From Gary Glitter to Emu - The stars of the Seventies turn out to be perverts

There's a novel I read some time ago that I can't recall too well but it involved a girl with a traumatic upbringing. The narrative gradually unfolds and she realizes piece by piece that she was forced to live in a rabbit hutch as a kid. But she had blanked it the memory until it came back to her.

I'm happy to say nothing quite as traumatic happened to me, but my cosy notions of childhood are slowly unravelling piece by piece with every headline.

The Seventies in England were an austere and joyless era of soup and white bread in which pasta was a luxury. You needed a bit of glitter to get you through; you needed to watch men in platform shoes and big hair. Like Gary Glitter. Except you didn't in any way need Gary Glitter.

Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) was convicted of possession of child pornography in 1999 and later of child molestation in Vietnam. He was recently rearrested as police looked into the activities of the late Sir Jimmy Saville.

I have blogged about Sir Jimmy before. It now seems the zany DJ, who later became an establishment figure, friend of Royalty ad charity fundraiser with access to secure hospital units was one of Britain's worst paedophiles.

Yet by the day more establishment figures from the 1970s are being outed as paedos and perverts. Sir Cyril Smith, a 200 pound plus former Member of Parliament who my parents always joked fondly about, is the subject of numerous allegations claiming he abused boys. The local police had a dossier but conveniently failed to act on it at a time when Smith was pivotal to the balance of power in a new government. It seemed the MP who died in 2010 was an overweight bully who preyed on boys.

The allegations about Leonard Rossiter, although less damning bothered me greatly, because Rossiter was a rare comedic genius who lit up the living room when the crackling television in the corner was often the only bright spot on those cold nights in the 1970s when my parents couldn't afford central heating. Admittedly the influence of the Fall and Rise of Reggie Perrin was not all positive. After watching the comedy I could never meet a mother in law again without the obtrusive mental image of a hippo at the watering hole.

The Daily Mail headline screamed: "Now Screen Legend Leonard Rossiter is accused of performing a sex act while watching three BBC staff try to rape 18-year-old TV extra."

The investigation into BBC linked perversion has also led to the arrests of individuals still living, a more delicate area as they as still alive and can, therefore, sue.

Over on ITV presenter Philip Schofield rather cleverly presented the Prime Minister with a list of alleged paedos he had gleaned from the internet, and unwittingly flashed the names in front of the cameras on live TV.

The Comedian Freddie Strarr - who should be arrested for crimes against comedy if nothing else - is under investigation following allegations from a woman that he abuse her in Saville's dressing room.

And the DJ Dave Lee Travis, whose shows kept Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, upbeat during her detention, was also arrested by detectives. Dave, known back in the day as the "hairy cornflake" gave an interview saying "us guys who are a bit older are tactile."

It seems even hand puppets are being outed as perverts. Saturdays simply weren't Saturdays without Rod Hull and Emu, even though they were an annoying duo.

Now in a new biography the ex darts player, Eric Bristow, who is admittedly seeking publicity, told the Sun, Hull was a pervert.

"He used the puppet to feel up women and stick his hand between people's legs. It was out of order," said Bristow, who went on to launch into a diatribe about how he would knock him out cold on live TV if his "f..... silly bird" came anywhere near him.

Hull drew 11 million viewers at the peak of his fame with his show. He died penniless in 1999 after he fell off a roof during a botched repair.

For me the news Emu was a pervert is the last straw. I'm getting nervous to even check out British news sites now because I'm scared I'm going to find out Basil Brush took part in orgies or Dougal and the Magic Roundabout was really about pot smoking, although come to think of it, it was wasn't it?

Don't forget the Wildest Moments bloghop is coming up. All you have to do is write about something really wild - or at least more wild than that time you had two lemonade shandies on an empty stomach.


  1. I remember Rod Hull & Emu! I loved Emu; so cute! It's really sick how many people turn out to be pedophiles and pigs. We have had our share over here in the USA as well. Sad really.

    1. I know and what's it with puppets JoJo? Like Elmo man

  2. It's a great shame that so many geniuses were/are so f*d up. Lewis Carroll too, with the girl who inspired Alice's character. I also heard that Bozo the Clown (a US show in the 70s) had a "thing" for children. Really disturbing stuff.


    1. Oh Lewis Carroll - that;s true I guess. Explains why Alice was such a weird gig Robyn

  3. I...feel....weird now. I'm left with the impession that the BBC was a refuge for pedophiles in the 70s. Luckily I hardly know any of the shows you've mentioned, Doctor Who and the Monty Pithon are the only British 70s shows I've watched, pheww.

    1. lukcy you - yep Starla - it's sure looking like the BBC was a paedo refuge.

  4. I'm just glad I wasn't (and aren't) a child in a care home. They seem to provide easy prey for the depraved in society, especially ones with a bit of clout.

    1. I know Sarah - most of the ones I recall in England were sad places for sure.

  5. It's sad the number of pedos and pervs who do children's shows. I was too old to get into Barney as a kid, but I remember as a teen being really creeped out by the news that the actor inside the purple dinosaur suit was arrested for sex with children.

    And then Pee Wee and that porno house incident.

    And most recently with Elmo and the resignation, due to that guy's accusations. (Although, who knows if that was really true).

    What is happening to the world? Sigh.

    1. sigh indeed Jen and I guess there was more news on the Elmo guy recently - well Barney is a great big purple creep anyhow.


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