Alf 's editor
short Q&A with Buff Halley, now retired, former Editor of the
Victor comic ; published by Buffs employer, DC Thomson in Dundee,
Buff for contributing & to his son Duncan for facilitating
things via his home in Scandinavia.
Q : The
drawings of Pete Sutherland have always been the perfect embodiment of
Alf ( for me at least ). Can you help with some background on Pete
he an employee of DCT or a freelance ?
Pete was a freelance
Since Buff's interview, I have been contacted by Pete Sutherlands
family & you can read more here
Q : What other
characters did he draw for DCT ?
He did draw other characters for DC Thomson - the
one I recall is Joe Dodds, the hero of Hornet's light-hearted
story "Cast, Hook and
Q : Could you hazard a guess at the
date or year of his death ? Which artists took over from PS
after his death ?
A : Pete
died, at a guess, in the late Seventies and then several other
were used on "the Tough", but none with the same
I enjoyed listening to your memories of the creation of Alf's character
Victor by Bill Blaine & Gilbert Dalton in the BBC R4
What were Bill
& Gilberts respective roles at DCT ?
: Bill Blain was editor of both Wizard and Rover and was
later in charge of all DCT's boys' and girls' publications.
Gilbert Dalton was a free-lance
After consultation with Bill Blain, he wrote the "Tough" text
stories for Rover. These were later turned into picture-stories by the
editorial staff of Victor. When they ran out, other free-lance writers
( J.O.Cornes was one ) wrote brand-new "Tough" picture-stories to
story-lines provided by the editorial staff and after discussion with
Q : Lots of
the Victor stories are updates from the Rover written stories from
those original stories themselves updates from older ones in different
DCT titles ? How did you decide which
of the old stories would be updated versus those
that were to be created anew ?
the start, Victor used a mixture of these converted stories and
original picture-stories. The text stories used for conversion had to
have strong characters and story-lines, as only the bones of a plot
could be accommodated in the picture-story format.
Q : In some earlier
stories Alf is portrayed as a pretty aggressive character, although by
the late 60's Alf seemed an altogether more loveable, agreeable
character. Was there
pressure, either on you by DCT, or from you to the writers, to
make him more 'loveable' as time went by ?
A: As for Alf Tupper becoming a more lovable
character as time moved on, Perhaps he did lose a little of his
original rawness, although he always reacted strongly to cheats and
snobs. But then Alf did grow up a bit - from an 18-year-old apprentice
welder to a journeyman in his twenties.
Q : Personally
I saw Alf as a typical runner from the 'Black country' &
came into contact with plenty of similar characters from Harrier clubs
in that part of the world when I was running cross country races. The
BBC programme had people suggesting the locations of the stories were
in the Northumberland area. Where in the country
did YOU believe Alf's home to be ?
regards Alf's location, it could be anywhere in industrial England -
wherever the reader wanted it to be.
Q : Alf's
love of 'fish & Chips' has
become the characteristic that most people recall about Alf from their
I wonder if you can recall when or how this came into the stories ?
liking for fish and chips was always there as far as
I remember. In the very first text story, he wanted some but
could not afford it!