Alison Christie (now Alison Fitt) got her start in comics as a junior sub editor on Bunty at the age of 16. She went on to write for DCT comics Mandy, Tracy and others including nursery titles, Pepper Street, Bimbo and Twinkle and she also worked on Hi! Magazine as well as IPC titles, Tammy and Jinty. She already did an interview on the Jinty resources site which you can find here, but she also kindly gave me more details about her time at DCT as well as the stories she wrote for it. A list of stories she wrote can be found on the next page.
Quick Link: Story list
Memories of working in DC Thomsons:
All the comics were dreamed up and written on the second floor of that big red building in Meadowside, Dundee. There was a long corridor with offices on both sides, marked Dandy Room, or Beezer Room, etc- or the one I was placed in, The Bunty Room. DCT was male orientated. All men worked on these comics, including the girls’ ones! So I was one of the first females to be given a job on Bunty.
My first task was opening the bundles of mail from readers. Many contained photos of school badges, as Bunty had a weekly feature of them on the back page. I also got to sub scripts that came in from free-lance writers. Imagine!( I thought in later years when I was sending scripts down to IPC that there might be some junior journalist subbing mine.) I was also sent on errands- often to the Art department, with artwork needing attention. I hated going there. The artists sat in long rows facing the door, and ogled any female that ventured in. For a young girl like me, it was highly embarrassing. Finally, having come up the best idea for a new serial, I was given the chance to write my first picture story, Queen of the Gypsies.
(Bunty: Queen of the Gypsies)
They were good times, though. The Bunty room looked out on the Howff, Dundee’s ancient grave yard. On hot summer days, us girls would scoff our sandwiches there while sunbathing amongst the grave-stones. On Fridays we received our pay-contained in secretive brown packets brought round on a tray and dished out by Jimmy from the general office below. No being paid through the bank in those days.
I was eventually moved from Bunty onto a new nursery comic called Bimbo, which ran for a while then was replaced by Little Star and Twinkle. Little Star soon folded, but Twinkle kept going. By that time, we had moved to the eighth floor of the new courier building. I wrote Nurse Nancy storylines, and Baby Crocket, plus other features.
I left DCThomsons in 1968 and went free-lance. Still wrote for Twinkle, then started writing picture stories for DCs girls comics – Mandy, later Tracy, a few for Debbie and Nikki. At the same time I began writing picture story serials for IPC down in London. It was a great way to make a living from home, as I had three young children. It was the hey-day of British girls comics, so there were plenty of them to contribute to. But over the years, many of them folded and there weren’t so many left to write for. Though in the early nineties, DC Thomson brought out Pepper Street a bright comic for little ones – followed by HI! a really good magazine for slightly older girls, with photo stories and fashion, etc. Neither ran for very long, but I wrote for both of them while they lasted.
Favourite age group to write for and favourite stories:
I much preferred writing for the girls comics as opposed to the nursery ones. I could get into the characters and think out what they would do or think and develop the storyline about them. Usually weepy emotional stories, though not all.
I liked all my stories but Room in your heart for two and The Cloud on Sunshine cottage in Tracy and Patsy will take my place and Emma’s Umbrella in Mandy, I particularly liked.
(Mandy – “Patsy Will Take My Place!”)