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Janie Jungle Nurse

  • Janie Jungle Nurse –  Emma: #24 (05 August 1978) – #29 (09 September 1978)

Plot

Jane Morrison is a newly qualified nurse and is set to join her Uncle Harry’s practice located in the African bush. When she arrives it is not quite what she expected, instead of a fine clinic, Harry runs his practice from a leaky old boat “The Flying Queen” and accepts whatever payment  he can including chickens! It seems Janie read more into his letters  then was actually there. The only staff he has is a young girl Kari, who would like to be a nurse and her parents. Janie wants to go home the next day but as there are no buses she is stuck for the meantime. When a fire breaks out a nearby village, Janie saves a young child and Harry is impressed by her work and quick thinking. Janie is still ready to leave as soon as possible. Her plans are blocked when Harry falls ill and despite her best efforts, he passes away after making her promise to carry on his work.

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With the help of Kari, Janie sets out to live up to her promise. She feels she has to earn the villagers trust and prove to them (and herself) that she can take Harry’s place. So when there is a mad bull on the loose, Janie tackles the problem herself by spearing it with a sleeping dose. The next episode is even more dramatic as a helicopter lands and men grab Janie and Kari. They tell her they are freedom fighters and they need medical treatment for a hostage as he is no good to them dead. He then threatens her, if the hostage dies then she will die too. The hostage is the son of British Consulate, and Janie quickly comes up with a plan. She says she needs a particular medicine which she uses an opportunity to slip out a secret message. When the group are distracted by arrival of government helicopters, Janie takes out their guard with chloroform and uses his gun to hold off the others. As thanks, for saving his son’s life the Consulate sends Janie a load of medical supplies.

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Next a couple, Mr and Mrs Farr arrive claiming Harry had invited them to spend some time on The Flying Queen. Janie agrees to host them but think there is something off about them. When a local tribe offer to share a feast she is not happy to hear they are eating elephant meat, but they claim they didn’t kill it, they found it dead without tusks. Everyone starts feeling drowsy and on the way back to the boat, Mrs Farr falls into the water. Janie fights off her own drowsiness to jump in at save her, under the water she also see the tusks tied under the boat. She confronts Mr Farr, and gets him to confess to what drug he shot the elephant with (which was still in the meat they ate), Soon after the district officer takes the Farrs away.

Janie’s not the only one that can be quick thinking. Kari proves her worth when they need money for oranges, (for patients lacking vitamin C), Kari shows Janie how to barter and exchange things at the market. When thieves run by, Kari trips them with a spear she just got and then pins thief with spear when he grabs Janie. The next episode sees more thieves as Janie is picking up medical supplies at the supply post. Janie tries to stop the men and in the struggle some bottles get broken. When they go to leave in their  truck, Janie still won’t give up smashing a glass bottle in front of the tyres. They then say they will use her boat to carry the supplies. Then one of the men comes out in red spots, Janie says he is highly contagious and deadly and both men need injections immediately. Obviously not the smartest of men they agree to this and Janie sends them to sleep. It was just an allergic reaction to the smashed bottles earlier but Janie has used it to her advantage. This is the last episode but still left the possibility of further adventures as Janie says life as a Jungle nurse is never boring!

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Thoughts

This is quite a short story and the pacing isn’t great it feels rushed in places. Considering that issue #30 of Emma introduced 6 new stories, it seems likely that there was pressure to shorten the story, to make way for these new stories. The new line up was a stronger set of stories and included a new nurse story Holly of Hazard Unit that ran for 19 issues.

The premise of Janie Jungle Nurse, seems solid enough the character of Janie is not happy to find that the great clinic she imagined is actually an old boat and she wants to leave as soon as she can. In the first episode she comes across as a bit bratty and as she is stuck there for the time being it would be a good point to let the character grow and slowly overcome her reluctance. Instead it’s very jarring to start the next episode with Uncle Harry on his death bed, with no build up to an illness and Janie promising to continue his work.  She does briefly mention she would rather go back to England but won’t break her promise. But then the rest of the episodes she’s fully involved in helping and wanting to prove herself, a complete turnaround.

