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The Giles family
is a fictional British
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
family created by cartoonist Carl Giles
Ronald "Carl" Giles , often referred to simply as Giles, was a cartoonist most famous for his work for the British newspaper the Daily Express....
at the end of World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, appearing first on 5 August 1945.
Much of Giles's World War II work had been cartoons featuring Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...
, Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....
and the typical British Tommy
Tommy Atkins is a term for a common soldier in the British Army that was already well established in the 19th century, but is particularly associated with World War I. It can be used as a term of reference, or as a form of address. German soldiers would call out to "Tommy" across no man's land if...
, but he felt the need to expand after the War, hence the family. The format was a single-panel cartoon, published daily in the Daily Express
The Daily Express switched from broadsheet to tabloid in 1977 and was bought by the construction company Trafalgar House in the same year. Its publishing company, Beaverbrook Newspapers, was renamed Express Newspapers...
and Sunday Express
newspapers from 1945 until 1991. An annual collection was published each Christmas.
Characters and story
The family belongs to the better-off British working class and is usually seen living in a semi-detached house. The scenes in which they are depicted usually comment on a topic headlining the news of the day. The Giles family is patriotic but suspicious of authority. The ages of the family members remained the same throughout the 46-year run of the cartoon series, but their home, their hobbies and their dress reflected the changing British fashions and standard of living.
The Giles family consists of the following:
- Grandma, the most distinctive character of the series. Always present but rarely given a direct voice. She is the ultimate head of the family (despite what Father may think). She is seen using such things as ski
A ski is a long, flat device worn on the foot, usually attached through a boot, designed to help the wearer slide smoothly over snow. Originally intended as an aid to travel in snowy regions, they are now mainly used for recreational and sporting purposes...
s, a motorbike, a hang glider, a Sinclair C5
The Sinclair Research C5 is a battery electric vehicle invented by Sir Clive Sinclair and launched by Sinclair Research in the United Kingdom on 10 January 1985. The vehicle is a battery-assisted tricycle steered by a handlebar beneath the driver's knees. Powered operation is possible making it...
, and playing the tuba. A proper battle axe
A battle axe is an axe specifically designed for combat. Battle axes were specialized versions of utility axes...
of a woman, who is crossed at one's peril.
- Father, Grandma's son. A mild and philosophical character. Still deludedly considers himself to be the head of the family. He works, but it's never revealed where. He is passionate about boats, fishing, betting and hiding from the younger, louder members of the family. Would do anything for a quiet life and is often seen lounging in the garden.
- Mother, the power behind the dynasty; it is she who organises everyone else. Cheerfully tackles endless housework and mountains of cooking for the extended Giles family. People mostly tend to do as she tells them.
- George, Mother and Father's elder son, is an avid reader and is very rarely seen without a book in his hands. Smokes a Sherlock Holmes style pipe and wears a beret and sandals. Absent in later cartoons. He is married to the skinny bespectacled Vera who is constantly suffering from a cold. They have one baby son, George Jr.
- Ann, the eldest daughter, and her babies, the twins, Lawrence and Ralph. The twins' absent father is a G.I..
- Carol, blond daughter, always seen reading a magazine and lounging about.
- Ernie, the younger son of the family. A smaller version of his Dad in looks and attitude, but with a child's cheekiness.
- Bridget, the youngest daughter of the family. Wears a gymslip
A gymslip is a sleeveless tunic with a pleated skirt most commonly seen as part of a girl's school uniform. The term gymslip primarily refers to athletic wear; otherwise the term pinafore dress or jumper dress is usually preferred.The introduction of the gymslip as female athletic wear is...
and has never been in any trouble because she never gets caught.
- Grandma's Parrot
- Attila the Hun, a 1980 Christmas present from Ernie.
- Butch The dog, a shaggy Airedale Terrier
The Airedale Terrier is a breed of the terrier type that originated in Airedale, a geographic area in Yorkshire, England. It is traditionally called the "King of Terriers" because it is the largest of the terrier breeds...
- Second dog, a Border collie
The Border Collie is a herding dog breed developed in the Anglo-Scottish border region for herding livestock, especially sheep. It is the most widespread of the collie breeds....
- Natalie, a black cat.
- Larry, (aka "Stinker") the mop-haired kid from next door. When not up to mischief he can be seen with a camera recording the mischief or embarrassing situations involving others. Said to be the alter ego
An alter ego is a second self, which is believe to be distinct from a person's normal or original personality. The term was coined in the early nineteenth century when dissociative identity disorder was first described by psychologists...
of Giles himself.
- Chalkie the schoolmaster A walking skeleton of a man with no sense of humour. He is modelled on one of Giles's own teachers and is Giles's revenge for what he felt was unfair treatment at school
There is a statue of the Giles family in Queen Street in Ipswich
Ipswich is a large town and a non-metropolitan district. It is the county town of Suffolk, England. Ipswich is located on the estuary of the River Orwell...
, England. Grandma made a cameo appearance in DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...
' Superman: True Brit
Superman: True Brit is a DC Comics Elseworlds first published in 2004 in the US, and by Titan Books in the UK. Written by John Cleese and Kim Johnson, with art by John Byrne and Mark Farmer, it reimagines the origin of Superman, by considering how Clark Kent's upbringing would be different if his...
. The appearance of Mrs. Henriot-Gulch in the comic Cerebus
is closely based on Grandma. The family appeared in TV cartoon ads for tea, one of which included Grandma racing around on her motorbike.