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Roland Rat

Yeaaah RatFans! Roland was a TV presenting Rat basically! Roland's best friend was called Kevin (the Hamster).

Roland was very popular in the 80s and even released a pop record and music video which can still be seen today playing regularly on the Tiny Pops channel!

He had a regular TV-AM slot, where you would visit Roland beneath King's Cross railway station in The Ratcave – yes Ratcave. He had an infant brother called Little Reggie , his friends included a technical whiz-kid called Errol the Hamster (who was welsh), and "number one ratfan" Kevin the Gerbil, who supposedly came from Leeds and loved pink buckets.

This was an absolutely brilliant show – totally left field, ( I mean who comes up with an idea of a gerbil who’s obsessed with pick buckets?) you can see why it caught children’s imagination, and why there were so many merchandising off-shoots from the brand.

A whole subtext about the show that I had no idea of at the time was the fact that Roland Rat was introduced to a failing breakfast television network TV-AM and was pretty much it’s savior. After a couple of months, Roland took the audience from 100,000 to 1.8 million! He was described in the papers at the time as "the only rat to join a sinking ship"!!

Roland, and all his friends were essentially big puppets, and were created, operated and voiced by David Claridge. David had worked for the brilliant genius that was Jim Henson (he of the Muppets), He then worked in the second series of The Young Ones! So quite a CV!

Roland then actually got his own show – on the BBC in 1985, Roland Rat the Series, a chat show set in Roland's sewer home. It had a whole bunch of new characters and was more like the Muppet show in a lot of ways. But I never really got into that, the new characters couldn’t match the heights of Kevin the Gerbil.


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Do You Remember Roland Rat?

Do You Remember Roland Rat?

  • Anonymous user
    on
    Roland was hated by parents and loved by kids of the Eighties, including me! I enjoyed "Roland Rat - The Series" (I and II) and it did owe a certain amount to "The Muppet Show", with the backstage dramas and regular guests. Anyone remember Colin Baker (as the Doctor! - nearly) trying to shoot Roland? Also a song between Kevin and Roland that went: "I love Linda/Lovely Linda/The canteen girl", about a girl they both fancied in the BBC canteen? There was also a funny Saturday morning series, on before "Going Live!", with Roland and Kevin as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Never seen that again. It parodied the Holmes stories very well and there was a running gag with him introducing himself as: "The world's greatest detective" and people saying: "Pleased to meet you, Mr Bergerac." Still got my Roland and Kevin toys, the "Rat on the Road" book and Roland ViewMaster slides! I never throw much away. (Or sell either, in case anyone's wondering - had queries already since joining this site!)
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I remember his debut on TV-am, a round-Britain tour called 'rat On The Road' in The Ratmobile, a 1950s Ford Anglia which was pink and covered in stickers promoting his superstardom. He still pops up in pantomimes up and down the country- his mate Errol the Hamster was meant to be Welsh and kept going on about leeks, an excuse to laugh at the Taffs which was never missed out on in the '80s. I recall one occasion when they all went to Switzerland and did various re-enactments from 'The Sound Of Music', with Errol dressed up as one of the nuns- that was hilarious! I had a Roland Rat Calendar in '84, believe it or not....
  • Anonymous user
    on
    Kevin was the gerbil. Errol was the hamster. And Roland had a little nephew called Reggie, that used to blow raspberries and always say "Great 'ere, 'innit", in a Brummie accent. I remember it being on in the Summer Holidays after TVam!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I remember as a child i had all the roland rat stuff one thing that sticks out is a blow up punch bag thing... I loved him so much I had the album which I always remember the summer holiday track... he made me laugh... brings back memories..
  • Anonymous user
    on
    they released a cover version of summer holiday that I bought and I had a cuddley roland rat that I insisted my mum buy from woolworths...roland had his own tv spin off show after being on breakfast tv called rolands rat race where you had to answer quiz questions sat in a racing car...he had mates calleg Errol, harold and glenys.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    Kevin was so dopey, but Roland rocked (not quite as much as Basil Brush though).
  • Anonymous user
    on
    he so funny