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Western Animation / King Rollo

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A British young children's cartoon made in 1980, consisting of 13 five-minute episodes narrated by Ray Brooks. Each episode was focused around the antics of Rollo, an inept and profoundly childish monarch, who was kept in check by his parent figures, the magician and cook.

Besides British television, the King Rollo shorts also broadcast in the United States as a segment on the Nickelodeon show Pinwheel.

Tropes in this series:

  • Almighty Janitor: Rollo would usually defer to the advice of the cook.
  • Animated Adaptation: The cartoons were adapted from the King Rollo books by David McKee, published from 1979 to 2001.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: King Rollo's reasons for not liking King Frank: "He's bossy, he cheats, and he's bigger than me!". Later, King Rollo denies the first two, but admits that King Frank is taller than him.
  • Copycat Mockery: By Hamlet the cat, who often imitates King Rollo, especially King Rollo's sad walk at the beginning of "King Frank".
  • Downer Ending: The episode "The Comic" ended with Queen Gwen angrily leaving King Rollo when King Rollo was too busy reading a comic book at the dinner table to pay any attention to her. King Rollo then laments that he now has nothing to do.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Hamlet the cat is frequently involved in these. For example, King Rollo opens a cupboard and lots of shoes fall out, mostly on Hamlet.
    • King Rollo is very miserable about King Frank's imminent visit, saying he doesn't like King Frank; but when King Frank arrives, they have a lot of fun together. Throughout the episode, the Magician is in the background, reading his book of spells; perhaps he is whispering spells under his breath.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Hamlet, King Rollo's cat, was more than just a pet. He often proved himself to be smarter than Rollo.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: When playing with his toy bow and arrow, Rollo hits the bullseye with his first shot, and hits the shaft of the previous one with each of the next two.
  • Laborious Laces: King Rollo buys himself his first pair of lace-up shoes, but does not know how to tie them. The Magician shows him how, and tells King Rollo to practise, which he does with great difficulty. Everybody else hears strange noises from his bedroom, including a shoe being thrown. However, he is proud when he succeeds.
  • Manchild: King Rollo of course. His daily schedule is indistinguishable from that of a five-year-old boy, wanting to play with toys, visit friends or just have fun. His kingdom doesn't seem to suffer too much from his behaviour, though.
  • Parental Substitute: Both the Magician (a father figure) and the Cook (a mother figure) to Rollo.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The kingdom requires absolutely no royal supervision to keep it ticking over. This is fortunate for Rollo, whose time is thus freed up for activities such as climbing trees and playing with a train set. It is also fortunate for the population, who would no doubt be in for a world of trouble if their king ever had to make a decision more momentous than which sock he should put on first.
  • Silly Walk: Rollo never goes anywhere without flailing his arms wildly.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: After Rollo's selfish comic-reading at the dinner table causes Queen Gwen to abandon him, the usual happy ending music is replaced with this.