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Also quite underdeveloped is some other characters, Kari’s parents, usually just hang around in the background, her mother is never even named and doesn’t even get a line to speak. Her father does a bit better, he is named as Zake but only gets some input in episode 2. It would also have been nice to see Janie help more with Kari’s nursing ambitions, but this isn’t mentioned after the first episode again. Overall there isn’t much time spent on actual nursing, as the focus is usually  on more extreme situations, namely defeating kidnappers, thieves and poachers!

Of course there is no rule that says the story should  focus on her profession more, it works fine as a more action orientated story. The artwork certainly helps capture the action scenes and interesting surroundings. Each episode was quite action packed and Janie is very proactive  and capable. There is a lot to admire about Janie and she is very brave and adept at action. Actually a lot of the Emma stories had capable fighters as protagonists, whether it be because of the situation they found themselves in (e.g. Angie) or because they trained themselves (e.g. Yang Ling). The ending does seem to leave it open for a return of more adventures, if it was popular enough. But being so short it didn’t seem to catch the same attention that other stories did and as well there were more deserving stories that I would pick first for follow ups. Of course the Emma comic itself was also short lived, lessening the chance of Janie to return.

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Angie

  • Angie –  Emma: #01 (26 February 1978) – #09 (29 April 1978)
  • Art: Ian Kennedy

Plot

Angie Martin, a district nurse sets out in the morning to visit patients. She intends to drop her younger sister, Sally, to school along the way. Unknown to her, not too far away, a bullion robbery is taking place as 3 armed men take on a security van. One of the security men goes to raise the alarm and a robber (Lonny) threatens him with a gun. Another robber (Jimmy) intervenes, but gets shot himself. The three men escape but Jimmy needs medical attention. They spot Angie and take her and Sally so she can fix Jimmy up.  They hear on the radio that the police now know Lonny’s name due to Jimmy’s slip up, so they dump their van, and hide out in an empty cottage.  Angie starts to think about how her and her sister can escape, she slips tablets into the men’s tea, but luck isn’t on her side as Lonny spills his drink and she has no more tablets to use. When Jimmy and Vic pass out, Lonny figures she is involved and ties her up.

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Angie takes advantage of every opportunity she has to escape. Lonny is clearly the leader of the gang and is more wary of keeping an eye on Angie. He catches her trying to phone for help and locks her and Sally in the attic nursery. Angie finds a balloon and felt tip pens and uses them to get a message outside. The balloon is found by some kids who give it to the police.  Unfortunately before they get to the cottage,  the arrival of tourists at the cottage has made the gang go on the run again. When the police get to cottage they free the tourists and are soon in pursuit of the gang.

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The cops surround them at a filling station but Lonny threatens Angie and Sally’s lives, so they are able to hijack the police helicopter. Sergeant Smith manages to slip a transmitter to Angie before they get on the helicopter. They plan to fly to France but a storm forces them to land on a ship. They smash all communication devices on the ship, but the captain has a plan – when it gets dark he will turn them around so they get dropped off at Dorset, rather than France. When they land one sailor tries to get gun off Jimmy, but is knocked out by Vic, Angie attends to him. The gang believe they are in France and don’t know that the captain of the ship has managed to contact the police on the helicopter radio.

While Lonny and Vic go to look for transport, Jimmy is told to keep Angie and Sally in a cave, out of sight. As they are so exhausted all three of them fall asleep and they wake up to find the tide has come in and they are trapped. Sally manages to slip out a hole to go for help, only to run into Vic and Lonny. Angie and Jimmy will have to swim for it but Jimmy can’t with his injured arm. Angie swims Jimmy to safety, and he makes note that she has saved his life again.

