Tag Archives: Drama

Four in the Saddle [1997]

  • Four in the Saddle – M&J: #313 (10 May 1997) – #314 (17 May 1997)
  • Four in the Saddle – Mandy Annual 1998
  • Artist: Julian Vivas


Cassie and Cindy Bridges live in Parkerville, a small town in Arizona, along with their friend Lori. They all like to ride their horses and also have an understanding with Mystery, leader of a wild herd of horses. Cassie and Cindy’s father is the town sheriff, so would like his daughters to set a good example and stay out of trouble. When new neighbours move into ranch nearby, Cassie is quite taken by the son, Jed. Cindy is of the opinion they don’t need boys in the group, Lori, the more quieter and sensible member of the group, think they should get to know him better first. The next day when the girls are out riding, Jed comes across them as he is riding to get help for a calf stuck down a ravine. Lori always prepared has a rope on hand and together they free the calf. When they question Jed about how he found the calf he says a wild black horse led him there. Knowing this must be Mystery, Cindy and Lori agree that the horse is usually right about people and that it would be okay for Jed to come riding with them.

In the Annual story, the girls are riding with Jed, they are watching out for Mystery and the other wild horses and they see something is wrong. They go closer to investigate. One of the horses collapses and Cassie convinces Mystery to let her have a closer look. Cindy and Jed go to fetch the vet, Mr Ewart, when he arrives he diagnoses the mare with equine flu, not usually fatal but dangerous for wild horses. He take the mare back to town for treatment. Cassie and the others keep an eye on the other wild horses and notice more sick. When they ask if Mr Ewart could vaccinate them, he says it would be impossible to inoculate all of them, even if he could catch them. The best action would be to isolate them but there is nowhere suitable, so likely the flu will spread and it will be survival of the fittest.

The group is horrified to hear this and try to come up with a plan to help Mystery and the other horses. Jed suggests a place in the foothills, known as The Lost Valley, the others say its too far for the horses in their condition. But they agree it might work if they leave the worst affected who can be treated by the vet. It is not an easy journey for the gang as they round up the wild horses, one mare dies along the way and they have a run in with a mountain lion (luckily it’s a young one that doesn’t attack), but eventually they make it. The group set up camp to keep an eye on the horses, a foul dies, but Cassie has idea to pair up that mare, with the motherless foal. Over a week later the herd are doing better, Mystery rears up as if thanking them. Everyone is happy that the herd was saved.


This story only lasted 2 episodes and although it promised “more next week” it did not appear in  the next issue, which was actually the last issue of M&J, nor did it continue in Bunty after the merger. It seems the finish of M&J led to its sudden discontinuation. It’s  an interesting case as it seemed to be set-up as replacement for the long running Pine Tree Grove another soap story involving horses, so potentially could have continued for quite a while. It had an a more unusual setting in Arizona, the art by Julian Vivas was good and similar to other M&J soaps it had some potentially interesting characters. The appearance of the story in the annual shows they had some story-lines set up. As annuals are made in advance,  it’s hard to tell if this story was just made for the annual or potentially it was unused episodes for M&J that they decided to fit in the annual. I can see the story in the annual fitting fine split into the weekly issues. Either way as I had not got the  annual until recently, I only thought there were just the 2 episodes, so it was nice to see some sort of conclusion for the story.

Just One Leading Lady! (1982)

Published: Debbie #501 (18 September 1982) – #505 (16 October 1982)

Episodes: 5

Artist: Photo story

Writer: Unknown

Special thanks to Lorrsadmin and Phoenix for scans


Cathy Collins wants to play the lead in Dormy Drama Club’s next production. Two other girls, Sonya and Gail, are her rivals for it. Cathy’s friend, backstage girl Connie, keeps telling Cathy stories about a ghost haunting the theatre. The ghost is said to be of an actress who was so jealous of her rivals that she killed them. Cathy rubbishes such stories, but it’s not long before she sees the ghost in her nightmares. It does not help that the production they are putting on is a spooky one either.

It becomes apparent that someone is out to eliminate the rivals for the leading role, but it’s clearly no ghost. It’s a flesh-and-blood person whose maxim is that there’s only room for “just one leading lady!”, hence the title of the story.

Strike one comes when Sonya falls off the stage and claims she was pushed. The others accuse Cathy of pushing Sonya to get the leading role. Connie is the only one to stay friendly with her.

After accusing Cathy too, Gail storms off into a dressing room. The troublemaker strikes again by locking Gail in the dressing room overnight to make her ill from the freezing temperatures in there.

