Opinion - Fond memories of Rolf are forever tainted

Charles Graham
Charles Graham

AS a child Rolf Harris was always one of those folk on the telly you looked forward to seeing.

Two Little Boys was one of the first records I ever got and for years after it always brought a tear to my eye.

Then I would be held spellbound by those programmes where he would create incredible giant murals with what appeared to be a few casual strokes of a decorating brush.

Rolf Harris was a TV institution: the madcap, lovable Aussie that Britain had adopted and cherished for decades. He appealed to all generations whether through his music, his art or through presenting shows like Animal Hospital.

Fond memories now forever tainted.

Just as they will be for millions of other folk.

Just as they were for all those people who used to buy Gary Glitter records, watched Jim’ll Fix It or were It’s A Knockout fans.

When word first spread that Harris had been questioned by police a couple of years ago (it wasn’t made public until months later), my initial reaction was disbelief. Here was someone with an impeccable record being accidentally trawled up in the same sleaze net as Savile and co.

Some of the celebrities who’ve been hauled in since Operation Yewtree was launched have warranted a “well that doesn’t surprise me” kind of response.

But surely not good old, dependable Rolf?

Other top names from the world of entertainment have been mentioned in social media as being under suspicion and these have never come to light, perhaps because there were never allegations or suspicions in the first place - only a malicious lie put out there until it was repeated so often that it gained a half truth.

At one time I thought Harris would fall into that category. But, as the trial which ended this week in 12 convictions for indecently assaulting girls showed, one of the country’s favourite entertainers was indeed capable of having a horribly dark side as well.

Well done to the women who found the courage to stand up to this serial abuser. It will no doubt bolster an argument that I have difficulty with: over naming suspects but not accusers in sex crime cases (although several accusers waived their right to anonymity).

But justice has been done and an evil man is facing prison.

I feel angry about those tainted memories, particularly as they set you wondering who else you really look up to in the entertainment world shouldn’t actually be trusted.

But there’s only one person to be angry at and that’s Rolf Harris.