His gratitude to Angie is seen when after another escape attempt Vic strikes Angie, Jimmy is quick to defend her. The gang figure they are not in France when police catch up with them, but they have stolen a tank and smash up the police car. They hide out in a forest where Vic accidentally starts a fire, Jimmy helps Angie and Sally onto the tank but falls off himself.  Angie is the only one concerned enough to go back and help him. The gang attempt to cross a foot bridge with the tank because they won’t leave the gold behind, the bridge collapses leaving them all in the water. Angie and Sally manage to escape and take a boat but the gang pursue them. Both Vic and Lonny take aim to shoot Angie but Jimmy stops them, jerking the steering wheel. Vic shoves Jimmy out of the boat. They catch up on Angie and grab her, leaving Sally on the boat headed for a weir. Lonny and Vic plan to use Angie as a hostage to get back their gold, that has been found by the police. Meanwhile Jimmy having gotten out of the water sees Sally in trouble and saves her. Knowing she needs to get to a hospital he brings her to the police station and hands himself in.

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With Angie as their hostage, Lonny and Vic get the police to hand over the gold and their uniforms.  Soon after when Angie escapes she doesn’t just run, after all they’ve done to her she is not going to let them get away. Using a crane she catches their boat and the police arrive to arrest them. She meets up with her parents and goes to see Sally in hospital.  They discuss Jimmy’s fate, it turns out he will be let off light due to his good actions and turning himself in and Mr Martin will even give him a job when he gets out of jail.

Thoughts

This is a good action story, the pace doesn’t let up and Ian Kennedy does a great job at showing the action scenes. Like the above car chase shows, Kennedy uses a variety of angles to keep the action interesting and fast paced. Whatever the location, from water to forest, he does a superb job of capturing the place.

The fast pace of the story is set up effectively in the first issue when the time is tracked throughout; 8.35 Angie leaves her house, 8.47 the robbery takes place, 12.30 Mrs Martin is worried and 8.00pm Angie tied up and can’t believe only 12 hours have passed since she got up in the morning. After the first issue the tracking of time stops, but the story doesn’t slow down. Sometimes it seems a bit ridiculous when the gang manage to hijack 2 cars, a helicopter, a ship, a boat and a tank! But really you aren’t given much time to dwell on it.

Angie is clearly a resourceful and determined character. When ever she sees an opportunity to escape, she jumps on it. She smartly hides the tracker she gets from the police in Sally’s bandage. She is also quick thinking in stopping the gang from escaping at the end. Not only is she tough she shows her high morals and why she makes a good nurse when she not only helps the people the gang hurt, but also goes out of her way to save Jimmy several times.

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The gang are easy to characterise, Vic is the tough and mean leader, Lonny is a bit dimmer but equally nasty, while right away Jimmy proves himself to be the most sympathetic of the gang, and shows he has a conscience. Even before Angie earned his gratitude he is shown to be against anyone getting hurt. The only reason he got shot was because he wanted to protect the security guard from Vic. In the end he could have just left Sally at the door of the police station but he does the right thing and hands himself in. Also very charitable of Mr Martin to give him a job, considering he was involved in a kidnap even if he did save his daughter’s life. We don’t get a lot of background on the gang, so we don’t know how Jimmy got involved with Vic and Lonny in the first place, whether he previously had a criminal record or just fell in with a bad crowd, or was really needing the money. Still it’s nice to hear that he will be given a second chance after he gets out and we hope he’ll use the opportunity wisely.

The Emma comic didn’t last too long, which is a pity because I think it had some strong stories (like this one) and had a fresh take on some of the usual formulas.

Pam on the Purple Planet

Plot

Nurse Pam Massey is transported, car and all, to the distant Purple Planet in outer space, where a mysterious illness threatens to wipe out the Volentian population. The sickness turns out to be whooping cough! Pam agrees to cross to the uninhabited side of the planet to find a cure. She is accompanied by a six-legged dog called Zeta and a Davit, a flying machine controlled by the Volentians.

pam of purple planet

Notes

Appeared

  • Pam on the Purple Planet – #55 (10 March 1979) – #66 (26 May 1979)

Sue Starr Student Nurse

Plot

At 16, Sue Starr had a promising career as an actress. After seeing a road accident she decided to change careers and become a nurse instead. Her Stepfather, stepsister Karen and Agent Lena Mellor were all unhappy with the change and wanted to stop her.

