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.