Dennis menace was toned down to avoid accusations of gay-bashing Walter

September 15th, 2008 - 12:42 pm ICT by ANI  

London, September 15 (ANI): The former editor of the British childrens comic The Beano has revealed that he took some of the menace out of Dennis in the late 1980s for fear that the character might be accused of gay-bashing his favourite target Walter the Softie, the bespectacled boy who preferred picking flowers and holding tea parties for his teddy bears to pea-shooters or catapults.

I definitely felt a sense of responsibility in making sure the characters did nothing that was easily imitable. The evidence is that kids understand a comic is a comic and that it isnt anything like real life. But the relationship between Dennis and Walter was always one that worried me, Times Online quoted Euan Kerr, who edited the childrens comic between 1984 and 2006, as saying.

He said that executives D. C. Thomson & Co, publishers of the Beano, decided to tone down the torment of Walter because they were afraid that the characters victimisation could be interpreted as offensive.

We decided the best way to approach it was to make sure that, even though he and Dennis didnt get along, Walter was completely happy about who he was and a confident, likeable character in his own right. We eventually gave Walter a girlfriend too, as a measure to combat any further criticism, he said.

The comic has certainly changed over the years. For example, every strip used to end with the rogue of the piece being punished in some way usually a smack across the head or a slipper across the bottom. This sort of corporal punishment became outdated and eventually it was phased out, he added.

Kerr, however, insisted that the panic over political correctness had not taken the edge off the antiestablishment roots of the comic.

He said that there were indications that the balance was slowly turning against PC culture.

He revealed that the comic recently ran a strip entitled The Neds, chronicling the misadventures of a work-shy family, including characters called Asbo and Chavette.

Luckily for us, I think there is a real resistance to the overt political correctness creeping into British life and the Beano can hopefully use this to its advantage, he said.

John Midgeley, the co-founder of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, said: Its a great shame that in recent years this national institution has been watered-down to placate a tiny minority of humourless, do-gooding adults. (ANI)

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