Maureen Hartley – Writing for DCT Girls’ Comics

DCT Stories written by Maureen Hartley

Note: Some story titles may have changed from their working title when printed.

  • A  Ticket  for  Timmy  – Mandy: #114 (22  Mar. 1969) – #128 (28  Jun.1969)
    • Reprinted: #520 (01 Jan. 1977) – #534 (9 Apr. 1977)
    • Reprinted – Mandy: #1026 (2 Oct. 1986) –  #1040 (20 Dec. 1986)
  • April Fool –  Mandy:  #959 (1 Jun. 1985) – #975 (21 Sep. 1985)
  • Boyfriend Trouble
  • Cuckoos in the Nest – Judy:  #1503 (29 Oct. 1988) – #1517 (4 Feb. 1989)
  • Debbie  Must Dance Again! – Judy:  #1178 (07 Aug. 1982) – #1193 (20 Nov. 1982)
  • Ellen of Elmwood Farm – Mandy:   #341 (28 Jul. 1973) –  #346 (01 Sep. 1973)
  • Fair Weather Friends
  • Family Feud
  • Girl/Pearl from the Sea
  • Handmaid of the Sacred Cat – Mandy: 381 (4 May 1974) – 393 (27 Jul. 1974)
  • Happiness House – M&J:  #182 (5 Nov. 1994) – #186 (3 Dec. 1994)
  • Home for Heather
  • Home Sweet Home –  M&J #139 (8 Jan. 1994) – #145 (19 Feb. 1994)
  • I Hate You! – M&J:  #229 (30 Sep. 1995) – #239 (09 Dec. 1995)
  • I Must Find my Brother
  • Josie Must Dance
  • Judy’s Joker –  Mandy: #636 (24 Mar. 1979) – #646 (02 Jun. 1979)
  • Katie’s  Kitten – Mandy Picture Story Library Book: #53
  • Kim of the Canals –  Mandy:  #381 (04 May 1974) – #395 (10 Aug. 1974)
  • Little  Auntie  Annie – Mandy: #421 (8 Feb. 1975) – #431 (19 Apr. 1975)
  • Lonely  – the Dog from Nowhere – Mandy: #769 (10 Oct. 1981) – #785 (30 Jan. 1982)
  • Meg of Magpie Manor
  • Mel in the Middle
  • Netta’s Web
  • Nothing Ever Goes Right!– Judy: #1102 (21 Feb 1981) – #1118 (13 Jun. 1981)
    • Reprinted – Judy: #1553 (14 Oct. 1989) – #1569 (03 Feb.1990)
  • Partner for Penny
  • Saving Sandy
  • She Shall have Music! –  Mandy: #317 (10 Feb. 1973) – #328 (28 Apr. 1973)
  • Terry & her Trike
  • The Four Marys – Bunty: (2 stories)
    • Creefy’s Rival
    • The Mystery Virus
  • The Outcasts  of Underwood School – Mandy: #625 (6 Jan 1979) –#641 (28 Apr 1979)
  • The Plant
  • The Sad Spells of  Fay Martin  Mandy:   #329 (5 May 1973) – #346 (1 Sep. 1973)
    • Reprinted – Mandy: #647 (9 June 1979) – #665 (13 October 1979)
  • The Truth About Tricia – Judy & Tracy :#1348 (9 Nov 1985) – #1361 (8 Feb 1986)
    • Reprinted as Eye Spy Trouble – M&J: #302 (22 Feb 1997) – #315 (24 May 1997)
  • The Whole Truth
  • The Write Stuff
  • This Will be My Home                                                            
  • Timid  Tina  – Judy: #1484 (18 Jun. 1988) – #1492 (20 Aug. 1988)
    • Reprinted – M&J – #252 (9 March 1996) – #260 (4 May 1996
  • Trouble for Tammy
  • Turn Back the Clock
  • Watch Out – She’s a Witch! –  Nikki: #84 (27 Sep. 1986) – #95 (13 Dec. 1986)
  • We’ll be a Happy Family – Mandy: #1127 (20 Aug. 1988)  – #1138 (5 Nov. 1988)
  • Wedding of the Week– Mandy  #424 (1 Mar. 1975) – #436 (24 May 1975)
    • Reprinted –   Mandy: #951 (6 Apr. 1985) – #962 (22 Jun. 1985)
  • Winnie’s Weeping Willow
  • You’re Not my Mum & Dad!


