Rolf started on television in 1953, doing a five minute spot with a puppet called "Fuzz" on a one hour Children's show called "Jigsaw". The following year he introduced his drawn character "Willoughby" to BBC, and that character was on Children's TV until Rolf set off to take up the post of producer and performer for Children's TV on the brand new Channel 7 in his home town of Perth in 1969.

When commercial television started in the UK in 1956, Rolf had been the only performer to appear on both BBC and commercial television. He had his "Oliver Polip the Octopus" character on 'Small Time' on Associated Rediffusion, and this character became the mainstay of his new five days a week, half hour programme 'Children's Channel 7', which ran for a year in Perth.

In the early 60's Rolf returned to UK screens, this time as a presenter, with "Hi There", "Hey Presto it's Rolf" in 1964, and in 1967, "The Rolf Harris Show", all on BBC. Then he presented "Rolf on Saturday OK?" and "Cartoon Time", and then moved to HTV for the immensely popular "Rolf's Cartoon Club" which ran for six series and over 100 shows. Rolf then presented "Animal Hospital" for ten years on BBC One. He was passionate about his job, and received huge critical acclaim as presenter of the series. It won The National Television Awards 'Most Popular Factual Entertainment Show' no less than five times.

Spin off series on BBC One have included "Animal Hospital Down Under" and "Animal Hospital from Oz", screened to coincide with the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Rolf also presented "Rolf's Amazing World of Animals" for BBC One.

Rolf has done a number of art-based programmes for BBC One, including "Rolf on Art", which achieved the highest ever ratings for an art based programme, consistently drawing over 7.5 million viewers and "Star Portraits" which was watched by 5.5 million viewers each week!