British Cartoon Archive


Roger Mahoney was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire in 1933, and from 1947 to 1951 studied art at the Southern College of Art, Portsmouth. He began freelancing as a cartoonist while working as a professional musician - a drummer - and sold his first drawings to the Daily Sketch and Daily Mirror. In 1954 he sent some of his cartoons to Barry Appleby, creator of the "The Gambols" cartoon strip in the Daily Express. Appleby encouraged him and became a lifelong friend, introducing him to Lancaster, Giles and Artie.

Mahoney created his first strip ("Mopsy") for the weekly Fleetway Publications magazine Princess, and afterwards contributed strips and jokes to a number of publications including the Scottish Daily Record ("Agony Is" and "Sammy the Caterpillar"), Woman's Realm ("Mum"), Daily Mirror ("Millie", "The Greens", and "Mandy Capp"), Sunday Express ("L") and Daily Star ("What's in a Name?" and "Last of the Summer Wine").

On Barry Appleby's death in 1996 Mahoney took over the writing and drawing of "The Gambols" for Express Newspapers. Continuing the strip created by Barry and his wife Dobs was daunting, and Mahoney recalled later that "if I could get through the first six months I knew it would be all right but living up to the Applebys remained the challenge." Mahoney compiled, designed, scripted, and drew The Gambols annuals Nos 46-48, published from 1997 to 1999. In November 1999 the Express dropped the strip, but in the following month Mahoney moved it to the Mail on Sunday.

Mahoney also wrote scripts for the relaunch of the Daily Mirror's famous "Jane" strip, created by Norman Pett, and worked with Jim Henson to develop the Muppet characters and scripts into a cartoon format. After the death of Reg Smythe in 1998 Roger Mahoney also took over drawing "Andy Capp" for the Daily Mirror, along with writer Roger Kettle. They have been credited since 2004.

Mahoney works mainly in pen and coloured inks, but also uses pencils, felt-tip pens, and watercolours.


  • Peter Tory “The Cartoon Couple Who Captured the Attitudes and Aspirations of Middle England”, 20 November 1999.
  • D'Arcy Doram “The Gambols Move up in the World”, Mail on Sunday, 26 December 1999, p.39.


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