Rolf Harris dropped from Channel 5 TV series Animal Clinic after Yewtree arrest


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The Independent Culture

Rolf Harris has been dropped from Channel 5 television show Animal Clinic just days after he was arrested for the second time over allegations of sexual offences.

The veteran TV presenter, who fronted the BBC’s Animal Hospital for a decade up until 2004, will be replaced by Ben Fogle.

The 83-year-old artist, musician and television personality, from Bray, Berkshire, was arrested on suspicion of the unspecified offences when he answered police bail as part of Operation Yewtree, the national investigation into historic sex crimes launched following the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Mr Harris was originally interviewed under caution in November last year following the execution of a search warrant on his riverside home on the Thames. But he was not revealed as a suspect in Yewtree until April when, after months of speculation on social media and internet, the Sun became the first mainstream outlet to identify him in connection with the investigation.

In a statement, Scotland Yard did not name the broadcaster but said a man had been "further arrested on suspicion of sexual offences in connection with further allegations made to Operation Yewtree".

Confirming that the new series Animal Clinic will now be hosted by adventurer Fogle, a Channel 5 spokesman said: "No other presenter was ever contracted to do the second series."

Channel 5 announced a year ago that it had lined up Mr Harris for its animal series.

In May, the Australian performed his first live show since his arrest over the historical sexual assault claims, emotionally thanking fans for their support at the performance in Bristol.

He told the crowd: "You've no idea what this means, for you all to turn up with such support and such enthusiasm."

Operation Yewtree is focusing on three areas:  claims involving Savile, who was found to have committed more than 200 sexual crimes, those involving the shamed DJ and others, and those involving others.

Mr Harris is being dealt with under the "others" strand, meaning the allegations have no link to Savile.

He was bailed till later in August.