When this trick is discovered, everyone believes Cathy did it to get rid of both rivals. Mrs Shaw the drama club teacher tells Cathy to leave the club, pending investigation. Cathy’s protests of innocence are futile.

However, Cathy loves the theatre too much to just walk away, so she quietly watches the production from a distance. Mrs Shaw tries out various girls for the lead, none of whom are suitable. Cathy is surprised to see Connie try out for it too; she always thought Connie was happy being the backstage girl. Mrs Shaw gives Connie a minor role, saying she does not have enough experience for the lead. Cathy secretly sympathises, recalling her own experience of having to build up for a long time in the club before being allowed any major roles.

Afterwards Cathy overhears Connie practising all the lines for the lead. Connie sees her and asks her what she thought. When Cathy tries to say, in a very tactful manner, that it was wooden, Connie goes off into a big brag that she is a better actress than Cathy and the other rivals. Moreover, she gloats, she was the one who hurt Sonya and Gail and she was trying to wind Cathy up with phony stories about the ghost. She was out to get rid of all three rivals so she could grab the lead from backstage. Connie says it’s no use Cathy telling anyone because they won’t believe her. But Connie has miscalculated: Graham the SFX guy has not only overheard but also recorded everything!

A few days later, Connie has left the club permanently, everything is patched up, and Mrs Shaw is trying to work out who will play the lead. It’s not shown who gets it in the end, but Cathy doesn’t mind. She knows she will be a leading lady someday.


This is clearly a whodunit story, despite all the attempts of the antagonist to turn it into a ghost story. We can see that is no ghostly hand locking the dressing room door on Gail; it’s someone who is trying to take advantage of that rumour. And it is obvious from Cathy’s thought balloons that she is not guilty. Readers must have concluded that it is a third party in the group who is out for the role, and some may even have suspected it was Connie.

When Connie reveals her guilt to Cathy, readers were probably shaking their heads and thinking “poor fool”. Connie was so naïve and deluded that she could just leap into a starring role from backstage, and by playing dirty tricks instead of speaking out that she wanted to act too. The reality, which Cathy knew all too well, was that one had to build up experience on smaller roles before attempting a big one. Connie got a taste of that when Mrs Shaw said she did not have enough experience for the lead and gave her a minor role. So Connie hurt two girls and discredited a third for nothing. Yet she still has the delusion that she can play the lead far better than the other three girls.

Perversely, although Connie’s acting of the role was wooden, Cathy realises that in “a horrible way” Connie is indeed a much better actress – in the way she had fooled everyone into thinking she was content being a backstage girl when in fact she was using it as a springboard to grab the lead. To say nothing of fooling Cathy into thinking that she was her one and only friend. So did Connie have a talent for acting after all, which could have led her into starring roles with proper training and experience? Maybe it would have if she’d gone about things the right way, but she ruined whatever chance she had with nasty tricks.

Patsy Pincher


Orphan Patsy Pincher, adopted by Colonel Travers,  had been treated like a skivvy after the colonel was killed. The colonel’s will left everything to Patsy, provided that she stayed at the Manor. Mrs Bartlett, the colonel’s niece, together with her daughter, Lila, and the sinister butler, Sleeg, wanted to make Patsy run away. Patsy found out that a medallion she owned had once been in the colonel’s family, and had been given to a mysterious Jessica. Then she was told by a stranger that Jessica’s daughter was drowned as a baby.

patsy pincher



  • Patsy Pincher – Judy:  #893 (19 February 1977) –  #902 (23 April 1977)

Stage School


Two vacancies are going at The Madame Celeste Stage School. Nicky Carr wins one place. But the other place goes to Gavin Mellor, an arrogant boy Nicky crossed during the auditions. And so the stage is set for feuding between Nicky and Gavin.

It gets even worse when Gavin and Nicky are both chosen to star in a new TV soap. They have to pretend they are friends on screen, but their hatred keeps erupting into constant fighting. Eventually, the producers write their antagonism into the show.

Stage school


  • Artist: Juliana Buch


  • Stage School – M&J: #152 (9 April 1994) – #160 (4 June 1994)
  • Stage School – M&J: #207 (29 April 1995) – #216 (01 July 1995)
  • Stage School – M&J: #239 (09 December 1995) – #241(23 December 1995)

Other Appearances:

  • Stage School – Mandy Annual 1995
  • Stage School – Mandy Annual 1997