Beano reveal Britain’s Funniest Class

Britain’s Funniest Class have wowed the nation by appearing overnight on a giant billboard in Hitchin today, celebrating their crowning as the nation’s funniest school class.

The giant billboard, which was unveiled by the Beano team, appears to have been pasted up by Voyager year 5 class themselves. The incredible artwork features the winning class in comic form with their winning joke, which also appears in the iconic comic out today.

This year is the first time that the winning class and joke have been immortalised out in public. The Beano billboard aims to give the country a much-needed smile ahead of schools breaking up for the summer holidays.

The competition was fierce this year with hilarious jokes coming in from across the nation and receiving over 190,000 votes by the public, but it was Whitehill Junior School that snatched the top spot. “What do you call a class of children who eat potatoes using their toes?!  The Mash Street Kids!” joke won with 43.4 percent of the votes on Beano.com.

In true Dennis and Beano style, the winning jokes also appeared around Hitchin centre immortalising themselves in comic history. Locals in Hitchin were captured giggling away at the side-splitting works of art.

Members of the winning class were snapped with rollers and paste in Hitchin. The witty pranksters’ billboard stands at 11 ft tall.

Mike Stirling, Director of Mischief at Beano Studios said, “Now in its fourth year, ‘Britain’s Funniest Class’ gets kids reading, creating and laughing in classrooms all over the UK. At Beano, we’ve always said our greatest gags come from kids, and Whitehill Primary has proved this again. It’s a pun-believable joke The Bash Street Kids themselves would be proud of.”

The Beano artworks give members of Hitchin and the rest of the nation the chance to chuckle the day away at the nation’s funniest school kids.

Mr Steve Mills, Headteacher at Whitehill Junior School said, “The children had amazing fun creating their joke and for them to be immortalised on a billboard and the Beano comic is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We are delighted to be able to share their funniest joke with the rest of the nation and hopefully generate many chuckles this morning!”

A total of ten witty schools were shortlisted by Beano’s gag masters and Head Judge comedian Suzi Ruffell, before the public were given the deciding vote to crown the winner.

In second was ESMS Junior School in Edinburgh with 31.9 percent of the votes with their bonetastic joke – “Doctor: I’m afraid that we need to remove your whole spine. Patient: But why? Doctor: Because it’s really holding you back.”

Beano, VisitScotland and ScotRail launch joint family campaign

Beano has teamed up with VisitScotland and ScotRail for the first time to promote family holidays and day trips across the country.

Dennis & Gnasher and Minnie the Minx are the faces of a new ‘blamazing’ tourism marketing campaign aimed to reignite families’ love of rail adventures in Scotland.

The two-year campaign aims to use the cross-generational appeal of one of the UK’s best-loved comics and ScotRail’s Kids for a Quid deal, to promote sustainable travel as part of Scottish tourism’s recovery.

VisitScotland has created a special landing page – www.visitscotland.com/beano – with Dennis, Gnasher and Minnie highlighting key places to visit in each of Scotland’s seven cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, Stirling), including dog-friendly days out.

The campaign forms part of VisitScotland’s drive for sustainable tourism in line with the national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030, and will use a variety of digital and print marketing to highlight attractions across Scotland.

The UK family market accounts for a third of all overnight and day trips in Scotland. Prior to the pandemic, overnight stays by families saw year-on-year growth since 2016, with an average 13% increase in trips on the previous year. UK families took 2.2 million overnight family holidays in Scotland in 2019 – an increase of 15% on 2018 and the highest in ten years.  ​​​​​​​

ScotRail Kids for a Quid tickets means up to four children (aged 5-15) can travel for just £1 return on off-peak and weekend journeys with every paying adult. Additionally, it also gives one free child entry to some of Scotland’s most popular attractions when purchasing a full price adult ticket at the attraction.

Mike Stirling, Beano’s Director of Mischief, commented: For me, Beano has always represented the heart of Scotland’s storytelling. As a kid, it was visiting new places by rail that sparked my own sense of imagination. I’d be engrossed in my comic as we left the station before glimpses of new places distracted me. On one trip, crossing the Tay Rail Bridge, a fellow passenger proudly informed me my Beano was created in my destination, Dundee. I was blown away something so cool was so close!

“The same goes for all of Scotland’s seven cities. Every visit, you come away with a new story to share. Our characters are ordinary kids exploring extraordinary imaginations and I hope Minnie, Dennis and Gnasher encourage many families, pets included, to get on board and create their own memorable stories during this special year.”

Vicki Miller, Director of Marketing and Digital at VisitScotland, said: “The UK family market makes up around a third of Scottish tourism trips and therefore it’s important we create fun and engaging content for parents and children as part of our tourism recovery plans.