  • Bunty Annual 2001:
    • Lonely this Christmas
    • Winners! (text story)
    • Squeakie
    • What’s New? (photo story)
    • Best Friends! (text story)
    • Lost in the Snow
Stories for Dutch comic – Tina

Thanks to Markie73 for the list of stories that Maureen wrote for Tina under the name Maureen McAdam.

Note – the comic numbering for Tina goes from 1-52 each year.

  • Ruzie om Robbie (Quarrel about Bobby) – Tina: #02 (1999)
    • Artist: Angeles Felices
  • Liz heeft liefdespech (Liz is Unlucky in Love)  – Tina: #27 (1999)
    • Artist: Maria Dembilio
  • Ruzie tussen de tantes (Quarreling Aunts) – Tina: #35 (1999)
    • Artist: Juliana Buch
  • Sheba en haar familie (Sheba and her Family) – Tina: #35 (1999)
    • Artist: Carlos Freixas
  • Op de foto (In the Picture) – Tina: #39 (1999)
    • Artist: Maria Dembilio
  • Flessenpost (Message in a Bottle) – Tina: #24 (2000)
    • Artist: Carlos Freixas
  • Sparen voor de vakantie (Saving up for the Holidays) – Tina: #27 (2000)
    • Artist: Angeles Felices
  • Verdwaald in de grotten (Lost in the Caves) – Tina: #28 (2000)
    • Artist: Carlos Freixas
  • Goeie voornemens (Good Intentions) – Tina: #34 (2000)
    • Artist: Carlos Freixas
  • Een verrassende verjaardag (A Surprising Birthday) – Tina: #37 (2000)
    • Artist: Angeles Felices
  • Surprise party (Surprise Party) – Tina: #46 (2000)
    • Artist: Edmond
  • Geen leugens meer (No More Lies) – Tina: #49(2000)
    • Artist: José Casanovas
  • Het discofeest (The Disco Party) – Tina: #52 (2000)
    • Artist: Edmond

24 thoughts on “Maureen Hartley – Writing for DCT Girls’ Comics

  1. A very interesting document!
    Were the stories for Tina possibly written under the name Maureen McAdam? I didn’t find any stories credited to Maureen Hartley, but there are five stories in 1999 and one in 2000 credited to Maureen McAdam. From 2001 onwards I do not have any information yet.

    1. Yes – I did write for TINA as Maureen McAdam. DCT rarely named the writers in their comics because, I was told, they did not want other publishers poaching their writers. I suspect it may have been more to do with finance.

  2. In the Little Auntie Annie panel, Miss Smith does have a point about the nephews looking a bit old to be looked after by Annie and should be independent at their ages. But then, they’ve been spoiled and expect to be waited on hand and foot, which is what their mother did. So they never really developed the skills to look after themselves.

  3. This is such a great piece – many thanks to Maureen!

    I was particularly interested in the glimpses we get of the behind the scenes principles that were worked to:
    “I learned that in every instalment the heroine must take some form of executive action. That may seem highly obvious, but it is easy to be distracted from the heroine by other facets of the plot or more interesting characters. Also there must be no cliffhangers.”

    I’m a bit surprised by the ‘no cliffhangers’ rule – surely in a serial story there normally are cliffhangers of some sort, to encourage the readers to come back next week?

    I was also a little surprised to read the bit about DCT vs IPC as markets for writers: “The only possible market for a freelance writer of picture scripts at that time was D.C.Thomson. IPC, which also published girls’ comics, only used staff writers for picture stories.” We know that plenty of writers of girls comics in the 70s were freelancers, and indeed some writers (Alison Christie, Anne Digby) wrote for both DCT and subsequently for IPC, the latter paying more than the former. I wonder how it came to be that Maureen knew that it wasn’t worth trying IPC, especially if she didn’t know other writers. Could it be that the DCT editors encouraged this view, for instance?

    1. I was surprised about cliffhangers too, but I think it depended on the story and that MANDY tended to have less cliffhangers, unlike JUDY which several stories I can recall ended on cliffhanger episodes. May have been different Editor preferences.

    2. No cliffhangers goes against Pat Mills, who advises an episode of a serial to end on a cliffhanger or dramatic point. That’s what he told me.

      But it certainly explains the episodic structure that a lot of DCT serials had, even ones with a story arc, such as Bunty’s “Witch!”, or Mandy’s “I’ll Take Care of Tina!”. I reckon what kept readers reading was to find out how the serial would end.

