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TV: R is for...

Roland Rat – the Series

RAPPING RODENT jumps previously sinking ship of TV-am for primetime Saturday evening slottage just before DR WHO. And bombs, spectacularly. Lousy “rogue channel” format consisted of a collection of “television programmes” (in reality just a sequence of, mostly very brief, sketches) brought together under the banner of a fictional television schedule. Shortest skits transmitted under the guise of fake commercials, and sequences such as a spoof advert for dandruff ending with Roland’s sidekick Kevin the Gerbil wearing a brown paper bag on his head, at least had brevity on their side. Also present: Roland’s decrepit parents Iris and Freddy; an inevitable spoof of the genuinely-everyone’s-talking-about-it EASTENDERS, and JAMES SAXON as hapless lickspittle manager Darcey de Farcey. Wretched Stock Aitken Waterman acid house-esque title music (‘I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I’m back!’) didn’t help, nor did the endless guest appearances by COLIN BAKER. Other wholly non-obvious guests included TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR, SAMANTHA FOX and BRIAN BLESSED, while the likes of Curiosity Killed the Cat and Nik Kershaw plied their musical wares. Iggy Pop turning up on the Christmas special must have been a bonechilling sight for the youngest viewers. “Don’t stop, we’re having fun,” lied the signature tune.



  1. televisualcabbage

    February 28, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Oh Roland! The extent of the revival of puppets at Saturday teatime…

    And if you are wondering what Roland is upto….

    Its something that Adrian and Christine will never forget!

  2. fl3m

    March 4, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Didn’t Anna Karen have a regular role in this as well?

  3. Michael S

    August 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I really liked Roland Rat et al when they were on mornings (particularly in the school holidays) on TV-am.

    Something was definitely lost when they moved to early-evening BBC1 and starred in this bigger, more family-oriented show- it just wasn’t as much fun and didn’t feel like “ours” (as kids) as it had when your parents had better things to do than watch breakfast telly!

  4. fuz

    August 11, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    gave rare exposure to the excellently named (and sadly departed) racing driver Roland Ratzenberger(d’yer see?)

  5. Tom Ronson

    March 31, 2022 at 3:15 am

    Spitting Image did the best parody of Roland Rat, which even made my miserable old dad laugh his head off…
    ‘Yeahhhh! Hello rat fans!’
    (Roland is grabbed around the neck and beaten repeatedly with a cricket bat)
    A very necessary bit of nastiness, and doubly cathartic for people who were sick to death of the brash, Blakey-voiced rodent.

  6. Richardpd

    January 30, 2023 at 10:56 pm

    The BBC were seemingly trying to have a Muppet Show like hit with this but it fell short of the mark, but still OK in places.

    The second series was downgraded to a weekday slot & never repeated.

    The BBC THREE logo in the style of the then current BBC TWO logo was one inspired.

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