“By working with ScotRail and Beano we aim to raise awareness of what makes Scotland a fantastic family destination and the benefits of exploring our ‘blamazing’ sights by rail. It is particularly appropriate that we should team up with one of the UK’s best-loved children’s comics during Scotland’s Year of Stories.

“The campaign will provide a creative way to further support the recovery of the tourism industry while promoting sustainable travel experiences to the benefit of visitors, communities and our environment.”

Lesley Kane, ScotRail Commercial Director, said“This is a fantastic partnership with the Beano and we are delighted to be able to play our part in helping families enjoy Scotland by train.

“Children love the train, and our Kids for a Quid offer provides real value for money. With more than 2,000 trains running every day across the country, there is no better way to give the kids an exciting day out and create new memories for your family.

“We are looking forward to welcoming more and more people back to our services to experience all that Scotland has to offer, by rail.”

Beano launches Libraries Aloud for World Book Day 

Beano is launching a new children’s reading initiative – ‘Libraries Aloud’ – designed to encourage families to head to their local library and have fun reading out loud.  

The new campaign will see a series of free interactive ‘read-out-loud-a-longs’ take place in libraries across the country to celebrate libraries and reading for fun. 

Olympic legend, author, and father of three, Greg Rutherford is spearheading the initiative and leading a team of loud storytellers, including author Anna Whitehouse (Mother Pukka). The storytellers will read The World’s Loudest Ever Comic Strip in this week’s Beano, created especially for World Book Day (Thursday 3rd March). 

The special two-page strip, in this week’s comic which goes on sale on Wednesday 2nd March, has been designed for children to read out loud to help them unlock reading for fun. It contains, in true Beano style, over 35 crashes, bangs, parps, wallops and thwacks. 

The initiative was created as new research revealed that 75% of British children haven’t visited a library in over a year and 95% said that making noise and talking about stories made reading more fun. 

The poll of 2,000 British parents with children aged 6 and above highlights that reading for pleasure and access to libraries is on the decline.   

Unbelievably a quarter (26%) of kids have never visited a library in the UK. On average children have not visited their local library in over three years and well over four in five parents (84%) would like to visit their local library more often. 

Over half of children (55%) admit to being put off by the thought of going to the library because they think they need to stay quiet. However, nine in ten children (95%) said that making noise and talking about stories made reading more fun and three quarters of kids (77%) said they liked reading with their parents. 

Of those asked, over two thirds (72%) of parents said their children do not read for pleasure regularly and 81% of parents believe that children are reading less than they did when they were younger.  

The study revealed that children read six books a year, compared to their parents reading at least 10 books a year when they were kids.  

Mike Stirling Beano’s Director of Mischief said, “It’s been years since children had to stay silent in a libraries but many grown-ups still believe that rule applies. We’re excited for Beano to celebrate the fun and noise that is ‘aloud’ in libraries this World Book Day and hope it encourages everyone to plan a visit to their local library very soon.”   

Greg Rutherford said, “I absolutely love reading with my children, and Beano is a great gateway for them to get into reading – it’s just not just books, but comics too that form this magical world! It’s been an honour to be involved with this campaign and I hope as many people as possible can pick up a Beano this week and enjoy reading it loudly at their local library!” 

Research by the National Literacy Trust found that if all children in the UK read for pleasure almost daily, the number getting 5 good GCSEs could increase by 1.1 million in a generation. 

To unlock reading for fun for as many kids as possible, Beano has partnered with World Book Day to give away 15,000 comics to kids from today via the Beano website. A special Beano quiz has also been created to help kids to get loud and enjoy reading for fun. 

Greg Rutherford and Beano’s team of storytellers will be doing special read-out-loud-a-longs in libraries on World Book Day. More information and a special recording of Greg reading the World’s Loudest Comic Strip in Beano can be found here.

DC Thomson partners with NCTJ and Meta for Community News Project  

Two new community reporter roles have been created at the Press and Journal through a partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and Meta (formerly Facebook). 

DC Thomson is one of 14 publishers who now join the Community News Project (CNP), which began in 2019. The scheme expands with £6 million funding from Meta, creating 18 additional community reporter roles across the country.  

The Press and Journal will have two new reporters covering the Western Isles, Fort William, Lochaber and Skye as part of the scheme which aims to support quality local journalism, report on underserved communities and improve the diversity of UK newsrooms. 

The P&J applied to join the scheme, demonstrating how the CNP reporters would engage a currently underserved community and/or location, as well as detailing how they would be supported in the newsroom and with their NCTJ training.  

