Harris - Died in May 2023 at the age of 93
I was going to title this post "Rolf" but "Harris" seems more appropriate now. For a few decades Rolf Harris was Britain's favourite Australian. You might say that people of my generation grew up with him. He was always on our television sets - singing songs like "Two Little Boys" or "The Court of King Caractacus" - and he'd paint huge pictures with the kind of paintbrushes you normally use to emulsion walls or creosote fences. At first you wouldn't know what he was painting but then the scene would emerge like a marvellous optical illusion - often of the Australian bush. Quite brilliant.
He was a funny man who seemed to enjoy being silly. He introduced us to the stylophone and the didgeridoo and his famous wobble board. He was a man of many parts and as a nation we loved him. He had a hit record with his version of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and he appeared at the Glastonbury Festival seven times. Our Rolf. Good old Rolf. He was even commissioned to paint a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen.
From 1994 to 2003 he hosted a popular early evening television programme called "Animal Hospital". He was the perfect presenter - engaging warmly with pet owners and vets and often tearful when animals suffered or died. There seemed to be a genuine, earthy humanity about the bloke.
And yet...and yet he was a paedophile. He used his fame to facilitate numerous paedophilic activities with a string of young girls. He left most of them emotionally scarred and even in old age it seems that he had been accessing porn sites containing explicit sexual images or videos of eastern European children. The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to pursue that matter having achieved a successful prosecution in relation to his various other crimes against young girls.
So tonight at the age of eighty four, he's in Wandsworth Jail. They reckon he'll be out in three years if he lives that long. If it were possible, it would tempting to find an excuse for Harris - to explain why he did what he did - not once but over and over as if addicted to his vile habit - taking advantage of young girls. But there can be no excuses. Harris has been found out and he is where he belongs - behind bars and I know I will not be the only one who feels somehow cheated - a fond memory of my youth corrupted forever. What a shame that Jimmy Savile shuffled off his mortal coil before the law caught up with him and similarly delivered his just desserts.
Harris painting The Queen