Rolf Harris guilty: The hypocrite who warned children about paedophiles

'Problem has reached horrendous proportions' he warned after making of 20-minute programme

Rolf Harris made a ground-breaking television film warning children about the tell-tale tactics of paedophiles some 15 years after he had started his string of attacks.

The performer had already abused at least three children, aged about seven, 13 and 16 before he claimed to have been inspired to make the 20-minute programme by a school performance he had seen in Canada in 1982, according to his collaborator on the project.

"It is a problem which has reached horrendous proportions all over the world," said Harris in an interview the year after it was made. "It's been pushed under the carpet for too long and has to be brought out into the open in a major way."

Read more: Veteran 'attacked high-profile TV presenter'
Rolf Harris - the letter that sealed his fate
The PR battle waged behind the scenes by Bell Pottinger

The video – for education programmes in schools – used children from a stage school in painting a series of scenarios in which children could be exploited. It features a song, penned by an American children’s songwriter, sung by Harris with the refrain: “My body’s nobody’s body but mine, you run your own body, let me run mine”.

The film, made with advice of the NSPCC and aimed at children aged five to eight, features Harris talking with children about ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feelings and ends him singing with a group of children with adults and two police officers in the background.

The film addresses attempted grooming by strangers as well as people that they know very well. “Everybody, that’s kids and grown-ups, they have a right to their own body don’t they?” he says in the programme. “Some people don’t act right with kids and they need help. You can’t protect them from trouble that they themselves have caused.”

The 1985 programme was made some seven years after he first abused a 13-year-old who he treated as a prostitute for his own sexual gratification for the next 15 years, the court heard.

The first case of abuse for which he was charged dated back to around 1969 when he molested a girl who was of a similar age to the children in the programme.

The film was made with members of the Barbara Speake stage school and followed a similar one on water safety. One of the children who took part in the video said that the entertainer had beeped at older girls at the school and had tried to chat them up. “It was a stage school from four to 16 so we knew what the older girls were saying,” said the pupil. “I remembered those conversations so it wasn’t a big shock [when he was arrested].

“I remember saying to a friend that I would put him in the same category as Savile. It was that same feeling when you were around. He was a bit lechy.”

'I remember saying that I would put Harris in the same category as Savile' 'I remember saying that I would put Harris in the same category as Savile' The year after he made the film, he molested a 14-year-old Australian girl in a London pub as she toured Britain with a theatre group. The woman, Tonya Lee who has waived her right to anonymity has told of how the incident led to later alcoholic abuse, an eating disorder and attempted suicide.

The NSPCC distanced itself from the making of the film. “They apparently came to use to get some guidance on what they should get the children to,” said a spokesman. “We gave a bit of advice. It’s not our film and we never used it.”

Director Jessica Skippon said that there had been no complaints during the making of the film. “He said that he’d had a happy childhood and every child deserved the same,” she said in an email.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?