High Wycombe cartoonist launches Psycho Gran comic

Come Dine With Me cartoonist talks about his Psycho Gran

David Leach at his board

Psycho Gran

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A CARTOONIST from High Wycombe, who starred on Come Dine With Me, has released a digital comic book featuring a psychotic granny.

David Leach invented his mad and bad cartoon character, Psycho Granny, in the 80s and after a 25 year absence is returning in her own comic book, which was launched online on Wednesday.

She was first published in the British kid's comic, Oink! in 1986, and is making her return by way of the online comic site, Comixology.

David, 50, said: "She was my first ever cartoon character I created.

"I have always been fascinated by the elderly. My Granny fascinated me. As a kid I thought they were wonderful.

"Old people are thought of as slow and not interesting. But my gran was always fun and had a wicked sense of humour and turn things into crazy games."

Psycho Gran (or Psycho Besta as she's known in Norway) is a five-foot high, mauve-haired, bespectacled psychotic granny with a pan-dimensional, sentient handbag called Percy, a flying dog called Archie and a pathological loathing of rudeness. Her adventures are mapped out in the digital comic.

David said: "I forgot about her completely until 2011. My little nephew asked if I would draw a carton for him.

"So I drew Psycho Gran."

When he left art college he went to work with Bob Godfrey, best known for the children's cartoon series Roobarb, for a year.

He was knocking on everyone's door looking for a job when he met Mel Calman, who ran the cartoon gallery in Lambs conduit St, London, who recommended Bob Godfrey to him.

He spoke to Bob's secretary and told her Mel Calman said Bob needs to see him, which is when he spoke to him.

David showed Bob his work, who said he really liked it but had nothing to give him.

David said: "Then on Christmas Eve that year in 1986 I got a phone call from a very drunk man, I didn't recognise him.

"And he said, 'Do you want a job? Come and start working for me on January 2' and he put the phone down.

"I worked out it was Bob Godfrey. So I turned up as I had been told at his studio.

"He said, 'Who are you?' I said, 'I am David Leach.' He said: 'What do you want?'

"I replied: 'You phoned me up on Christmas Eve and said come and work for me.'

"He said: 'There is a drawing board there. Why don't you sit down?'"

David said it was a dream job for him. He later became a comic book editor, and has edited the likes of Wallace and Gromit, Sponge Bob Squarepants and currently Adventure Time.

Come Dine With Me fans may recognise David, as he cooked in an hour long episode last September.

David, who lives near High Wycombe cemetery with his wife, Petra and two children, Lydia, 13 and Baxter, 11, came joint first.

He said: "That was amazing. It was such a hoot going on it. I was with three quite unusual contestants."

The other contestants were Brazilian-born vicar Levi Santana, Noelle Thompson, a lady that enjoys the finer things in life, and Joh White.

To get on had to fill in an eight page application form, have two telephone interviews and an audition.

He said: "I spent ages working out my menu. I approached it as I would a comic strip."

On the day he hosted filming started at 7am with the camera crew there all day long- they don't leave until 1am.

David added: "I don't necessarily get nervous. I have this ability to not be myself.

"I think it is being a cartoonist perhaps. I create a persona for myself."

Go to www.comixology.com to see David's Psycho Gran comic.

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