Up from the depths, thirty stories high, breathing fire, his head in the sky, ROLA… oh, hang on, that was Godzilla…
Roland Rat was the first 80s non-human character who originated from the UK, and rose up to become an International Megastar. Now, I know what you’re thinking…. What about Basil Brush – He wasn’t human! Or the Muppets – They weren’t human! Or Orville – He wasn’t human either! But to people who say this, I reply a defiant “NEY!”
Basil Brush was created in the 70s not the 80s, Muppets were not from the UK, and Orville is clearly a puppet so he doesn’t count.
Roland Rat is the ONLY 80s non-human, live character to have had his own prime-time show on UK TV. Whats more, his show was the only 80s show that I know of to co-presented by a gerbil and a guinea pig.
Episodes of Roland Rat The Series started off with the title featuring Roland driving his infamous pink Ford Anglia, better known as the “RatMobile”. Each episode featured a mix of comedy sketches and special guests, and usually ended with a musical act performing the out-tro. The end-of-show guests were none of your average middle-of-the-road bands either. They were all bands at the height of their careers.
Ultravox, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Erasure, even The Communards were on there! Honestly, I can only imagine how the phonecall went that convinced them to appear and perform on the show…
*ring ring…… ring ring* “Hello……. yes, this is Jimmy Somerville of Communards fame…… you want us to play out at the end of a primetime TV show?…… it’s a comedy sketch show….. with special celebrity guests…… and it’s fronted by a rat?………. Yeah, count me in!”
It was so utterly, utterly original and the show was a huge hit. In fact a couple of years later “Roland Rat The Series II” graced our screens, with even bigger guests and musical acts.
The comedy sketch parts of the show were occasionally parodies of popular films or current day tv. Bridge Over The River Kwai, DIY with a Ferret and Cooking with a Moron were the ones that stand out in my memory.
Guest-wise the likes of Uri Gellar and Gordon Kaye (From Allo Allo) made appearances, and some guests also appeared in the parody sketches.
If it wasn’t for Roland Rat The Series, I doubt rats would as popular today. Rats all over the world owe a huge thanks to Roland.
I’m not one from copying and pasting other peoples hard work and taking the credit, so if you would like to know more about Roland Rat The Series, please visit the following links.