Friday, 8 February 2013

1985 - BEEB ISSUE 1 (Polystyle)

BEEB was the blink-and-you-missed-it (beginning in January 1985) attempt by publisher Polystyle (who'd recently put the long-terminal TV COMIC out of its prolonged misery) to build a rival to LOOK-IN by - sensibly enough - pulling together a look-alike built around BBC properties.

Beeb (of course, the nickname for the corporation) ticked all the boxes with gushing TV, sports and music coverage, all pegged (wherever possible) to BBC shows likely to appeal to kids (as the cover below shows, that inevitably included BLUE PETER and SATURDAY SUPERSTORE).  It's sobering to think that Janet Ellis was considered enough of a draw to prominently feature on the first cover.  

The comic strips included THE FAMILY NESS, ONE BY ONE (groan), TRIPODS (notoriously, the show that managed to make the occupation of Earth by giant alien war machines seem dull), BANANAMAN (already appearing in DC Thompson's NUTTY but winning a slot here by virtue of the Goodies-voiced cartoon)  and - from the States - the (only) comic strip adaptation of Glen Larson's short-lived AUTOMAN (somehow overlooked in the merchandise gallery on the recent DVD release).  

Beeb closed - without warning - a few months later.  I thought it lasted a mere 12 weeks although online sources quote twenty.  LOOK-IN, launched back in January 1971, barely noticed and soldiered on until 1994.

The BBC didn't make the same mistake again: its next venture into the teens-and-under market, FAST FORWARD (1989-95) was published in-house by BBC Magazines and benefited (until the rules changed) from heavy on-air promotion (Fast-fast-Forward) in the critical junction between the official end of CBBC and the beginning of NEIGHBOURS.

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