatty gaining in prominence. In November of 1956, the title was changed to the more familiar 'The Bash Street Kids', though by this time the kids had already burst out of the school gates and out of the pages of The Beano, having appeared in prose stories and cover strips in the adventure paper, 'The Wizard' in 1955.

Leo Baxendale continued to draw the chaotic class until 1962, by which time the strip had grown in size into a double page spread. His successor was David Sutherland, a former advertising artist whose earlier work had included producing 8 foot high paintings of major Hollywood stars for cinemas in Glasgow. His earliest Beano work was on adventure strips like 'Danny On A Dolphin' and 'The Great Flood of London'. Taking over from Leo on 'The Bashers' (as Dave calls them) saw his talents taken into a new direction, crazy comedy, which has served him well on Bash Street duties to this day, and also when he succeeded Davey Law on 'Dennis the Menace'.

WTBR 1

The kids' popularity has been shown in various spin-offs, including annuals and summer specials, as well as in the pages of The Beano, where a set of mischievous mutts matching their human owners in looks and attitude, the Bash Street Pups, debuted in 'Pup Parade' in 1967, while class dimwit, Smiffy, has had his own spin-off strips in the 1970s - testing readers' inventions in 'Save Smiffy'- and the 1980s, simply titled 'Simply Smiffy'. More recent years have seen the introduction of 'Singled Out', featuring solo turns from the individual kids. And, in 1977, Class IIB's resident heartthrob (he wishes!!!), Plug, was given his own self-titled comic (and the full name of Percival Plugsley), a glossy, madcap production that lasted 75 weeks before merging with 'The Beezer'.

'The Bash Street Kids' continue to occupy the centre spread of The Beano to this day, still drawn by David Sutherland - with occasional fill in episodes over the years drawn by Nigel Parkinson, John Sherwood, and others. The antics of the kids of Class IIB and their long-suffering Teacher - with occasional support from the school's Head, Olive the world's worst dinner lady, school swot Cuthbert Cringeworthy, Janitor, and his cat Winston - continue to provide top class laughs.

Head over to the Bash Street Kids section of beano.com to download some Class-IIC Class IIB wallpaper!

BSK by DS

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