No. 157 – Merry Christmas, Mr. Noel

Buddy Noel from Merry Christmas, Mr. Zombo in prog 2010’s (2009) Zombo written by Al Ewing and drawn by Henry Flint v Robbie Williams, English singer, songwriter and actor

Born Robert Peter Williams in 1974, Robbie Williams was a member of the pop group Take That from 1990 to 1995 and again from 2009 to 2012, as well as having his own hugely successful solo career.

Buddy introduces Billy, suffering from mutant face cancer and a severe allergic reaction to kelp

Williams is heavily involved in charity work, having set up local charity Give It Sum in his home town of Stoke-on-Trent, and organising Soccer Aid charity football matches to raise money for UNICEF UK. He has also been the Patron of the children’s charity the Donna Louise Trust, also based in Stoke-on-Trent, since 2002. The charity offers respite and palliative care to terminally ill and life-limited children who are not expected to live past the age of 16.

The title of Buddy Noel’s show, Buddy Noel’s Christmas Joyfest of Joy, is probably a reference to English television presenter Noel Edmonds’ now defunct BBC variety entertainment show Noel’s House Party, while the title of the Zombo story itself is an homage to Nagisa Ôshima’s (1932– 2013) Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Palace Pictures/Shochiku, 1983), starring David Bowie (1947–2016), Tom Conti (as Col. John Lawrence), Ryuichi Sakamoto, and [“Beat”] Takeshi Kitano (better known for writing, directing and starring in The Blind Swordsman: Zatôichi [座頭市] (Shochiku/Office Kitano, 2003)).