Feltz recalls 'panic' of Harris assault

Published Friday, 11 July 2014
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Television and radio personality Vanessa Feltz has been speaking to This Morning about the moment disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris assaulted her while she was interviewing him live on television.

Feltz recalls 'panic' of Harris assault
Vanessa Feltz speaks to This Morning. (© Rex Features)

Earlier this month Harris was jailed for five years and nine months after being found guilty of 12 indecent assaults against four girls - including one aged just seven or eight.

Soon after his conviction Vanessa Feltz revealed that she too had been a victim of Harris while she was interviewing him on 90s Channel 4 morning show The Big Breakfast.

She told Phillip and Holly: "I kept it quiet because when it happened 18 years ago, live on the telly, it didn't seem to me to be enough of a big deal to make a great big fuss about it.

"I was absolutely fine, I was a 36-year-old woman, I was live on telly."

Feltz admitted that she was really looking forward to interviewing the entertainer on the show's famous bed, but she was soon warned about him by the programme's make-up staff.

"They said to me: "Watch out Vanessa, he's got terrible wandering hands" and I remember my reaction so clearly... I thought: "It's Rolf Harris, that can't be true and even if he has, he won't want to do it with me."

Asked how she was able to cope with the situation, especially as she was live on TV, Feltz replied: "I tried very hard not to show in my face what was going on.

"I also tried to have a look over without it being obvious to kind of see what was going on because I could feel the fabric (of my dress) being scrunched up ...then I felt his hand on my leg.

"Then it was going further and further up. It's kind of a mixture of panic and shock and disbelief.

"I thought: "Oh God, what should I do?" because if I sat completely still it was pretty much inevitable (to continue)."

Feltz quickly threw the show to a commercial break and jumped off the bed, but she has since been asked why she didn't report the incident when it happened in 1996.

She said: "His wife was right there and as far as I was concerned he was happily married, I thought: "I don't want to upset his wife" and make her feel humiliated.

"It was a programme watched by lots of children and I didn't want children knowing about some man with his hand on my thigh. I didn't think it was appropriate to say anything.

"I think he must have really loved the fact that he had complete control and he knew that there was no way I could say anything."

© UTV News
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