Frank O’Donnell, editor in chief of The Press and Journal and Evening Express at DC Thomson, said: “People want to see news that matters to them, and this only happens through community reporters who really understand the issues and can talk to readers in a voice they recognise. 

“That’s why we’re delighted to be involved with this project because it aligns so closely with P&J values and allows us to put more eyes and ears on the ground in specific areas that are underserved.” 

Sarah Brown, head of local news partnerships, northern Europe at Meta, said: “At the heart of the CNP is a goal to surface real life stories from under-represented groups. We look forward to working with the NCTJ and our publishing partners in onboarding a new cohort of trainees who will share stories and viewpoints that don’t often get told.” 

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “This brilliant project continues to be a success story for the industry thanks to Meta’s on-going investment and the support of the publishers involved in the scheme.” 

The Press & Journal’s community reporter roles will be advertised in the coming weeks. 

Beano Studios and DC Thomson launch Emanata Studios to develop the UK’s largest comic book archive for film and television

  • Emanata Studios will develop the entire DC Thomson comic archive, the largest of its kind in the UK, for TV and film.
  • The archive includes popular titles such as ‘Dandy,’ ‘Commando,’ ‘Victor,’ ‘Jackie,’ and ‘Bunty’.
  • In theUS, Emanata is working with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s media company, Westbrook Studios on a high concept drama, based on the very first British comic book superhero ‘The Amazing Mr X,’ who is featured in ‘Dandy’.
  • Emanata also has a live action dramedy based on ‘Dennis the Menace’ in development with Jerry Bruckheimer TV and CBS Productions and Fox Entertainment has picked up the rights for Bananaman and are developing an adult animation series with Bento Box (‘Bob’s Burgers’ and ‘Central Park’).

For the first time in its more than 100-year history, DC Thomson is opening up its entire comic archive to be developed for international audiences of all ages. Well-known titles and characters including ‘Hotspur,’ ‘Spellbound,’ ‘Mandy,’ ‘Beano’ and best-selling teen magazine ‘Jackie’ are being reimagined by a diverse range of new and established talent for newly created Emanata Studios, a division of Beano Studios.

Chief Creative Officer Mark Talbot will lead Emanata Studios, with a team of producers working alongside him, and he will continue to report into James Clayton, Chairman and David Guppy, CEO of Beano Studios. Emanata Studios will have offices in both Dundee, home of the comic archive, and London and is represented in the US by CAA.

Talbot commented“This is an incredibly unique place to be. This one-of-a-kind archive has preserved more than 2000 stories and characters and Emanata is the perfect studio to reawaken them. For those who already know them, and new audiences ready to be entertained, we can’t wait to reintroduce the world to Bunty, The Supercats, Nick Jolly the Flying Highway Man alongside the incredible Beano IP at our disposal.”

Emanata Studios also has an impressive range of projects in the works in the UK across drama, comedy and animation for adults and YA in the UK which include:

  • A UKTV comedy live action pilot script has been commissioned based on an iconic comic character from ‘Dandy’.
  • Screen Scotland, backed by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery, has funded a drama, written by Rae Brunton, based on character ‘Nick Jolly the Flying Highway Man’ who featured in the ‘Hotspur’ comic.
  • The development of a live action drama with each of Sky Studios and Drama Republic, and two adult animations with MTV Entertainment Group.

Beano Studios Chairman James Clayton added: “With sole ownership of the UK’s largest comic book archive and ever-increasing demand for premium content, it’s the perfect time for Emanata to renew these treasured stories and characters for modern audiences.”

Plus, Emanata Studios is excited to announce the launch of its 2022 New Writers’ Bursary. Submissions will open in January, via the Emanata website, for a bursary of £30k which will be awarded to three writers from underrepresented groups to write a pilot script based on IP from the DC Thomson archive. Previous recipients include Adjani Salmon, Ameir Brown, Lara Peake and Leila Navabi, with one project in development with a UK broadcaster.

Full details and more information can be found on the Emanata website.

Somerset House’s blockbuster autumn exhibition Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules opens

Somerset House’s blockbuster autumn exhibition Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules opened in spectacular style on Wednesday night.

Somerset House’s Director Jonathan Reekie welcomed a host of famous faces from the worlds of art, fashion and comedy to the exhibition that celebrates the world’s longest-running weekly comic – Beano – and its mix of mayhem, mischief and fun, led by its beloved band of characters, such as Dennis and Gnasher, Minnie the Minx and Bananaman.

Special guests included comedian Frank Skinner, actress Lily Newmark and broadcaster Zezi Ifore and many of the exhibition’s contributing artists, such as Turner Prize winner Martin Creed.

