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Fat Slags celebrate Viz birthday
Viz cartoons
The Fat Slags, San and Tray, were dreamt up in 1989

Cartoon characters, The Fat Slags, who were inspired by the women of Mansfield, have been celebrating.

They appear in the 30th anniversary edition of Viz, the comic that once boasted sales in excess of a million.

Artist Graham Dury, who was born and raised in Clifton, recalls that they were initially inspired by women from several parts of Britain.

But when the team had to decide on a definite location for one edition it was Mansfield that got the nod.

Graham still works for Viz, which started production in 1979.

Cartoon icons

Typically tottering in white stilettos and shoehorned into clingy low-cut dresses, the thunder-thighed San and Tray (Sandra Burke and Tracey Tunstall) were celebrated for their indulgence in life's simple pleasures: namely sex, swearing and chips (with all three frequently relished simultaneously).

Created in 1989, on the cusp of Viz's breakthrough from cult status to mega-sales, the pair would try to browbeat unsuspecting men into carnal relations.

Artist Graham Dury admited: "The Fat Slags were thought up by the four of us who worked there at the time, and so they were a bit of a composite."

He got the job of drawing them because he was the only one free at that minute. It meant he was able to make them speak with a Nottinghamshire accent (most of the cartoon characters in Viz had a Geordie accent).

"Simon Thorp, who I write the scripts with, now comes from Pontefract, and so the Fat Slags have ended up as being vaguely Nottinghamy/Yorkshirey in origin," said Graham.

Viz magazine turns 30: Graham Dury speaks to BBC News

"We try not to say where they come from, but we had to in one story and I think we said they lived in Mansfield."

'Too unsubtle'

With admirers as diverse as the late Alan Clark MP and Joan Armatrading, and detractors such as Jo Brand, who called them "too unsubtle", San and Tray became one of Viz's best known comic strips, alongside the likes of Roger Mellie, Johnny Fartpants and Billy the Fish.

The Fat Slags lowest point came in 2004 after critics trashed a live action feature film of the same name, over which Viz had no control.

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