Notes

  • Art: Andy Tew

Appeared

  •  Sue Starr Student Nurse – Suzy: #133 (23 March 1985) – #147 (29 June 1985)

First-Aid Fay / Fay Farrell

Plot

Fay Farrell first appeared in the story First-Aid Fay;  Young Fay’s ambition is to be a nurse, but her wealthy parents won’t hear of it so she leaves home and takes a job as First-Aid Assistant in Horton’s Biscuit Factory until she can save enough money to keep herself while she goes to Pre-Nursing Training School. Miss Carver, the strict Matron of the First-Aid Post, seems determined to make things difficult for Fay.  Another difficulty arises when Fay finds that her father is on the factory’s Board of Directors.

Fay does get to continue her nursing ambition, returning in “Fay Farrell – Student Nurse”. When she becomes qualified she takes many different nursing jobs, including; an emergency nurse, fisherman’s nurse, jungle nurse and a school nurse.

first aid fay(First-Aid Fay – 1963)

fay student nurse(Fay Farrell – Student Nurse – 1965)

 

Fay ships nurse

(Fay Farrell – Ship’s Nurse – 1966 [Artist: Geoff Jones] )

Notes

  • Fay Farrell ran continuously for a time with the story subtitles changed to the particular nursing job.
  • Artist: Geoff Jones – Fay Farrell- Ship’s Nurse
  • Artist : Emilio Frejo -Judy Annual 1969 and Judy Annual 1970

Appeared

  • First-Aid Fay – Judy:  164 (02 March 1963) – 177 (01 June 1963)
  • Fay Farrell – Student Nurse – Judy:  circa 280 (22 May 1965) – 289?
  • Reprinted – Judy: circa 1272 (02 June 1984) – ?
  • Fay Farrell – Emergency Nurse – Judy:  circa 313 (08 January 1966) – 319?
  • Reprinted – Judy: 946 (25 February 1978)  -955?
  • Fay Farrell – District Nurse – Judy:  335(11 June 1966) – 341 (23 July 1966)
  • Fay Farrell – Ship’s Nurse – Judy:  342 (30 July 1966) – 348 (10 September 1966)
  • Fay Farrell – Holiday Camp Nurse – Judy:  349 (17 September 1966) – 355?
  • Reprinted  –  Judy:  circa #1229 (30 July 1983) – (?)
  • Fay Farrell – Island Nurse – Judy:  circa 357 (12 Nov 1966) – 365 (07 January 1967)
  • Reprinted –  Judy:  circa #1238 (01 October 1983) – (?)
  • Fay Farrell – School Nurse – Judy:  366 (14 January 1967) – 372?
  • Fay Farrell – Army Nurse – Judy:  circa 373 (04 March 1967) – 383 (13 May 1967)
  • Fay Farrell – Jungle Nurse – Judy:  circa 390 (01 July 1967) – ?
  • Fay Farrell – Fisherman’s Nurse – Judy:  circa 415 (23 December 1967) – ?

Other Appearances:

  • Fay Farrell – Emergency Nurse – Judy Annual 1966
  • Fay Farrell – Ship’s Nurse – Judy Annual 1967
  • Fay Farrell – Problem School Nurse – Judy Annual 1969
  • Fay Farrell – Fisherman’s Nurse – Judy Annual 1970
  • Fay Farrell – Problem School Nurse – Judy Annual 1971

The Mystery of the Dancing Nurse / Can’t Help Dancing

Plot

Margaret Simpson is a young nurse at Oaklands, an old mansion converted into a country hospital.  Margaret kept hearing strange music, played by a mysterious piper. Whenever she heard it, she – and anyone who touched her – found they couldn’t help dancing!

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Notes

Appeared

  • The Mystery of the Dancing Nurse – Mandy: #01 (21 January 1967) – #11 (1 April 1967)
  • Reprinted as Can’t Help Dancing –  Mandy: #351 (06 October 1973) – #361 (15 December 1973)

 

 

Katy O’Connor

Plot:

Katy O’Connor is nurse and a good problem solver. She starts out as a student nurse at St. Christopher’s hospital, and goes onto work in many different positions such as being a ship’s nurse.

