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Fred Basset

Updated on February 4, 2010

Fred Basset is a male basset hound with a dry sense of humour about the world he inhabits which seems to be stuck around the 1970's. He features in a comic strip written by Alex Graham and first published in the Daily Mail on 8th July 1963. It is still featured in the Daily Mail and has been syndicated around the world. Since Alex Graham's death in 1991 the strip has been carried on by his daughter Arran Graham with drawings by Michael Martin.

Fred Basset's tagline was "The hound that's almost human".

Other Fred Basset Books

Fred Basset for Garden Lovers
Fred Basset for Garden Lovers

A great hardcover book suitable for gardeners and dog lovers which includes loads of Fred cartoons in amongst the text.

 

Fred Basset Annuals on Amazon

All about Fred

Fred Basset is the self-acknowledged authority on chasing cats and eating unattended food. he has a dry sense of humour and take on the world. Fred is fairly snobbish about things and still displays the common attitudes of people from the 1970's and he enjoys the finer things in life. However as a dog he is quite at home chasing other dogs and cats, whilt at the same time being a coward when a more aggressive dog appears

The comic strip occasionally "breaks the wall" in that Fred and his owners are quite aware of a cartoon strip called Fred Basset whilst at the same time being unaware that it features them, on one occasion Fred himself thought the strip was "quite amusing".

Fred's main companions are Jock, who is a small black Scottish Terrier and Yorky a small brown Yorkshire Terrier. It is quite in keeping with Fred's character that he chooses to associate with smaller dogs. He also has a "love-interest" in the form of Fifi a femme-fatale Poodle. His "Lex Luther" is an alsatian called Satan.

Fred's "owners" are a middle-aged, middle class Home counties couple who are never named. The husband works in the City and seems to spend most of time reading the paper, frequenting the local pub, walking Fred or playing Golf. The wife spends most of her time managing the house and socialising with her friends. Again this is very indicative of the 1970's time-warp era that the strip finds itself in, this is aided by the fact that there are rarely any topical references in the strip although the later post Alex-Graham strips do have more modern references.

Fred Basset information

Alex Graham based Fred on his own basset hound called Freida, although why he changed the sex is not known. Alot of the people and places mentioned throughout the strip were also people and places from Grahams own life and experiences, such as Tinker's Wood, which was taken from a house Graham lived in.

After Alex Grahams death he had left a stockpile of 18 months worth of unpublished strips and when these ran out the strip was written by his daughter Arran Graham and drawn by Michael Martin. Martin kept the look and feel much the same as Graham's work although after a while this has tended toward a more rounded relaxed style whilst still capturing the same flavour.

There have been numerous collections of Fred Basset strips in book form stretching to Volume 1 in 1963 to Volume 45 in 1993, following this the books were published annually and took the year as their numbering. These are still being published at the current time.

Other books include a large hardback book from 1977 called "Fred Basset and the Spaghetti". This was a children's story written by Neilson Graham, Alex's son, with illustrations by Alex, rather than a collection of comic strips. In 1989 a compilation book confusingly called "Fred Basset Bumper Book No 2" was released, this is confusing as there never seems to have been a No 1 released.

2005 saw the release of "The Fred Files" which gave the history of Fred, and reproduced some of the earliest cartoons and early rough sketches from the life and times of Fred. Arran Graham, Alex's daughter, describes how Fred came about and how he is now a recognized around the world.

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