Australia’s Bad Things Explained

Rolf Harris versus Lenny Henry.

As you know I have a category on this blog called Australia’s Bad Things. It contains stories about bad things in Australia, but also, strangely, some really good things.

How can that be?

Well, this category started its life with me talking about things that might kill you, for example, snakes, sharks, stonefish, that sort of thing. I also thought about things that might scare you, like spiders, water scorpions and cane toads.

Then the category drifted into grey areas, like bees. Some people are scared of bees, others appreciate the honey. Or Asian house geckos; some people hate them, others like the idea that they eat small insects around the house.

Then, quite naturally, the category became all about Australia’s wildlife and fauna, so I included cute things like koalas, lorikeets and kangaroos.

Australia’s Bad Things category became more diverse when I started to include inanimate objects, like flexible water pipe connectors that were responsible for flooding my house. I even included Australia’s oceans in the Australian Bad Things category for being responsible for claiming the lives of so many people each year who were not swimming between the flags.

Then, in a really unusual move, just a couple of months ago I classed the English FA as an Australian Bad Thing for changing the time of the FA Cup final from 3 PM to 5:15 PM, making it almost impossible to watch live here in Australia.

Yes, they became the first ever non-Australian resident “Australian Bad Thing”.

Today I introduce the second non-resident Australian Bad Thing.

Lenny Henry!

Most countries have bad things and most countries also have what are called “national treasures”.

The Queen’s mother, for example, was often referred to as a national treasure. So, apparently, were Steven Fry and Winston Churchill.

Does Australia have “national treasures”?

Turns out Australia has a national living treasures list. It includes the likes of Kylie Minogue, Olivia Newton-John, Barry Humphries and…..

Rolf Harris!

Okay, we are getting there, won’t be long now.

I’m a Rolf fan; he surely is an Australian national treasure. His picture actually appeared on the first ever post I made in the category of Australia’s Bad Things. I included his name in a draft list of bad things, but only tongue in cheek.

I like the guy! His picture is on my error page. You know if you hit a wrong page on the website you sometimes see…


Not with my site you don’t, you’ll see this…

Error 404Rolf
Lenny Henry versus Rolf Harris.

Ah, we’re here now.

I did a post about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which featured another possible UK national treasure, Cliff Richard. Also on the bill entertaining the Queen, was Rolf Harris.

Here’s the story.

Lenny Henry was the compere, but there was a gap to fill because, for some reason, Stevie wonder wasn’t ready to come onto the stage on time.

Rolf kindly offered to sing an impromptu version of “Two Little Boys”. And so he did

Let’s face it, it is a truly great song. It reached number one in the UK in 1969 when I was just a little boy myself. I love it!

Here was Rolf, singing live in front of thousands of people at the Palace and millions worldwide. The crowd joined in, waving Union Jacks and singing along. I swear I saw the Queen swaying to the tune.

Then, doughnut head Lenny Henry apparently heard sounds in his earpiece saying Stevie Wonder was ready now. With Rolf halfway through a three-minute song, Henry tells him to stop!

Yes, Lenny Henry interrupted Rolf Harris halfway through the song!

No wonder Dawn French divorced him!

Rolf, a true star, insisted on delivering the final two lines of the song whilst the audience booed Lenny Henry. And Rolf had the very good grace to say “good onya Len” before leaving the stage.

That’s class!

Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourselves. But from now on, Lenny Henry is an Australian Bad Thing…

Update: 1 July 2014

Yesterday in the UK Rolf Harris was found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault on four girls, the youngest of whom was aged seven or eight and the oldest 19.

Harris is no longer an Australian icon or a UK national treasure and the last thing he has is class. In fact it is Harris himself who will now be remembered as both a UK and an Australian Bad Thing.

The video of Harris which did appear here has now been removed.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Steve Singleton July 4, 2012, 10:15 am |

    Hi Bob & Co, this from myself as an ex-pat living in Chile, great short story on the saga of Rolf & Lenny Henry….have to agree with you: Lenny Blew It!!!
    I remember writing to an old friend back in the UK around 2005 & asked if much had changed back there and asked
    “……is Rolf Harris still there!?!”
    Tongue in cheek of course, Rolf has done some great stuff over the years & has surely made it onto the A-List of Famous Oz Folk.
    As I kid, I lived in Victoria for 2 years, but it didn’t suit my parents so we went back to Blighty. I have been searching for the sun ever since.
    We’re in winter here of course, but never as bad or as cold as the UK so I’m not complaining. (Never was a Whinging Pom)
    (Rather rude that Rup chap eh?)
    Anyway, keep up the good work…..or as they say:
    “Good on yer!”
    Steve & Vero.

    • BobinOz July 5, 2012, 9:44 pm |

      Yes, Rolf must be on the A list, he is a true star. Lenny, on the other hand, has a long way to go to reach Rolf status. I’m sure he’s regretting it now, having watched the tape back, but we all make mistakes I suppose.

      But he shouldn’t have done! He’s a presenter!!

      Glad to hear you found a bit of sun in Chile, I know there’s not much of that stuff in the UK. Good on yer too!

  • Rupert June 24, 2012, 11:37 am |

    I can’t believe Lenny didn’t read the crowd better. That’s what comes of having executive producers screaming in your earpiece. What a bell-end!

    • BobinOz June 25, 2012, 11:08 pm |

      Yep, he dropped a clanger with this one. I don’t care what was being said in his earpiece, he should have let the song carry on. I’m sure he knows he got it wrong.

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