Vanessa Feltz never said a word about Rolf Harris til police came after ordeal
Vanessa Feltz on Rolf Harris ‘ordeal’
Vanessa Feltz appeared on The Matt Haycox Show podcast to state that at the time, she had questioned whether she “dared to say anything” when Rolf Harris’ hand started sliding up her dress during a live episode of Big Breakfast.
At first, the now 61-year-old had been thrilled to learn that Rolf, back then a highly treasured “national icon” on children’s TV, would be sitting on a bed with her for the segment.
“I’m like, ‘Oh great! Brilliant! Young generation, two little boys, Jake the Peg – this is great!'” she enthused.
She added that it hadn’t occurred to her that anything untoward might happen, particularly as his wife was “literally standing about two feet away”.
Recalling the moment they were both perched on the bed, she stated: “All I could hear was this noise, which was the beading on my dress crunching together as he crunched up the fabric of my dress higher and higher and higher, while we were live on television.”
She continued: “I didn’t know if he was incredibly happily married to his wife and if I would be breaking her heart, breaking up a marriage if I dared to say anything at all.
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“His wife was right there, so I didn’t know if I was the only person he’d ever done it to, or if he did it all the time – how could I possibly know?”
The TalkTV host added that she felt “awkward” due to the Big Breakfast being “a feel good kind of programme” and that she hesitated to make a scene in case she jeopardised it.
“You don’t wanna suddenly start saying ‘Get off me!’ and jumping off the bed in the middle of that!” she stated.
She added that she had incurred no lasting damage after the 1996 TV segment as she was “an adult… married with two kids… I was fine”.
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Vanessa added that upon reflection, she remained unsure what she would or could have done in the situation.
“Obviously years later, when I found out he was a paedophile and had been doing things to all sorts of different people, that put the whole thing into a completely different context,” she explained.
“But at the time, I didn’t think that I should make any waves about it, upset his wife…
“I never said a word about it, actually, until the police came to my house with the actual film of it, because you can see it live on telly!”
She added: “The thing is that when it happened, he was an absolute national icon.”
In 2014, 18 years after she filmed the segment with him, Rolf was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail for 12 indecent assaults on four young women and girls between the 1960s and 1980s.
He was told by Mr Justice Sweeney during the sentencing: “Your reputation now lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours, but you have no one to blame but yourself.”
Rolf died in May this year aged 93, with the official cause of death being recorded as neck cancer and “frailty of old age”.
@martinescott empathised in a response on Instagram directed at Vanessa, telling her: “A dirty entitled narcissistic man. We look back now as women and realize what we had to put up with!”
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