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Last Updated: Friday, 13 February, 2004, 11:13 GMT
Bash Street Kids turn 50
The Bash Street Kids
The Bash Street Kids have been enjoyed by generations of children
The creator of the Bash Street Kids comic strip is toasting its success, 50 years after it first appeared in The Beano comic.

Leo Baxendale said he would be raising a glass of "something fizzy" on Friday to celebrate a "wonderful" landmark.

The format of the comic has changed little during the last 50 years.

Any attempts to make Plug and his Bash Street School classmates more politically correct were abandoned when readers protested.

Mr Baxendale, now retired, was just 22 when he penned the first panel of thousands.

I can't think of anything I'd rather have done in my life than create Bash Street
Leo Baxendale
He said: "The moment I created Bash Street I thought I was creating something that would stretch for decades.

"But for it actually to happen, for 50 years to go by - it's triumphant."

Published by DC Thomson, The Bash Street Kids first appeared in The Beano in February 1954 , joining another Baxendale creation, Minnie the Minx.

Originally titled When the Bell Rings, the strip was renamed two years later as its stars' popularity grew.

Initially envisaged as "a herd of stampeding bison", the gang expanded over the years from a terrible trio to the naughty nine that generations of schoolchildren - and adults - came to love.

Mr Baxendale left the comic in 1962 just as Plug, Danny, 'Erbert, Fatty, Smiffy, Wilfrid, Spotty, Sidney and Toots scooped their first colour spread.

'Very rewarding'

But he said he still received letters and e-mails daily from people reminiscing about old strips.

He said: "I can't think of anything I'd rather have done in my life than create Bash Street and Minnie and all of that.

"It was tremendously rewarding. I found it exhilarating when I was on a roll - when I went to bed I could hardly wait to get up in the morning because it was so exciting.

"And it's wonderful to get so many letters from people who remember stuff from over the decades - not just from Britain but abroad as well."

He added: "It meant so much to people. It's very rewarding for me. I put so much life into my drawing, it's a wonderful thing to get so much back."

But, even after 50 years, he insists he has no favourites.

"People always ask, but I never have. In a way, they were like my offspring."

Andrew Anderson reports
"The Bash Street Kids will be in short trousers for some time yet"

Birthday bash in Bash Street
13 Feb 04  |  Magazine
Drawing Dennis: The Beano at 65
24 Jul 03  |  Magazine
Record money for rare Beano
04 Dec 02  |  Scotland

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