Fleetway published this weekly comic for younger children between 16 October 1954 and 15 August 1987.
Over the course of 1700 issues, it absorbed the comics Harold Hare’s Own Paper (1954), Tiny Tots (1959), TV Toyland (1967), Robin (1969) Hey Diddle Diddle (1973), Fun to Do (1982), and Chips Comic (1983).
It was originally intended as a companion comic to Jack and Jill, but for slightly older readers, and the lead strip in its early days was ‘Prince, the Wonder Dog of the Golden West’.
Most strips in Playhour didn’t use speech balloons but stuck to the older style of illustrations with narrative underneath, originally in rhyming couplets (like the Rupert Bear cartoons).
The comic lowered its target age group in 1955 and introduced strips based on AA Milne’s Winnie The Pooh and Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.
‘Sonny and Sally of Happy Valley’ arrived in 1956 with their pet lamb, and became the figurehead of the comic until it ended in 1987. Children writing letters to the editorial address would receive replies signed by Sonny and Sally.
Regular strips included:
- Billy Brock’s Schooldays
- Jolly Days with Dicky and Dolly
- The Merry Tales of Mimi and Marmy
- The Wonderful Tales of Willow Wood
- Wink and Blink, the Playful Puppies
- Little Red Squirrel
- The Travels of Gulliver Guinea Pig
- Tiger Tim and the Bruin Boys
- Bunny Cuddles
- Norman Gnome
- Sooty – based on the TV series
- Leo the Friendly Lion
- Tommy Trouble
- The Magic Roundabout – based on the TV series
- Num Num and His Funny Family
- Pinky and Perky – based on the TV series
- Mr Men – based on the children’s book series