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Possibly the slimiest groveller in C-Ps (and that's saying something), Hickford has two distinct roles. He is first introduced to us as a functionary of the Sports and Social Club, following the weekly wage packets round the building with his inevitable subscription. Not long after we learn that he is the editor of the House Journal. His relationship with Bristow is beautifully summed up in Bristow (1966) and developed in strip 2190
Hickford fancies himself as an editor. He is gloomy when a national newspaper closes "Its always sad to see the end of a rival". Most of the staff ignore the journal. Bristow delights in pouring scorn on it and in poking fun at Hickford’s pretensions. Alone amongst the staff he looks forward to receiving the journal so that he can irritate Hickford by dropping it directly into his "Out" tray, or folding it in a useful shape (such as a sun-hat during a heat wave) - and it has a side benefit in that the shiny paper makes excellent paper aeroplanes.
Undaunted by criticism Hickford carries on. He does this thankless task for one reason - to curry favour with the directors through shameless flattery in the hope of promotion. And the strategy pays off at least once when his "Personal tribute to Sir Reginald Chester-Perry" is published at exactly the same time as he is promoted, over the head of "old" Chinnery, apparently. Jones and Bristow discover this just after Bristow has ripped up the House Journal on hearing that Hickford was laying down his editorship, and he has to reach hastily for the sellotape as he learns Hickford's new status. The article itself does not impress - strip 2519
Hickford claims that he is being replaced as editor by Mr. Bard but he continues in this thankless post for many a long decade more. His promotion makes no difference to his work for the Sports and Social Club or Bristow's opinion of him. But with a result like that, no wonder that Hickford is content to walk round the building, dishing out the latest edition whilst eagerly awaiting comments and shows a remarkable fortitude in the face of the bitterest sarcasm. This is a typical example: -
Hickford to Bristow: What do you
think about the current edition?
Hickford is not just editing as part of his job - its is life's work, his vocation. As he unwisely reveals to some disdainful buying clerks in a weak moment in strip 5619
Of course it is Hickford who must organise the dreaded Sports and Social Club Annual Christmas Dinner & Dance, strip 3031z and other events during the year. As ever, his efforts do not impress Bristow strip 4490
The worlds of House Journal and Dinner & Dance collide painfully when the Journal publishes the photo of the daring bread-roll thrower who disrupted proceedings in 1969. The case is taken up the firm's amateur sleuth Mr. Tracer who bases his investigation on the evidence in strip 2773
In April 2001 Hickford's home life comes under the spotlight. His wife forces him to choose between continuing as editor of the House Journal and continuing with his marriage. There is no contest. His marriage disintegrates and Hickford carries on editing. This sequence, published only on Frank Dicken's website, is rather sad. But it is soon forgotten as Bristow continues to deride each "bumper" issue (although he seems quite taken with the youth-orientated features on skateboarding and gangsta rap in October 2003).