Curated by artist Andy Holden, the exhibition took guests on a trip through Beanotown itself with larger-than-life recreations of Beano’s most iconic backdrops, as if stepping inside the pages of the comic.  Hanging on the colourful walls of Bash Street School, the homes of Gasworks Road and Bunkerton Castle, and situated outside on the streets of Beanotown, invitees discovered an eclectic collection of contemporary artworks from over 50 of today’s greatest creative rule-breakers, inspired by Beano’s spirit of rebellion and sense of playfulness.  In an exhibition that is just as unconventional as its content, their audacious artworks are shown alongside over 100 comic artworks from the Beano archive, including original drawings never previously seen in public, exploring its lasting impact on the contemporary cultural landscape and upcoming generations of creatives.

After viewing the exhibition, guests then entered an exclusive reception in Somerset House’s Seamen’s Hall and followed a bright yellow carpet onto its River Terrace, with its sweeping views of the capital, decorated with red and black neon illuminations, in homage to the style-staple striped red and black jumpers of Dennis and Minnie.  Inspired by the antics of Beano’s mischievous heroes, whoopee cushions were also placed on seats along the River Terrace.​​​​​​​

The exhibition received fantastic coverage and reviews following the opening night, with write-ups in The Guardian, awarding the exhibit 5 stars (Somerset House’s first 5-star exhibition review!!), i and The Londonist, to name a few.

Findmypast partners with The Francis Frith Collection to release 300,000 new historical photographs

  • Over 300,000 historical photographs available to search online at Findmypast for the first time in partnership with The Francis Frith Collection
  • Covering all corners of the UK and beyond, this vast new Findmypast resource enables family historians to add colour and context to their ancestor’s stories, witnessing sights and scenes of daily life from up to 150 years ago
  • Spanning 1860 to 1970, the Francis Frith collection provides a valuable photographic record of British life, chronicling over 100 years of dramatic change in vivid detail​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Findmypast has added over 300,000 historical photographs chronicling more than a century of British life to its vast archive of family history records.

Published in partnership with the UK’s leading publisher of local photographs since 1860, Francis Frith, and available to search online at Findmypast for the first time. The collection forms a valuable photographic record of daily life in Victorian, Edwardian and 20th century Britain.

Spanning two centuries (1860 to 1970) and covering more than 9,000 cities, towns and villages across the UK, the collection provides both family historians and history enthusiasts alike with the opportunity to come face to face with their ancestors or step back in time to witness sights and scenes from the nation’s past.

Available to search by date, location and keyword, this visually rich resource captures thousands of individual streets, landmarks, landscapes, businesses, buildings and locations that would have played a defining role in people’s lives. Each search result also details the image’s date, original description and location, including the latitude and longitude allowing for easy identification on Google maps.

Also included are images of individuals, families, significant national and local events ranging from Royal Jubilees to village fetes, as well a wide variety of images captured overseas.

The collection not only documents the changing face of locations across the British Isles, it also portrays a diverse array of localities across the world that shaped the destiny of people’s ancestors. This includes a wide array of fascinating images from Egypt, Canada, France, Germany Gibraltar, Hawaii, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. ​​​​​​​

Find out more and search the collection here.

Puzzler Presents…The People’s Friend Puzzles 

Puzzler and The People’s Friend have joined forces to create a brand-new magazine!

Puzzler has been working with the wonderful people at The People’s Friend to bring you an exclusive collection of top-quality brainteasers!

The People’s Friend Puzzles is crammed with puzzles to suit all tastes. From fun Wordsearches and Kriss Krosses to more challenging Logic Problems, Sudoku and Cryptic Crosswords, all are sure to keep you entertained for hours and give those little grey cells a workout, too. As well as the Straight Talking and Cryptics, crossword fans will enjoy the Missing Links, which are a great test of word association skills. If you fancy yourself as a general knowledge expert, don’t miss the Quiz Crosswords. Of course, even the keenest puzzlers need to take a moment to reflect and recharge their solving batteries, and our Set the Scene puzzles are perfect for relaxing and taking in the beautiful images whilst enjoying a cuppa.

The People’s Friend Puzzles is on sale on 22 September and priced £5.99. Available to buy in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda, WHSmith, Waitrose and M&S.

Also available to buy online here.

News brands celebrate wins at the UK Regional Press Awards

The Press and Journal and Evening Express’ newspaper delivery team scooped the Special 2020 Award for the dedication of their 750-strong home delivery network.

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, they surpassed all expectations delivering an increased number of papers as people were forced to stay at home.

