Richard Oliff: Rolf Harris was far from his jolly TV persona

Richard often spoke of the 'other side' of Rolf Harris
Richard often spoke of the 'other side' of Rolf Harris

It’s been a little like watching chunks of ones youth and early adulthood disappearing down the loo.

When I was 10 everyone went to the moon with Jonathan King. In the 70s millions joined Garry Glitter’s gang and giggled like drains at the infectious laughter of Stuart Hall on It’s a Knockout.

Max Clifford was seen as the media guru to who the stars would turn to give them professional representation.

Two years ago I wrote about my feelings at hearing the disgusting news about Jimmy Savile, one of a growing list of disgraced personalities who have been exposed or charged, convicted and sentenced for a variety of offences that have left most of us speechless. Yet through all of this I find it mind-blowingly outrageous that someone can be at the forefront of the British entertainment establishment for over 50 years yet still remain undetected as someone who would be found guilty of a string of historic indecent assault charges.

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I often spoke of the “other side” of Rolf Harris; the less jolly happy bouncy Aussie we all knew and loved.

In 1993 I interviewed him by way of celebrating the 30th anniversary of his life in the public eye. This is a man that epitomised the words show business. He really had done it all, and succeeded at most of what he did.

I detailed virtually every aspect of our encounter in a book, though my recollection was not at all complimentary, indeed, one publisher in Australia refused to publish my verbatim account.

I’ll leave the last words to Rolf Harris.

“I haven’t ever conned anybody. I haven’t ever sort of, you know, as a lot of people do when they’re dealing with kids, they, they make capital out of making a fool out of the child. They sort of get em’ to do something stupid and then laugh at them or whatever.”