One of Scotland’s longest running comics has undergone a transformation in hope of being more representative of modern Britain.
The consultancy firm who helped re-write Roald Dahl books to remove offensive material, Inclusive Minds, have been involved of a transformation of The Beano which this year will celebrate its 85th birthday, The Sunday Times reports.
New characters introduced to one of Dundee-based publisher DC Thomson’s most well known titles are vetted by digital focus groups of children.
One of the comic’s longest running strips, The Bash Street Kids, have welcomed five new classmates: Harsha, Mandi, Khadija, Mahira and Stevie Starr, promoting more diversity among the characters.
Characters formerly named Fatty and Spotty have been renamed Freddy and Scotty to ensure young people who have freckles, weight problems or acne are not taunted by their peers.
The comic’s creative director, Mike Stirling, said The Beano was not afraid of being branded “woke” as a result of the changes.
He told The Sunday Times: “We have never seen that as a pejorative term.
“It’s awareness and being awake to things.
“What would be easy to do would be to sleepwalk and keep The Beano the way it had always been done for ever.
“When we make a new character, (Inclusive Minds) connect us with an ambassador who advises us.
“That allows us to get the details right in terms of clothes they are wearing and cultural celebrations their family might get involved in.”
Parents and teachers have also been given a makeover, from past depictions as strict disciplinarians, to nurturing figures who help children with their problems.
In 2018, The Beano poked fun at Conservative MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg by sending him a “cease and desist” letter after a young reader pointed out his resemblance to character Lord Snooty.
Mr Stirling believes the magazine will reach its 100th birthday.
He told The Sunday Times: “We reckon there are 27 million people alive in the UK today that have read The Beano at one point in their lives.
“We have a trust rating that is higher than Disney and the BBC.
“The warmth that people have towards our characters and our comic is incredible.
“We plan to reach our 100th birthday and go way beyond that.”
An 85th anniversary edition of The Beano will be published on July 26.