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The day Norwich children became TV stars

PUBLISHED: 12:56 26 July 2012

Rolf Harris 1978 visit scan

Rolf Harris 1978 visit scan

Archant

Memories of the day the much-loved Rolf Harris made city boys and girls stars of his prime-time Saturday night TV show are as vivid as ever.

It was back in 1978 when a man who has grown into a national treasure turned children into TV stars in Norwich.

While many TV personalities have faded away over the years talented Rolf Harris goes from strength to strength.

He has been our favourite Aussie for decades.

He was among the stars at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert and, over the years, he has continued to hold a warm place in our hearts.

People of all ages and all walks of life love entertainer/musician/painter/animal-lover Rolf, now aged 82. There is no one else quite like him.

He has been a regular visitor to Norwich and Norfolk over the years – he was appearing in shows at Great Yarmouth in the 1960s – and these pictures were taken by the Evening News when he was with 150 children from Angel Road Middle School in April 1978.

He was recording his popular TV show Rolf on Saturday OK at Blyth-Jex sports hall with boys and girls from Angel Road and then the following day with pupils from Long Stratton Middle School.

Rolf would travel up and down the country filming with the pupils – turning them into the stars.

He told the Evening News at the time: “It’s terrific. I was a kid once and it’s great to return. It’s such a lift for them to be involved in something like this and their enjoyment in turn comes back and makes me feel great as well.”

Jack Harker, head at Angel Road at the time, said the children had made the chicken masks they wore during the show at their craft lessons.

“The children are totally involved. They are the real stars of the show – dancing, singing and taking small parts in various ways,” he added.

Also appearing in the shows were crazy inventor Wilf Lunn – remember him from Vision On? – and Irish singer Dana.

Memories of Rolf’s visit were revived by Linda Prance whose younger brother, David Howes, was at Angel Road but couldn’t remember it.

“I use to tell people Rolf was at the school but nobody believed me. They will now,” she said laughing.

If you have any memories of Rolf at this event, or others in the city and county, drop me a line at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or you can email me at derek.james@archant.co.uk

If you want to buy any of these photographs call 01603 772449, email diane.townsend@archant.co.uk or you can go online at www.eveningnews24.co.uk/buyaphoto

Do you remember Wilf Lunn – or Wilfred Makepeace Lunn – to give him his full title?

He was a madcap star of Vision On – the pioneering TV programme for deaf children – at one time.

Memorable moments from his appearances with Rolf include the time he blew a hole in his trousers! Fortunately Rolf escaped without any lasting damage.

Wilf was a lovely man and a talented artist, making a range of weird and wonderful bicycles.

I know this for a fact because we used to live near him in Huddersfield in the early 1970s.

Rolf Harris was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1930 and was a champion swimmer before studying art.

In 1952 to moved to this country were he started drawing for TV shows.

His musical career began later and in 1957 he wrote that memorable song Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport – bet you’re singing it right now!

It became a worldwide hit and made Rolf into a household name.

Jake the Peg followed along with a string of TV shows.

In late 2005 he painted an official portrait of The Queen.

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