An urban legend exists that it was named after Jacqueline Wilson who worked there at the time, before she became a notable children’s author. Although the author has attempted to perpetuate this claim, this has been denied by those who were involved in the launch.
Jackie was the best-selling teen magazine in Britain for ten years, with sales rising from an initial 350,000 to 605,947 in 1976.
The best ever selling issue was the 1972 special edition to coincide with the UK tour of American singer David Cassidy. During the 1970s, “Jackie” published a mix of fashion and beauty tips, gossip, short stories and comic strips. The latter were usually illustrated with line drawings or posed photographs, especially if the story involved a “reader’s true life experience”.
Both the comics and the short stories invariably dealt with either romance or family issues. The centre pages of the magazine usually contained a pull-out poster of a popular band or film star.
The magazine featured a section called “Silly Star File”, a humorous interview with figures from the world of pop music.
Jackie became very popular with young teenage girls, not least because of the “Cathy and Claire” problem page, which received 400 reader letters a week and dealt with controversial issues that were nonetheless relevant to the readership. However, the subjects covered in the column were not reflective of the majority of readers’ letters, which focused on sex-related issues—DC Thomson as a result kept the editorial brief, but created a series of help leaflets which they sent to letter writers.
In 1974 the NHS made the contraceptive pill free on prescription, and so under editor Myskow the magazine introduced a “Dear Doctor” column, which covered what were termed as “below the waist issues”.
Sales declined after the 1970s, and by 1993 circulation had dropped to 50,000 weekly. Deciding not to follow the more sexual and high-fashion orientation of newer teenage magazines, DC Thomson chose to shut the magazine down. It was one of several Thomson papers to close that year. More recently, the company has started issuing every year a historic Jackie annual.
BBC Radio invited Jackie Clune to do an epitaph for Jackie and, in 2007, the BBC produced an hour long programme devoted to the magazine’s 1970s heyday, called Jackie Magazine: A Girl’s Best Friend, with contributions from former readers, writers, staff and publishers.
The magazine also inspired a musical.