Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Taming Of Teresa - how a Bunty story from the 60s inspired a novel

People talk a lot about synchronicity, referring to those significant or meaningful coincidences, and just recently three friends were reading the same book of mine around the same time.  This might not sound so strange for a well-known writer but for a relatively unknown like me, it was quite uncanny.  Maybe it coincided with a promotion I'd done, but then one of those reading this book would have been unaware of such a promotion.  Bear in mind too, that I have over a dozen books, then it starts to seem more curious.  The book in question is a novel I wrote a few years ago called Savage To Savvy.

The plot is centred around a child reared by dogs, called Nicki. Psychology graduate, Heidi Harper is appointed to work with Professor Mala, pioneer of a new project to rehabilitate Nicki. Heidi is soon asking questions and her mission takes on sinister overtones. As the truth outs, the lives of all concerned begin to unravel. Savage To Savvy is a psychological novel about the ultimate forbidden experiment.

But the seeds for this novel were planted in childhood.

If anybody read Bunty as a child and is old enough to remember a story called The Taming Of Teresa about a child being reared by wolves (1969/70) that story has stayed with me for years. In 1985 I wrote to the publishers of Bunty as I wanted to read it again.  Luckily for me, they had the story in their Lucky Charm collection so they kindly sent me a gratis copy, even though I'm sure I'd have offered to pay.  So at last The Taming Of Teresa and I were reunited! 

Not that I needed to be reminded of the story as I had in fact committed large parts of it to memory.  In fact, I tried to recreate it in an old exercise book complete with childish drawings. I think that must be because we had to throw out our old comics each week, I imagine (or after a few weeks). In fact, I used to remember the number of each installment and what happened in each, so much so, that when I finally got a copy of the Lucky Charm version over fifteen years later I saw that a small part of week 12 was missing – I distinctly remembered a man with a megaphone searching the grounds of the country house for Teresa who was hiding in a cave, or the like!

I guess the story about a child being reared by a wolf, like the ancient story of Romulus and Remus, taps into some archetype that resonates with us. For me, it stood out from the crowd, though I also had the usual favourites that inspire a ten-year-old's imagination.

That story was the inspiration, many decades later, for Savage To Savvy. As a story for adults, though, Savage To Savvy has a much darker aspect.  It refers several times to The Taming Of Teresa (Heidi's mother has kept copies) which becomes relevant in the context of the story.

The other coincidence is the recent discovery of a site dedicated to all the girls' comics of the time, including Bunty. That site - Girls Comics Of Yesterday - lists many of the old Bunty stories (as well as those in Judy, Mandy etc).  I swear I have searched the internet for any mentions of The Taming Of Teresa before and the searches yielded nothing, not related to the Bunty story anyway.  And then I stumbled upon this site to find that not only are there others who loved the story as I did (that shouldn't be surprising, but it feels strange when you've felt in the wilderness with your passion for so long!) but the story was also reprinted in 1979 to a whole new generation. 

I'd be interested to hear from others who remember this story, especially those for whom it made a lasting impression.

For more information about Girls Comics Of Yesterday please visit:

For more in formation about Savage To Savvy or where to purchase it please visit:

Or visit my website:

I have also recently created a Taming Of Teresa board on Pinterest:



  1. I guess I'd stopped reading Bunty (who me??) by 1969/70 so I never saw this story. Fascinating study, but I bet your book trumps the comic story several times over? I was pointed to your work by (I think) your brother, and I have enjoyed reading them. I must tackle Savage To Savvy next!

    1. Many thanks for your kind comments, TiddK. I'm not sure that my book does trump The Taming Of Teresa but let's say it's an evolved adult version!

  2. Sadly I didn't read Bunty till many years after this so I missed The Taming of Teresa, but it certainly sounds interesting and to have kept your attention for so long it must have been very vivid!

    1. Great to know though that Bunty inspired you, NerdishMum!
      I expect you had one or two that stood out for you too. It's worth checking out that girls' old comic site too. I had great fun looking down the list of stories for those I remembered and some I'd forgotten too!

  3. The lucky charm reprints were edited down a lot of the time to fit the page count, "the girlhood of valda" has a few episodes of the original missing. As for taming of teresa, I didn't read it first time around but when I started collecting again, the episode that stood out in my memory was where she's at school and writes 'dog'all over her jotter

    1. Mmm, interesting. I think I would have noticed if they had several episodes missing, Lorrs. I've just counted the pages of The Lucky Charm edition of The Taming Of Teresa and it is 64 pages long. As I remember it the original ran for 22 weeks. So with 3 pages per episode that would have been 66 pages. Most of the reduction would come from omitting the doubling up on the title page and the brief resume which would account for most of the reduction, as well as the missing bit from episode 12, that I remember. I think most of it is there. There were many memorable parts of the story, just the whole evolving from wild child to 'civilisation', the setbacks along the way and her relation with her parents. For me, one of the most memorable episodes was when Teresa's mother started to acknowledge her but ironically she fell off her horse in an accident and lay fighting for her life. Teresa's father, having always rooted for Teresa, chooses his wife, and turns his back on Teresa, sending her back to the woods again to fend for herself. Dramatic stuff!