Speech Bubbles
Drawn by Ken Harrison

18 appearances (over 37 pages) from issue no. 70 (15/05/76) to no. 87 (11/09/76).
All were printed in black and white.

What does it say on the tin (or in that rhyming couplet at the top of the first page)?
“Crooks come a cropper with this quick-change copper!”

PC McGraw’s life changed the day he decided to play football with young Tim rather than look for Slippery Sam. After fifty kicks the overweight copper is exhausted and thirsty. Tim goes into his house to get him some pop, but inadvertently picks up the wrong bottle (“an experimental mixture made up by his scientist father!”), pours the contents into a glass, and gives it to PC McGraw. He drinks the liquid just as Tim’s father rushes out with the empty bottle asking where the liquid has gone, and then begins to change.

“Oh my!” exclaims Tim’s father, “It’s changed him into a gorilla!” To keep him happy, Tim and his father give him some bananas, and one of the skins he throws into the street is happened upon by Slippery Sam. Dazed from his fall, the crook (with trademark mask, hooped jumper, and sack emblazened with the word “LOOT”) is helped into the house by the pair just as McGraw turns back to normal. McGraw promptly arrests him and takes him to the station. Later at home, PC McGraw is relaxing with a cuppa…


After the three-page introduction, the strip settled down to two pages and PC McGraw was back to normal by the following week. The blurb in the first frame (and of subsequent stories – see above) reminded us that “every time he had a cup of tea or drank some pop, he changed into a whopping big monkey”. Hang on minute! The previous week he had been a gorilla! So, what was it then? Gorilla or monkey? It’s never resolved, both terms are used as much as one another – “monkey” isn’t even used in a story until the seventh appearance (in issue no.76). Similarly, it’s not only tea or pop that can cause the change – any moisture seems to do the trick. Water from various sources (including a fountain, a water pistol, rain and an elephant’s trunk) is the most culpable, but even seawater or a bit of tomato juice (from a tomato thrown at him as he does a Tommy Cooper impression on stage) will do.

As a monkey / gorilla, PC McGraw speaks in a simian language that consists of around a dozen words such a “OOBA!”, “BOOBA!”, “DOOBA!”, “GROOBA!”, “GRUNT!” and “SNARL!”. Helpfully, the artist sometimes provides translations. For example, “GRUNT!” on its own means “Ta!” (as in thank you – issue no. 72). “GRUNT! OOBA! DOOBA!” means “I’ll teach you not to pull at my face!” (issue no.78). However, take care how you pronounce it as it also means “I’ll show off my new uniform! “ (issue no. 85) and “C’mere, you little crook!” (issue no. 79). If you simply want to say “C’mere!” use “GRUNT! OODA!” (as in issue no. 83).