Roland Rat

Louise Gold featured as one of the Ratcrew puppeteering Iris (Roland’s Mother), and Roxanne (a scouse rat) on Roland Rat The Series (Broadcast on 6, 13, 20 & 27 September, 4, 11, 18 & 25 October, 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29 November 1986, plus a Christmas Special 25 December 1986); and, Roland Rat The Series Two (Broadcast in 1988)

 

Cast

 RatCrew (puppeteers)

David Claridge – as Roland Rat, Reggie Rat (Roland’s little brother), Freddy Rat (Roland’s Father), and pretty much all the other male characters wherever possible

Louise Gold – as Iris Rat (Roland’s Mother), Roxanne (a scouse rat who was one of Roland’s girlfriends)

Leslie Herbert - Assistant Puppeteer

Ann Prior - ?

Maggie Danylewicz - ?

Darryl Worbey – Assistant Puppeteer

 

Other male characters include: Fergie The Ferret (male), Colin The Flea, Eric The Eagle, Errol The Hamster, and, Kevin The Gerbil

Trying to actually find out concrete information about the puppetry on this programme seems to be difficult. Much of it appears to be something of a mystery. And of the six puppeteers on this series, three of them do not appear to have been heard of much since in television puppetry.

Some sources have given Leslie Herbert as performing Errol The Hamster, and Darryl Worbey as puppeteering Kevin The Gerbil. However, it is possible that they puppeteered the characters only whenever those characters were actually in a shot with Roland Rat himself, and that even then, David Claridge did their voices; and whenever those characters were alone in the shot, he would have often puppeteered them himself.

Glenis The Guinea Pig was presumably puppeteered & voiced by either Ann Prior or Maggie Danylewicz. At any rate, Louise Gold definitely did not do that character.

It should perhaps be noted that Roxanne only appeared in Series 2, not Series 1. She did however duet I Got You Babe with Roland. Which was the only occasion that Louise Gold’s singing abilities were exercised in the entire two series.

It should perhaps be clarified that Malcolm Jones the visual effects person, is not the archivist of the same name.

 

Actors

Starring

James Saxon – as Darcy De Farcy and others

Anna Karen – as Maureen McConkey (The RatCave Secretary) and others

 

Special Guests

Leslie Ash (Series 1: Episode 7, and,  Episode 9)

Colin Baker (Series 1: Episode 3) – as Dr Who

Floella Benjamin (Series 1: Episode 11),

Brian Blessed (Series 1: Episode 1, Episode 13, and, Christmas Special)

Tim Brooke-Taylor (Series 1: Episode 1)

John Challis (Series 1: Episode 6)

Curiosity Killed The Cat [a pop group](Series 1: Episode 2)

Ross Davidson (Series 1: Episode 6)

Erasure [a pop group] (Series 1: Episode 7, and, Episode 9)

Samantha Fox (Series 1: Episode 1, and, Christmas Special)

Frankie Goes To Hollywood [presumably a pop group] (Series 1: Episode 11)

Guy an Extra (Series 1: Episode 8)

Aled Jones (Series 1: Christmas Special)

Nik Kershaw (Series 1: Episode 6)

Nicholas Parsons (Series 1: Episode 7, Episode 8, and, Episode 9)

Iggy Pop (Series 1: Christmas Special)

Peter Powell (Series 1: Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode 9, and, Episode 10)

Mike Read (Series 1: Episode 9) – as voice of announcer & interviewer

Alexi Sayle (Series 1: Episode 11) - as Game Show Host Maxwell De Farcy  (Darcy De Farcy’s brother)

Chris Tarrant (Series 1: Episode 13, and, Christmas Special) – as the man (busker) collecting for the poor

A Margaret Thatcher Impersonator [it does not seem to be known who it was] (Series 1: Episode 3)

 

Also Appearing

Angela Curran

 

Production Team

Conceived by – David Claridge

Written by – David Claridge, Colin Bostock-Smith, Carson & Tomlinson, John Langdon, and, Steve Punt

Roland Rat Workshop – John Blundell

Title Music – Stock, Aitken, and, Waterman

Cameraman – David Gray, Michael G. Haynes

Sound Recordist – Doug Mawson

Film Editor – Nick Hutchings

Properties Buyer – Bob Warrans

Graphic Designer – Iain Greenway

Visual Effects Designer – Malcolm Jones

Camera Supervisor – Spencer Payne, and, Douglas Watson

Technical Co-Ordinates – Jim Cook, Mike Chislett, and, Terry Wild

Vision Mixers – Hilary Briegel, and, Barbara Gainsley

Videotape Editors – Mark Lawrence, Peter Bird, Brian Cutts, Nick Peto, and, Simon Ashcroft

Make-Up Designer – Cecile Hay-Arthur

Costume Designer – Ken Trevor

Production Team – Simon Spencer, Claire Sharp, Jane Jenkins, Stephen Garwood, and, Kathleen Reid

Sound – Alan Machin

Lighting – Peter Catlett, Nigel Wright, and, Graham Rimmington

Production Manager – Nick Fiveash

Designers – Grenville Horner, and, Donal Woods

Produced, and, Directed by – Marcus Mortimer

 

The Series’s best known puppeteers, Louise Gold and David Claridge, had previously both played guests on the same episode of For 4 Tonight. In fact it was while making that appearance that David Claridge asked Louise Gold if she would be interested in joining his RatCrew.

Sadly James Saxon went on to conclude his acting career playing Don Alhambra Del Bolero (the George Grossmith role) in a production of The Gondoliers. Unfortunately he died during the run of that show.

Darryl Worbey went on to work on The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Brian Blessed has previously appeared on television in BlackAdder, and went on to appear on A Week In The West End.

Tim Brooke-Taylor may have gone on to appear in Comedy Tonight.

Angela Curran went on to appear in Topsy Turvy.

Ross Davidson had previously appeared in The Pirates Of Penance (Film).

Nicholas Parsons went on to appear in the Side By Side By Sondheim 30th Anniversary Gala, for which Bob Warrens was also purchasing props.

Alexei Sayle went on to star in Alexei Sayle’s Merrygoround.

Steve Punt was also a writer on Spitting Image, and took part in the documentaries I Love The Muppets, and, Best Ever Spitting Image.

Pete Waterman (of Stock, Aitkin & Waterman) went on to narrate ABBA - The Reunion.

Simon Spencer went on to work on Mopatop’s Shop.

David Claridge, Louise Gold, and, Nicholas Parsons went on to take part in the television documentary The Wonderful World Of Puppets.

Erasure appeared in a clip on the television documentary ABBA – The Mamma Mia! Story.

Angela Curran, Erasure, and, Samantha Fox may have taken part in Thing A Thon.

Nicholas Parsons, and, Chris Tarrant appeared in ITV’s 50 Greatest Shows.

 

Links about Roland Rat

Ratfans, the unofficial Roland Rat Fansite: http://www.ratfans.com/index.htm

Official Site: www.rolandrat.tv (This did not appear to be working when your webmaster tried it last)

MSN Group: http://groups.msn.com/RolandRat20thanniversary (Includes some incomplete episode guides)

Tibby’s Bowl / Muppet Central Interview with Louise Gold (where she specifically mentions encountering David Claridge on For 4 Tonight): http://www.muppetcentral.com/articles/interviews/gold.shtml

 Internet Movie Database Entry: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0186772/

Do You Remember.co.uk’s page for the programme: http://www.doyouremember.co.uk/memory.asp?memID=4181

Share.Tv’s page for the programme (which mistakenly has Louise down as performing Glenis, which she did not do): http://sharetv.org/shows/roland_rat_the_series_uk

 

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