24 August 2012

Roland Rat, Kevin The Gerbil And The Rat Fans - "Yeeaaah!"

Born in a sewer at King's Cross (some say that he was actually created, voiced and operated by one David Claridge, so believe what you will), Roland was the rat who helped to save the good ship TV-am in 1983.

He's seen here on both sides of his picture disc Rat Rapping - "High class music for discerning rodents". He was a class act (still is, check him out on Facebook!) and the ultimate '80s superstar.

I was keen on Kevin the gerbil too. Loved that pink bucket! And then there was the delectable Glenis the guinea pig and the leek-loving Errol the hamster.

Inspired '80s TV fun!

The very lovely Kevin the gerbil - pictured here with his pride and joy pink bucket - got a taste of the limelight in 1984 with the release of his own single - Summer Holiday. Kevin was, and still is, Roland's Number 1 fan. He hails from Leeds and, despite a tendency to panic, and sometimes even faint, under pressure, is a valued pal of the great rat.

 Kevin the gerbil strikes a pose in the wonderfully posey mid-1980s.

Roland was also a badge star - here he doesn't drop litter and advertises his own spaghetti shapes in 1987.
Love this - Kevin the gerbil money box.
Roland Rat really was the ultimate '80s superstar. I found all this in a 1984 mail order catalogue - Roland Rat and Kevin the gerbil jigsaws, a stencilling kit, Roland, Errol the hamster and Kevin the gerbil toys and your very own RATMOBILE!

I must say, however, that the idea that the "big bad 1980s" was the first decade to target kids as consumers is nonsense. When I was little, the big thing was "The Magic Roundabout" - and the memory of the amount of merchandising available still boggles my mind today!

Article Updated 25/8/12


Anonymous said...

My kids loved him!

Fitzmorgan said...

I remember Roland saying women fancied him as much as they used to fancy Elvis, because he had a hairy chest as well!

Dave Mullen said...

One of those 80s creations that is forever burned into my memory, I think everyone of this era remembers Roland Rat. I even remember the theme tune!
As I recall he did try to make a comeback a few years ago yes? The sad truth is there's not much place on modern TV for puppets, todays Breakfast TV ignores the younger element of the audience and the other traditional children's slots just don't exist anymore for Roland, Sooty, Emu, Gordon the Gopher etc but I couldsee him being a part of something like Harry Hill's show for example. I'd hope the selling point wouldn't be slanted to his being a Kitch element, but characters like this could still be a great deal of fun!

Drew said...

Yes, I think Roland could find a niche somewhere on TV nowadays. Especially if Kevin the gerbil and his pink bucket came along too!

Shane said...

Kevin is my favourite.

Peter said...

Chatting to his adoring fans on Facebook, Roland Rat has revealed that Kevin the gerbil is still hoarding pink buckets! When one fan revealed that he has a pink bowl to soak his feet in, Roland commented: "DON'T TELL KEV!" Lol!

Drew said...

I wonder why Kevin hoards pink buckets? I suppose it's one of the mysteries of the universe we'll never solve! :) Great that Roland has a link to his fans via Facebook!