The Gambols is a beloved British comic strip that has captured the hearts and imaginations of readers for decades. First introduced to the world by the talented Barry Appleby on March 16, 1950, in the Daily Express, “The Gambols” has become a staple of British comic art, continuing its legacy in The Mail on Sunday since 1999.
This comic strip is a collaborative masterpiece, born from the creative minds of Barry Appleby and his journalist wife, Doris “Dobs” Appleby, who not only suggested the memorable surname ‘Gambol’ but also co-wrote the series from the 1960s. Their work reflects a world akin to the early 1950s Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, as noted by social historian David Kynaston, offering a delightful window into a bygone era.
At the heart of “The Gambols” are George and Gaye Gambol, the endearing married couple whose suburban, middle-class life provides endless charm and humor. George, the primary breadwinner, works as a salesman, while Gaye, mostly a housewife, occasionally steps into part-time office roles. Their adventures revolve around everyday scenarios, from Gaye’s love for shopping to George’s enthusiastic yet often humorous attempts at home improvements. Though childless, their lives are enriched by the annual visits of their nephew and niece, Flivver and Miggy.
Initially published thrice weekly in a three or four-panel format, “The Gambols” evolved post-paper rationing in 1951 to a daily multi-panel feature. By 1956, an extended three-row strip was specifically crafted for the Sunday Express, with some strips even gracing the pages in color.
Join me in celebrating the charm, wit, and timeless appeal of “The Gambols,” as we explore the rich history and delightful stories that have made this comic strip a cherished part of British cultural heritage.