Drawn by Barry Appleby
47 appearances (over 94 pages) from issue no. 41 (25/10/75) to no. 87 (11/09/76).
Apart from issue no. 49, nos. 41 to 55 appeared across the centre pages in red/black. The rest of the strip was printed in black and white.
What does it say on the tin (or in that rhyming couplet at the top of the first page)?
“If you need help in a twinkle – ring up RIP VAN TINKLE!”
Rip lives in a castle ( ‘Tinkle Towers’) and his family had always been knights. Unable to get a job as a knight at the Labour Exchange (for anyone born in the post-war era, that’s a Jobcentre) he advertises himself as “Dial A Knight – Dragons Slain, damsels rescued, anything considered. Give Tinkle a tinkle.” Rip’s phone (contained in the chest area of his armour) is soon ringing. After ‘slaying’ a dragon (issue no. 41) and rescuing a damsel in distress (42) the knight related jobs dry up and Rip tackles anything from rescuing a cat from a tree (43) to helping the Prime Minister recover stolen plans from a crooked scientist (47). Eventually the ‘Dial-A-Knight’ aspect becomes less prominent.
Like every knight, Rip has a trusty steed. Unlike other knights’, his horse is mechanical. It doesn’t have a name (being usually referred to as “trusty steed”), except for issue no. 70 where Rip enters it (as ‘Iron Horse’) with himself as rider in a horse race. [The previous week, in issue no.69, the ‘horse’ ‘spoke’ for the one and only time – an aside to readers in the last frame of the story that Rip, stuck to his front door by a pointed helmet, would be free “for next week’s episode”. The ‘horse’ didn’t appear in issue nos. 60, 68, 71, 78, 81, 83, 84,and 85.]
As with other CRACKER strips, Sammy often appeared to make a comment (usually in the last frame). In issue no. 49 (the 1975 Christmas edition) Rip advertised for a squire and Sammy got the job (eventually – Little ‘Orror, Scrapper, and Hector The Collector were all rejected). Other CRACKER characters to appear in the run of the strip were Fred (of Fiends Beans, in issue no. 69) and Slojak (85).
Rip himself appeared in Joe Soap (issue no. 44), Little ‘Orror (no. 72) and Slojak (nos. 85 and 86).