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A cultural figurehead in the 1960s and one of the longest-surviving female interviewers on British television, Joan Bakewell (1933-) has earned her place in the history of the UK medium. Following Cambridge, she started with the BBC as a trainee studio manager for radio and moved to television in the early 1960s. Making her first appearance on the arts discussion/review series Late Night Line-Up (BBC, 1964-72) in early 1965, she soon became the programme’s leading lady, as presenter and interviewer, and remained a fixture for six years. She was appointed arts correspondent for the BBC in 1982, returning her to more ‘serious’ pursuits, until the John Birt (1944-) revolution in the late 1980s, which removed the arts from under the news and current affairs umbrella. Switching from arts to morals, she presented the religious debate series Heart of the Matter (BBC, 1979-2000) for 12 years. She was awarded a CBE in 1999 and DBE in 2008; also held the post of BFI Chair, 1999-2002. (Adapted from:


Bakewell, Joan. “Why Can’t a Woman . . .” Punch, 20 June 1973

Bakewell, Joan, and Jack Emery. “Australia, His and Hers . . .” Punch, 5 June 1974

Bakewell, Joan. “Daughters of the Revolution.” Punch, 12 Feb. 1975

Bakewell, Joan. “Winter Olympics.” Punch, 20 Jan. 1982



John Betjeman (1906-1984) is a unique figure in 20th century English poetry, enjoying a degree of fame and success unequaled by any poet since Byron. His Collected Poems of 1958 reputedly sold more than 100,000 copies, and they are read by millions of people who normally never read poetry, while he has become a household name through his many appearances on television panels and on programs about architecture. He is also quintessentially English, a pillar of the so-called establishment and he has, during a long and diverse career, accumulated several honorary doctorates, a CBE, and a knighthood before being created the Poet Laureate in 1972. Despite such public recognition (or perhaps partly because of it) Betjeman’s stature as a poet has remained singularly hard to assess. Some critics have always maintained that he is a poet of mediocre talents, a competent versifier whose adroit exploitation of the television medium in its early years enabled him to carve out for himself a reputation he does not deserve. (Adapted from: Clarke, John. “John Betjeman.” British Poets, 1914-1945, edited by Donald E. Stanford, Gale, 1983).


Betjeman, John. “The Metropolitan Railway.” Punch, 28 Jan. 1953

Betjeman, John. “The Fabric of our Faith.” Punch, 23 Dec. 1953

Betjeman, John. “The Lecture.” Punch, 17 Mar. 1954

Betjeman, John. “Imaginary Conversations.” Punch, 7 July 1954



Three-time winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award for illustration, the “Nobel” of such prizes, British author-illustrator Quentin Blake (1932-) is regarded by many critics as a master artist whose line drawings and watercolors are touched with genius. Blake has written and illustrated numerous well-received books for children and has provided the pictures for over two hundred titles by other authors for children and adults. Considered an especially inventive and adaptable illustrator, he has created a highly recognizable style--called “calligraphic”--that ranges from the childlike to the highly sophisticated. Blake studied for three years at Cambridge, where he drew for their undergraduate magazines as well as for Punch. Becoming a freelance artist, Blake was hired to do a drawing a week for Punch and also began working for the literary magazine Spectator. (Adapted from: “Quentin (Saxby) Blake.” Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults, Gale, 2002).


Blake, Quentin. “Educational Visits.” Punch, 15 Sept. 1965

Blake, Quentin. “Punch.” Punch, 12 Apr. 1967

Blake, Quentin. “And what’s more, m’lud, we have reason to believe the jury has been interfered with.” Punch, 30 Aug. 1967

Blake, Quentin. “Punch.” Punch, 3 Apr. 1968



Penelope Fitzgerald (1916-2000) published her first novel when she was fifty-nine years old. Some two decades and a Booker Prize later, she had established a reputation as an ironic, spare, and richly comic author. Even when the settings for her novels range as far afield as Florence, pre-revolutionary Moscow, and Germany in the 1790s, she is praised for her sense of detail and her clear observations of human nature. Some of Fitzgerald’s early novels are loosely based upon her own work experiences. Born of a “writing family,” she was educated at Oxford and was employed by the British Broadcasting Corporation during World War II. After her marriage in 1953, she worked as a clerk in a bookstore in rural East Suffolk; later she and her family lived on a barge on the Thames. (Adapted from: “Penelope Fitzgerald.” Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2004).