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Notes:

Appeared:

  • Katy O’Connor Student Nurse–  Bunty: circa #94 (31 October 1959) – #174?
  • Katy O’Connor Ship’s Nurse– Bunty: circa #187 (12 August 1961) – (?)

 Other Appearances:

  • Katy O’Connor –  Bunty Annual 1961
  • House of Secrets – Bunty Picture Story Library #4

Holly of Hazard Unit

Plot:

The Hazard Unit is a mobile emergency service operated by Nurse Holly Mills and Dr Steve Mason. The Unit is financed by a large hospital and Holly and Steve often have problems obtaining new equipment.

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Notes:

Appeared:

  • Holly of Hazard Unit–  Emma:  #30 (16 September 1978) – #48 (20 January 1979)

 

Junior Nanny

  • Junior Nanny – First Appearance: Judy: #343 (06 Aug 1966) – #358 (19 Nov 1966)
  • Artist: Oliver Passingham

Plot

Chris Johnson is a residential nurse at an under-fives nursery. She is a dedicated nanny and a good problem solver. In her job she encounters a variety problems, such as a girl that’s missing her mum and won’t play with the other kids, or the girl who decides to go on a mission to save all snails or the boy who likes to play with fire. Usually after a few failed attempts at trying to solve the problem, someone will say something to inspire Chris to come up with a final solution.

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While the kids change week to week, there are other regular characters. The Matron that runs the home, is fair and very willing to listen to her staff’s ideas. Chris is good friends with the other residential nurse, Anne Martin, they talk over problems with the children as well as general life issues too. She also has a boyfriend, Andrew Hamilton, who is a student that lives next door.  Andrew is always very helpful with the nursery and also provides Chris with a life outside of work.

In the first few episodes of Junior Nanny  her name is said to be Chris Thomson not Johnson, she also is 16 and is taking a 2 year training course, for nursery nurse certificate. She begins her work at a day nursery rather than a residential one. The first serial covers her first year of training and she proves herself to be resourceful and well liked from the start.

Thoughts

There are many stories focused on career girls and nursing was a popular choice; Bunty had Katy O’Connor, Judy had Fay Farrell and Val of the Valley.  While nurses like Fay Farrell changed specialty every few weeks (she was an army nurse, school nurse and fisherman’s nurse to name a few!), Chris Johnson stuck to one specialty, as a nursery nurse. One disadvantage of staying in the one place, is that things could get repetitive, story-wise. At any one time there seemed to be usually around 10-12 kids in residence, but there must of been a high turnover because there is always enough new kids coming with new problems.

This like I said this could get repetitive; kid has a problem (or causes a problem), Chris, Anne or Andrew try out some ideas to solve it, fail, then Chris comes up with the solution. Very few story-lines strayed away from this formula. One that did was a story where Andrew is being snappy with Chris as he’s worried about up-coming exams. Chris tries to be patient with him and also not take her annoyance out on the kids. But Matron, points out she is being too over compensating, the kids are confused that Chris is letting them get away with being naughty. Chris takes the advice of Matron and gets back to normal and also has it out with Andrew, clearing the air.

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The kids situations were usually varied enough to prevent it from getting too dull, there was often a mix of humour and sadness. There’s the energetic kid Dennis waking up everyone at 4 in the morning. They convince Dennis, to be their alarm bell, when he wakes up he has to watch the clock until it turns 6 and then wake Chris and Anne up. This early waking is just a phase though and Chris and Anne end up sleeping in after becoming too reliant on Dennis waking them up!  In one story, a boy develops a fear of traffic after seeing someone get knocked down by a car. In another a boy David turns 5 so he has to move to the “Big Home” down the street, he’s quite upset about this and understandably so.  We don’t get any background on David, how he came to live at the nursery, whether he has any family etc. but from the information we do get it is clear that he considers Larch House his home. Chris tries inviting some ‘big’ boys to play but David’s scared of them. The problem is solved when Chris makes David long pants, so he feels like a big boy and more confident in joining the Big House. When a girl Florrie, tries to play at nurse she causes more trouble be “helping”. Chris gets the idea when Florrie doesn’t want to get her nails cut, to take her to children’s hospital to talk to the nurses there. Florrie is not happy to hear how clean nurses are expected to be with nails clipped, washing hair twice a week and baths every day. Chris is happy that puts Florrie off the idea of being a nurse but backfires when Florrie decides her next profession is to be a coalman!

