Rolf Revealed in Documentary


BBC Two has announced the commissioning of a new film celebrating the life and career of Rolf Harris.

Documentary series Arena is to track the Australian’s progress as he attempts to paint a series of pictures inspired by William Shakespeare’s famous comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Multi-award-winning director Vikram Jayanti will helm the documentary which will see one of Britain’s best-loved artists working with model Lilly Cole, actress Dervla Kirwan and wife Alwen.

BBC Commissioning Editor Mark Bell said that Rolf Harris’ status as a national treasure and cultural figure will result in an enlightening and interesting documentary.

He said: “For nearly 60 years Rolf Harris has been sharing his infectious enthusiasm for art and music with us on British television, he is a real national treasure.”

Aside from following Harris as he paints for the Shakespeare project, the documentary will investigate Rolf’s long career as a singer and musician, as an artist and as a public persona lauded in Britain, Australia and Canada.

It has been an important year for the entertainer as not only has he celebrated his eightieth birthday, he has also performed at numerous festivals and has embarked on a national art tour.

Rolf Harris has toured his ‘A Life in Art’ exhibition in galleries across Britain during 2010 which includes an array of artwork including Rolf Harris prints, lithographs and sculptures.

“It’s just a joyful variation of everything that I do. There’s some originals in there, but quite a few have sold in recent months,” Harris told the Reading Post.

Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Jody Craddock revealed to the Independent that he has embarked on an artistic career after being inspired by the style and enthusiasm of Rolf.

He told the Independent: “He paints what he wants to paint and it appeals to people like myself. I think he has a core style that has remained similar over the years, but he can adapt, which is why he has done so well.”

Harris has received royal recognition on several occasions including a CBE in 2006 as well as a MBE in 1968 and an OBE in 1977.

Rolf on Art, screened during 2002, is the most watched arts programme in British history and its highlight was undoubtedly when Harris was allowed to paint the Queen as part of a special episode.

Harris started painting in Australia aged 14 before moving to England to study art at a prestigious south London college.

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