Fitzgerald, Penelope. “At the Play.” Punch, 5 Jan. 1944

Fitzgerald, Penelope. “At the Play.” Punch, 19 Jan. 1944

W. L., and Penelope Fitzgerald. “At the Play.” Punch, 16 Feb. 1944

Fitzgerald, Penelope, et al. “Our Booking-Office.” Punch, 10 Oct. 1945



Leslie Illingworth (1902-1979) was born in South Wales, and in 1917 won a scholarship to study at the Cardiff Art School. A successful student, he won a gold medal for drawing and had four topical cartoons published in the college’s magazine, studying in the morning and working in the lithographic departments of the Western Mail. In 1921 Illingworth won a three-year scholarship to the Slade Art School. Illingworth left the Western Mail in 1927. He moved to Paris for a year before moving to New Jersey. His first cartoon for Punch magazine was published on 27th May 1931. He shared responsibility for producing the main political cartoon for the magazine with E. H. Shepard (1979-1976) and Bernard Partridge (1861-1945). On the outbreak of the Second World War he was offered £650 a year to become an official war artist. He refused the offer and instead accepted a job with the Daily Mail, that paid £2,000 a year, where he drew four cartoons a week. Illingworth’s drawings continued to appear throughout the war, despite the fact that by the end of 1940 paper rationing had reduced the newspaper to six pages. On the death of Bernard Partridge in 1945, Illingworth became the main political cartoonist on Punch magazine. On 22nd December, 1969, Illingworth published his last cartoon for the Daily Mail and retired to his smallholding in Robertsbridge, East Sussex. (Adapted from:


Illingworth, Leslie. “The Novice.” Punch, 1 Jan. 1940

Illingworth, Leslie. “Buzz!” Punch, 20 May 1953

Illingworth, Leslie. “In Nehru-land what Avatar?” Punch, 11 Aug. 1954

Illingworth, Leslie. “United Nations Organization.” Punch, 9 Dec. 1964



May Kendall (1861-1943) was a poet whose work was a vehicle for her social commentary, particularly on the subjects of science, evolution, and feminism. Kendall was born in Yorkshire, England, lived in Liverpool and Birmingham, and spent most of her life in York. In Dreams to Sell, her poems explore evolution, some of the theories of which were not particularly favorable to women, presuming that they were more associated with “mother” nature and men with things spiritual. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) challenged these roles, and women poets used his theories as a tool in their opposition to Victorian presumptions about gender. In several of the poems in this collection, Kendall portrays males who acknowledge female equality. She became affiliated with the Rountrees, a philanthropic family that supported social research. Kendall died poor, alone, but surrounded by her many cats. The Rountree family paid for her funeral, and she was buried in an unmarked grave. (Adapted from: “May Kendall.” Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002).


[May Kendall]. “An Astral Complication.” Punch, 8 Mar. 1890

[May Kendall]. “The Original Aryan to the Professor.” Punch, 23 Mar. 1895

[May Kendall]. “The Introspective Bard.” Punch, 30 Mar. 1895

[May Kendall]. “The Dilemma of the Headless Spectre.” Punch, 3 Nov. 1894



Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914) is remembered chiefly for his illustration of Lewis Carroll’s (1832-1898) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, works that have won near universal approval from critics and from readers of all ages around the world. The Tenniel images of Alice and her friends are nearly as important to the lasting success of the works as Carroll’s stories, and few subsequent illustrators of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass have measured up to the master artist who came before. In his own time, though, Tenniel enjoyed more attention for his work as a political cartoonist for the magazine Punch, where more than two thousand of his cartoons were published between 1850 and his retirement in 1901. Tenniel was also a life-long artist and art lover who staged his first exhibition when he was sixteen. By the time he took the commission from Carroll he had already illustrated nearly thirty books either in whole or in part. (Adapted from: “John Tenniel.” Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults, Gale, 2002).


Tenniel, John. “Poland’s Chain-Shot.” Punch, 28 Mar. 1863

Tenniel, John. “The Zulu Bride.” Punch, 8 Feb. 1868

Tenniel, John. “Urgency!” Punch, 12 Feb. 1881

Tenniel, John. “A Friend in Need—.” Punch, 21 July 1894



William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) created unrivaled panoramas of English upper-middle-class life, crowded with memorable characters displaying realistic mixtures of virtue, vanity, and vice. When William Makepeace Thackeray began his literary career, English prose fiction was dominated by Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Thackeray formed his style in conscious reaction against Dickens’s programmatic indictment of social evils and against the artificial style and sentimental falsification of life and moral values of the popular historical romances. The familiar, moralizing commentaries of Thackeray’s narrators, as integral a part of his novels as the characters themselves, expressed their author’s detached moral disillusionment--usually touched with sentimentality. Although critical of society, Thackeray was never a radical intellectual, remaining basically conservative. As a regular contributor to the satiric magazine Punch between 1844 and 1851, Thackeray finally achieved widespread recognition. His most famous contribution was ‘The Snobs of England, by One of Themselves’ (1846-1847). Through a series of satiric character sketches, it made a critical survey of the manners of a period in which old standards of behavior and social relationships had been shaken by the redistribution of wealth and power effected by industrialism. (Adapted from: “William Makepeace Thackeray.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, Gale, 1998).


[William Thackeray]. “Soldiering.” Punch, 26 July 1845

One of Themselves [William Thackeray]. “The Snobs of England.” Punch, 31 Oct. 1846

[William Thackeray]. “The Balmoral Gazette.” Punch, 16 Sept. 1848

[William Thackeray]. “An Ingleez Family.” Punch, 4 Oct. 1851


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