From writing letters of support to running errands, the delivery team served their communities proud, and they have now been recognised with this prestigious award.

Head of newspaper sales and marketing, Neil Mackland, said: “The coronavirus pandemic challenged us all in 2020.

“But for the girls and boys who make up our home delivery network, it brought out the very best of them.

“We were faced with challenges at the start of lockdown, however we received strong support from parents and customers as they could see we were doing absolutely everything we could to ensure safe working conditions with no impact on our delivery service.

“We started receiving letters and calls of thanks from our readers, passing on their appreciation for the amazing work by our very own home delivery heroes.

“We also witnessed many examples of our newsboys and girls offering to collect shopping, take out bins and run errands for our most vulnerable customers.

“We are proud to be associated with them.”

Press and Journal editor-in-chief, Frank O’Donnell, added: “We rightly saluted our frontline workers who kept the country going during lockdown.

“But perhaps one group that went unheralded were the paper boys and girls, who brought trusted local news on the pandemic directly to people’s doors.

“A daily newspaper written by professional journalists was so important to people across the north and north-east, especially in those early stages of Covid-19, when misinformation and rumour were common.

“Not only did these youngsters keep delivering, they offered to help those who couldn’t leave their homes by bringing vital supplies and running errands.

“This says so much about the strength of our communities, the future of our region and the big heart of our young people. I am proud to know them.”

The Courier and two of our journalists also came away with successes at the awards, announced on Thursday 16th September.

The Courier came highly commended in the Daily Newspaper of the Year (above 400,000 monthly reach) category.

Dale Haslam was highly commended in the Specialist Writer/Impact Journalist of the Year category, while Lesley-Anne Kelly was also highly commended in the Data Journalist of the Year category.

For the full list of winners visit the Society of Editors online.

 

Beano joins forces with Radley London to create iconic collection

 

Beano’s comic strips have been styled by Radley London into expertly crafted, collectable designs. Illustrations of Dennis, Gnasher, Minnie and Radley’s Scottie dog create mischief across bags, card holders and purses.  The rebellious collection will be available exclusively in Radley’s London and Glasgow stores, selected concessions and online from 4th October.​​​​​​​

Dennis’s iconic black and red stripes are referenced throughout the collection, including the ‘Breaking Rules’ Book Street bag, which features screen prints and foil embossing on luxurious leather.  The large black tote has appliqué badges of the Beano characters and slogans and includes a detachable striped Scottie dog key fob who dons his very own red and black striped jumper.  The collection also includes a highly collectible leather card holder which features the iconic Dennis and Gnasher fan club logo.  The Dennis fan club was originally created in 1976 and this is the first time it has been brought to life in a licensed deal.

Vanessa Andreis, Franchise Planning and Partnerships Director, Beano Studios says, “In this momentous year for Dennis we’ve chosen iconic partnerships to commemorate his 70 years. Bringing a bit of Dennis’s loveable mischief to Radley London will be a special part of Dennis history and thanks to their incredible craftsmen we’re sure these collectible products will still be around for the next 70 years of this iconic character.”

Radley London is an official partner of Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules – a major exhibition at Somerset House.  Radley’s rebellious collection of Beano-inspired handbags and accessories will be available to buy within a special pop-up shop at Somerset House during the exhibition, which runs from 21 October 2021 until 6 March 2022.

Jackie Hay, Radley London, Chief Product Officer comments, “We are so delighted to join with Beano and Dennis in this very special year.  Our Design Team had enormous fun creating a playful collection which brings Dennis and his friends into our world.  The exclusive Picture Bag designs are made by hand by our artisan craftsmen – including cutting, dying, stitching and printing – and we can’t wait to see our collection run riot this Autumn on our handbags, purses and of course our very own Dennis fan club card wallet.” ​​​​​​​

The landmark exhibition, Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules at Somerset House will explore the relationship between Beano and contemporary art pieces with unruliness and irreverence, through the eyes of the artists who embody the Beano sensibility of rebellion.

The major exhibition will feature original comic drawings, never previously seen in public, selected across its 4,000-plus editions (to date) and rare archive artefacts, alongside works from leading artists and designers, imbued with the same Beano spirit of breaking the rules. Recently announced contributors include artists Nicola Lane and Peter Leversidge and editorial cartoonist Martin Rowson.

Beano was first published by DC Thomson in July 1938 and is still put together in its original Dundee headquarters and printed in the UK each week. Beano has an ABC of 54,800 – an increase of 9.0% YOY. The brand reaches over 5m kids a month on its digital network, centred around multi-award winning Beano.com and fans in more than 100 countries across the world can watch Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed!, the Emmy nominated TV series.