    3. DC Thomson usually did have self-contained episodes, their text-based story papers for boys, dating back to the twenties, were the same. On the other hand IPC / Amalgamated Press always went in for dramatic endings to episodes, except in The Champion (and maybe Triumph and, erm, the other one), which was a “Thomson-style” paper. Oddly Girls’ Crystal, also a Thomson-style paper, did have cliffhangers.

    4. I wrote many serials and shorts for DC Thomsons-after being a sub editor on Bunty and leaving to go free-lance. I also began writing picture story serials for IPC girls papers,Jinty and Tammy, and others. Heart tugging weepies were my speciality,and were very popular. Not sure why Maureen didn’t know about this market. They paid London rates- much more than the DCT ones. At one time I was writing three serials for DCT and three for IPC.
      Interesting that Maureen wrote for a Dutch girls comic.
      Both DCs and IPC sold stories to foreign publishers- by signing all the copyright for all purposes which was on the payment slip from DCs- and no doubt on the same from IPC, both firms made a lot of money from the sale of our stories.
      So good to read your comments, Maureen.

  4. A wonderfully informative piece, and beautifully written. Wouldn’t it be great if some day enough writers, artists and editors of British girls’ comics could be located to fill a whole book with accounts like this?

  5. Very interesting! Thanks for posting it. The “no cliffhangers” aspect is quite a clever technique. The DCT boys comics did the same for the most part, with each episode being self contained but still advancing the plot. More subtle than Fleetway’s method of the hero going from one cliffhanger to the next every week.

    1. Yes, but cliff-hangers were a bait to keep the reader buying the next issue to find out what happened next. My IPC stories had them- must look back my Mandy, Tracey,etc files and see if I wrote self-contained episodes for them.

      1. My comment about ‘cliffhangers’ certainly set off a debate and I have been fiollowing the comments with considerable interest! I found that how each episode of any story ended depended entirely on the point the story had reached, but in general the girls’ storues did not need highly dramatic endings – enough to have the heroine standing in the rain watching in despair as the last bus drives away, but still vowing bravely to keep going in her search for the missing father / brother / dog. Obviously the writer hopes this is enough to keep the reader eager to buy the comic again and find out how she continues her search, rather than have her dangling from a cliff all week. I must admit that when I sent off a completed script, I often had no idea what was to happen in the next episode. Fortunately some idea or other capable of satisfying a demanding editor always surfaced.

        1. Hello Maureen
          I don’t know if you will receive this message, but I am copying below my message that I left for you 3 years ago in the hope that we may get back in touch.

          ‘ I am leaving a comment here in the hope that Maureen Hartley will read it, and remember that I used to type up her scripts in the 1970s/1980s. I have often wondered if she still lives at the same address in Burnley (I remember it exactly) and if so I might like to send her a card sometime. She probably remembers me as Joyce Greenwood back then’

  6. I saw a lot of DCT serials with “no cliffhangers” until the penultimate episode, where it does end on a cliffhanger that is part of resolving the plot in the last episode. Often this format was a cue that told the reader this was the penultimate episode and not a routine episode. Hard Times for Helen (Judy) and The Truth about Wendy (Mandy) are two examples.

  7. I am leaving a comment here in the hope that Maureen Hartley will read it, and remember that I used to type up her scripts in the 1970s/1980s. I have often wondered if she still lives at the same address in Burnley (I remember it exactly) and if so I might like to send her a card sometime. She probably remembers me as Joyce Greenwood back then.

    1. Hi Joyce, I’ve passed along your message to the email I have for Maureen, so hopefully she’ll get in touch soon.

      1. Hello
        I have just this minute discovered your response to my recent post. Thank you very much!!!!
        Unfortunately, I haven’t heard from Maureen Hartley so far, but I won’t give up hope.
        (as an aside, I would mention that she was my Teacher of German when I went to night school during the 1960’s).
        As I am now 72, I guess Maureen could be quite elderly by now if she is still alive. I can see from her posts that she was still around in 2017.
        Thank you again.
        From Joyce Clarke

  8. Maureen, this is a fascinating reminiscence of your time working for Thomson, and you are one of the few writers to come forward and be identified. David Powell, Archive Manager for DC Thomson, told me that records from the early years of publication of Judy and Mandy have been lost.

    Would you happen to know the author of the story “Trombone Tillie,” whose exploits were featured in Judy in 1961 (and the 1962 annual)?

    -Douglas Yeo

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