King Rollo was a chidren's cartoon TV and book character from the 1970's and 80's. The TV programme was first shown in 1979.
It’s one of my fondest remembered TV programmes. Maybe because it hit me at around the age of 3 – 4 years old, when my parents had just gotten their first television and the magic and wonder of both television and youth was still upon me.
Rewatching some episodes though, there’s something really special about the 5 minute programmes. They contain very very simple plot (much like the Teletubbies or Tweenies do these days). There is simple quite traditional music in the background. In fact it has a very old-worldy feel. Like the scenes could come from a 13th century puppet show or morality play.
The main character of the stories is of course King Rollo himself, a good natured, but frequently misguided child-like King who was always in need of advice and assistance from his friends (Like us all, surely!). His friends were The paternal Magician. The maternal Cook; his neighbour, Queen Gwen; King Frank; and perhaps most importantly, Rollo's cat, Hamlet.
The animations used the same distinctive colourful cut-out paper look as McKee's other works, such as Mr Benn, and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant.
The characters dressed in olde worldy costumery, which makes it seem that maybe King Rollo was meant to be “King Rollo of Normandy” . 846 – c. 932. Although I doubt that king Roolo was quite as childlike or had a cat called “Hamlet”. That King Rollo was a Viking.
King Rollo also appeared in a series of books, and a comic strip in the magazine Buttons.
Only 13 episodes were made of the TV series – I am always surprised by how few episodes there are of any of my favorite TV programmes, there always seemed to be hundreds when i was younger, but I guess making them back then took months of pain staking stop motion filming. So they just repeated and repeated them.