Roland Rat helps mark 30 years of ITV breakfast shows

Thirty years ago this year Roland Rat first appeared on ITV Photo: ITV Daybreak

Thirty years ago today TV-am went on air, making history as the first national commercial breakfast show - and launching the career of Roland Rat.

Despite running for nine years, early ratings of the show were disappointing, and after four months, many of the original presenters were replaced.

To save money, the show spent the summer on the road, presented by Chris Tarrant from various seaside resorts, where audiences were introduced to Roland Rat.

Operated and voiced by David Claridge, Roland became an instant hit, increasing the show's ratings from an audience of 100,000, to 1.8 million.

After landing his own TV show, Rat on the Road, Roland became a household name, releasing three UK chart singles, with Roland Rat merchandise sold worldwide.

Over the past 30 years, Roland has made over 400 TV programmes, guest starred on endless TV and radio shows, released DVDs, and even worked with Disney for the promotion of the film Ratatouille.

A script for Roland Rat the 3D movie is currently being written.

Daybreak presenter Aled Jones posing with Roland Rat, who he called an "international hero" Credit: Twitter/Aled Jones

He joined Aled Jones and Kate Garraway on Daybreak to celebrate the anniversary, telling them:

In light of Beckham donating his fee to charity I'm going to donate my pathetic fee this morning for coming on here - £3.50, and I had to beg for that.

I'm telling you I'm going to donate my fee to Kevin The Gerbil Charity for Rodent TV superstars to keep me in the life I'm accustomed to.