Why ROLF never made me ROFL
In the old days, in the 1970's, clean, middle-of-the-road family light entertainment, it was all about Variety - a variety of different kinds of child sexual predator.
I hate to bang on about the fact that I heard about Rolf nearly a year before the rest of you due to a curious connection, but, I kept the secret, it was a litigious affair, and besides, this is the thing. I DID NOT completely BELIEVE IT. As time passed I did. I set up a 'Google Alert' so that I got any news on the matter first by email. He was to do with numerous of my greatest childhood (and current) hobbyhorses: Cartoons, Swimming, Animals and Art. Thing is I always hated his schtick. but it simply came along with him in a time when very mannered presenters and odd TV people were in vogue. I hated all of the forced personae and routine of party tricks that comprised the Rolf product'. I think there is something of the 'Product' about all these Yew-tree blokes: Saville, DLT, That prick from it's a Knockout who would wheeze and laugh WHICH even as a child I found annoying, unprofessional and affected. I also thought he seemed, given the lame display he was narrating, somewhat 'easily pleased'. It's the falseness, Stewart Hall wasn't corpsing like Pet and Dud used to which WAS hilarious, because THEY WERE and it was UTTERLY REAL..
I stayed up later than any other kids I knew and liked the properly funny people better. he NEVER made me laugh except when at some post modern point we laughed at him and then he came to Glastonbury. Let's face it though, the only thing he really had a talent for was Art. Unlike the genuine and magnificent eccentrics and talents like Kenneth Williams and all the other great creative characters of the day). These people do not really represent light entertainment or comedy they all seem to be people I never found likeable in the absence of what they did. Brucie, Tarbuck, Game show hosts generally except for Monkhouse and Wogan. A whole load of DREADFUL MEN on TV that I tolerated for they were ubiquitous. There is something fishy about artifice posing as personality. Rolf got under the wire a bit more than most because he had a serious hobby (Art) which made up for his terrible 'music', also he would, on those public information films about swimming (He would do programmes in pools with kids in costumes, I thought it was weird but then Rolf was always a Renaissance cobber, 'Didg', wobbleboard, artist, singer) In this advert after being all Rolf about the whole thing in a pool, he then looked to camera pulled a serious face and delivered a safety message. Saville too made safety public information films broadcast at prime-time ad breaks, for Seatbelts and (incredibly enough) Nonce-awareness too I believe? These 'uncles' making public safety films warning people of dangers to kids, were, hazards themselves.
HOWEVER, where Rolf really got under our skin was Animal Hospital. This is true for me and I merely assume the same for many others. I think in retrospect, the thing that now annoys me the most are not the songs, the chutzpah, the painting The Queen programme, like the most worthy man in the nation. She of course LIKED HIM, everyone does when he wanted them to) But the thing that really gets to me, where he got under the wire and I trusted him (and I bet even the queen loved him because of Animal Hospital) is remembering him tear up and cry when a beloved pet was put down. I think he was genuine, he does love animals, but he made us love him, through them.
Nobody it turns out ever really liked Savile (and he was, to be fair, the Stalin of paedophiles) but everyone loved Rolf, or liked him, or were indifferent. Much fewer people disliked him. Blimey, I wonder if he is going to prison? ROLF HARRIS. An Australian who came HERE to be a convict. It would be, alas, his funniest gag. Never once made me laugh when I was supposed to.