Tayside and Central Scotland

Beano's Dennis the Menace celebrates 60th birthday

Dennis the Menace
Image caption Dennis the Menace is the longest running strip in the Beano

Dennis the Menace is now eligible for his free bus pass after turning 60.

The Beano comic character, famous for his black and red stripy jumper and spiky hair, first appeared in the Beano in March 1951 after being sketched on the back of a cigarette packet.

His mischief-making with sidekick Gnasher has become part of British popular culture.

The Beano has been published by Dundee-based DC Thomson since 1938. Dennis the Menace is its longest running strip.

The name of the character came from a famous music hall song in the 1950s which featured a Dennis the Menace. After being introduced into the comic, it quickly became one of its most popular strips.

Beano editor Mike Stirling said it was a "big responsibility" writing stories for the character because the readers loved him so much.

"They expect certain types of behaviour from him - namely menacing - so we have got to come up with ideas that always exceed the menacing that he's got up to in the past," he said.

"We find that people over the years tend to like best the Dennis who was in the comic when they were aged between seven and 11."

Mr Stirling said he often compared the Dennis the Menace character to Dr Who, as he kept reinventing himself but in "essence" was still the same.

"He's still the world's oldest boy. He's still the most famous menace in the world," he said.

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