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Junior Nanny had a long run in Judy and reprints in M&J, but overall there isn’t too much to say about the stories as like I said it stuck to a formula. This formula was used in plenty of other story settings too, career girls that every week solved a problem with their bright innovative ideas (Big Sister, Community Nurse, Anna-Junior Miss). Yet despite this  Junior Nanny is still one of my favourite characters.  This could be because it is drawn by one of my favourite artists. Like I mentioned before, Passingham, was good at spooky/horror stories but he was quite versatile and could portray comedy and drama just as well. Probably a big clincher for me, is how cute the kids are. They often  are portrayed with big innocent eyes, and when they get upset when they can’t do something, its not usually because they are spoilt but because they genuinely don’t know why they are not allowed to do it.  Again while things didn’t change much, there was enough variety in the kids stories to keep it entertaining.

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I also liked the supporting cast, Anne and Matron were good as confidantes, though at times you’d think Chris could let them have the successful idea! Chris’s passion and empathy for the kids was a big part of the character. Though she is not perfect, sometimes her dedication to her job was actually more of a flaw. If she was worried about kid she wouldn’t sleep well and barely let Anne take a problem case on  instead. She could sometimes take her frustrations out on Andrew as well.  Andrew as her boyfriend was fun, helpful and generous. Though sometimes he did cause some problems such as reading a story that upsets a kid! Also I may be just reading too much into this as I’m older, but there seems to be some very suggestive comments going on, when he talks to Chris at times.  It was good to see Chris having a life outside of work and it rounded out her character more.

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List of Appearances:

  • Junior Nanny – Judy:  #343 (06 August 1966) – #358 (19 November 1966)
  • Junior Nanny – Judy:  circa #417 (06 January 1968) – (?)
  • Junior Nanny – Judy:  #453 (14 September 1968) – (?)
  • Junior Nanny – Judy: #761 (10 August 1974) –#773 (02 November 1974)
  • Junior Nanny – Judy:  #805 (14  June 1975) – (?)
  • Junior Nanny – Judy:  #879 (13  November 1976) – (?)
  • Junior Nanny – Judy:  #887 (08  January 1977) – #892 (12 February 1977)
  • Junior Nanny – Judy:  #914 (16 July 1977) – #933 (26 November 1977)
  • Junior Nanny – Judy:  #945 (18 February 1978)
  •  (Reprint?) Junior Nanny – Judy: #1113 (09  May 1981) – (?)
  •  (Reprint?) Junior Nanny – Judy: circa #1192 (13  November 1982) – (?)
  • Junior Nanny –  Judy:  circa #1221 (04 June 1983) – (?)
  • Junior Nanny – Judy: (?) –  #1272 (13  November 1982) – (?)
  •  Junior Nanny – Judy: #1306 (19  January 1985) – (?)
  •  Junior Nanny – Judy: #1528 (22  April 1989) – (?)
  •  (Reprint?) Junior Nanny – Judy: #1565 (06  January 1989) – (?)
  • Reprinted as Judy Classic – M&J:  #50 (25 Apr 1992) – #64 (01 Aug. 1992)

Other Appearances:

  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1969
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1970
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1971
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1976
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1979
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1981
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1982
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1983
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1984
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1985
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1986
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1987
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1988
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1989
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1991
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1992
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Annual 1993
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Picture Story Library: #284
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Picture Story Library: #342
  • Junior Nanny – Judy Picture Story Library: #352

*Note

  • In the Judy Picture Story Library #352, Chris takes a holiday and stays with a friend and her 2 kids. Oddly Chris’s surname is said to be Masters instead of Johnson in this story. It seems Chris surname was always problematic!