is a comic strip within The Sunday Post
newspaper, which is published by D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd
. It features the Broon (Brown in Standard English
) family, who live in a tenement
flat at 10 Glebe
Street, in the fictional Scottish
town of Auchentogle or Auchenshoogle
, an amalgam of Dundee
. Originally created and drawn by Dudley D. Watkins
, the strip made its first appearance in the issue dated 8 March 1936
Since its inception The Broons have had their own biennial, alternating each year with Oor Wullie. No annuals were published during 1943 and 1945 due to paper rationing in World War II.
The Family Members include:
- Maw Broon - the mother of the 8 youngest Broons. She has to run every aspect of the household and keep Paw in line. Her first name was once used when her brother came to visit, he burst into No10 addressing her "Maggie...", looking for money for his taxi fare. The name Maggie has now been confirmed in "Maw Broon's Cookbook" published in 2007.
- Paw Broon - a working stiff who just tries to keep enough back for a bit of 'baccy' (tobacco) and a bet on the horses. In a flashback to his youth, Paw was seen with his immediate family before he and Maw were married. His mother, Granmaw, was seen as well as his sister Daphne and brother Joseph. As Granpaw is a widower, and Aunt Daphne and Uncle Joseph are never seen, it is probable that they are deceased. Paw has named two of his children after his siblings, his oldest daughter Daphne, and his second son Joe. With his combover hairstyle and walrus moustache, his appearance was supposedly based on A.C. "Archie" Brown, the chief editor of D.C. Thomson at the time The Broons originated.
- Granpaw Broon - Paw's widowed father, he lives in his own house and spends most of his time sitting on a park bench with his 'cronies' (friends). Shares Paw's preoccupation with having an ample supply of tobacco. Granpaw was a slightly later addition, not appearing in the earliest strips. In some of the earlier strips, the family had a picture of Granpaw on their wall, which could do certain actions, such as wagging its finger at the children. It was revealed in "Maw Broon's Cookbook" that his late wife was named "Jeannie", a Scottish variation of "Jean" or "Jenny" that was once very popular. Granmaw was only seen once in 1937, during a flashback of Maw and Paw's courting days.
- Daphne Broon - The somewhat dowdy daughter who is always playing second fiddle to her beautiful sister Maggie on double dates. Every few years she has a stroke of luck when the double dates get mixed up and she gets Maggie's man, who is understandably more impressive than any of Daphne's own boyfriends. At least once a year Daphne tries to go on a diet but fails to lose any weight. She is often mocked by Hen and Joe about her diets, although their taunts are intentionally harmless. Daphne is a skilled dressmaker but has a penchant for flamboyant hats.
- Hen (Henry) Broon - the lanky, awkward son and firstborn child of Maw and Paw. About 30 years old and an average guy who rarely gets the girl. He is often taken advantage of for his height, for example being made to act as a clothes stand to keep the washing line up. Early Broon cartoons featured Hen wearing a zoot suit. Hen is aspirational, for example every couple of years or so he buys a car. Such purchases, however, always end in failure.
- Joe Broon - a regular guy, usually noted for his strength and love of boxing. Joe is something of a ladies' man, and can sometimes be seen sharing a bitter rivalry with Hen over a beautiful woman, with Joe winning. Hen envies Joe's luck with the girls, and the twins see him as a role model.
- Maggie (Margaret) Broon - the beautiful, glamorous daughter with blonde hair. She has a steady stream of beaux and is bitterly envied by the plain Daphne. In the later editions, Maggie became a model. Despite their rivalry, Daphne and Maggie share a close bond; Maggie even stands up for Daphne when she is taunted. In earlier times, was called Sadie.
- Horace Broon - a bookish schoolboy forever trying to learn poetry by rote amidst the chaos of a do-it-yourself chimney-sweeping mishap or other domestic turmoil. He likes to think of himself as a role model to the twins, but recent times have shown him aspiring to be like Joe (for example, purchasing muscle-building equipment).
- The Twins - Although one is called Eck (short for Alexander), they are always referred to collectively, with few exceptions having Granpaw calling them: "ae twin" and "the ither twin") - rambunctious youngsters usually adding to the chaos with a fistfight or a good game of cowboys and Indians.
- The Bairn - The youngest of the family at four or three years of age. She is basically a smaller version of Maw, she is getting in her practice of indignant moral pronouncements and pointing out the foolishness of the male Broons. She and Granpaw are deeply close.
During the 1970s stories drawn by Tom Lavery, another character named Dave MacKay was regularly featured. Dave was Maggie's long-term boyfriend and was often implied to be engaged to her. His parents were upper-class, much to the chagrin of Paw and Maw. Maggie's character also changed during this time, becoming more posh (and, unlike the rest of the Broons, spoke English instead of Scots). When Peter Davidson took over from Lavery, the character was dropped.
Most of the humour derives from the timeless themes of the 'generation gap', stretching the money as far as possible, and the constant struggle for each family member to live in a very small flat with 9 other Broons. In the end the family is always together through it all, getting through life with a gentle good humour as they argue amongst themselves. Another staple of the series is misunderstanding: inevitably the Bairn or the Twins mishear something Granpaw or another family member says, and the whole family act on it until the truth is revealed in the final panel. An example is where the Bairn overhears Maggie talking about her latest beau, and reports to the rest of the family that she heard Maggie say he was half-French and half-Polish. When Maggie says she's bringing him to tea, Hen runs out to buy French wine, Horace swots up on his Polish dictionary, etc. Finally they meet the fellow, who greets the family in broad Scots. It turns out he's a french-polisher
being pronounced the same as "Polish"
The annuals alternated years with Oor Wullie
(English : Our William). Books pre-1965 were not dated. After that they had a copyright date with annuals normally published in Autumn. The early editions of The Broons
annual are highly sought-after collectors' items, fetching in excess of four-figure sums at auction. A facsimile
of the very first Broons
annual was released on 25 November
- Watkins drew the strip from his Broughty Ferry home until his death in 1969. For five years after Watkins' death, D.C. Thomson recycled old strips in the newspaper and annuals, fearing no adequate replacement could be found to match Watkins' unique style. In these repeated strips, some particularly Scots words were replaced (e.g. 'ahint' became 'behind') and the pre-decimal coinage was updated. Peter Davidson is the current artist, succeeding Ken H. Harrison (This is actually Davidson's second stint as artist, the first being in the early 1980s), BBC Radio Scotland presenter Tom Morton is the current scriptwriter.
- The Broons were immortalized in the BBC Scotland comedy sketch show Naked Video. In the sketches, Tony Roper played Paw, Gregor Fisher played Maw, Elaine C Smith played the Bairn, and Jonathan Watson played Joe.
- In December 2005, BBC Scotland documentary Happy Birthday Broons celebrated the family's 70th anniversary with celebrity guests including Muriel Gray, Ford Kiernan, Sanjeev Kohli, Eddi Reader, Elaine C. Smith, Ricky Ross, Tony Roper, Tam Cowan, Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and was narrated by Ewan McGregor. The programme was made by Angel Eye Media and was later nominated for a Best Documentary BAFTA. It would be followed by Happy Birthday Oor Wullie.
External links and References
- That's Braw!, a fan-site dedicated to Oor Wullie and The Broons.