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Thursday, February 18, 1999 Published at 12:11 GMT


Real Dennis the Menace sought

Dennis recently got an equally naughty baby sister

A nationwide search is on for a real-life Dennis the Menace - the child that most resembles the comic book character will win a special prize.

The hunt for the naughtiest child in the UK is being organised by Beano, the comic which created the character of Dennis and Fox Kids TV channel .

But the organisers say they are not seeking to encourage troublesome children and have made a few stipulations.

[ image: Do you know a child as bad as Dennis?]
Do you know a child as bad as Dennis?
"Not wishing the country to be ravaged by a plague of naughtiness, we insist that the nominations must be based on past misdeeds," said a spokesperson for the TV channel.

Euan Kerr the editor of The Beano said: "I'm sure every parent thinks their child is worse than Dennis.

"We are just looking for some funny stories about the things high-spirited kids have got up to over the years.

"In fact it could be an adult who wins as all the pranks must have happened in the past... we are absolutely not aiming to encourage bad behaviour."

The hunt for the UK's "mega-menace" was launched by soccer star Paul Gascoigne - himself a member of the Dennis the Menace Fan Club.

The judges will be looking for children who may have aped some of Dennis the Menace's high spirited pranks. In the past these have included:

  • Pouring custard down his Dad's Y-fronts
  • Putting stink bombs in his baby sister's nappy
  • Filling his Grandad's morning prunes with curry sauce
  • And "restyling" his Mum's designer hair-do while she is asleep.

The 10 finalists will spend a day at the TV studios and the winning boy or girl will be drawn in caricature as Dennis the Menace, by a Beano artist. The competition is linked to the screening of the Dennis the Menace cartoon on the channel.

Dennis made his first appearance in the Beano in 1951. The early Dennis was shorter and rounder than the more familiar character of later years, but his pranks were always as outrageous.

Would-be menaces should watch out though, Dennis exploits usually land him with a well-earned spanking from his dad.

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