Robson Green fait la couverture du magazinz LUXE pour son tirage de Novembre/Décembre 2013.
Trois pages lui sont consacrées à l'occasion de la soirée spéciale pour la présentation de la première série de Tales From Northumberland au théâtre Playhouse à Alnwick en Octobre 2013. La star charismatique raconte son amour pour sa région.
The actor talks about being the double of his father, who was a miner and national ballroom dancing champion.
I grew up in the mining village of Dudley in Northumberland. My father, who was also called Robson Green, worked down the pits. I remember he’d come home with his face covered in coal dust and I wondered why it was so black. Even at a very young age I thought, well, that doesn’t look like a job designed for human beings.
But my dad loved going down the pit. He honestly loved working with his mates every day and the camaraderie they shared. To be a miner you have to be brave, you have to be courageous, you have to be knowledgeable and you have to be strong.
My dad had shoulders on him like an ox and biceps like beach balls. Later on in his mining career, he was a deputy, responsible for the safety of 55 men.
My mother, Anne, was a cleaner and a shopkeeper. Out of economic necessity she had to hold down two jobs and she would take me and my older sisters, Dawn and Joanna, and my younger brother, David, with her when she cleaned houses.
I slowly realised that Dad was the toughest man in the village. When I was 15, a boy at school punched me in the face, knocking some of my teeth out. My dad marched round to his house and didn’t touch the lad but he head-butted his dad, stuffed him in a dustbin and put the lid on it. I thought, wow, what a dad !
My paternal grandfather, Matheson, was also a miner. He had no choice but to go down the mines when they were privately run. If a miner refused, the tied cottage system meant he would lose his house. My grandfather was a very prudent man and saved a lot of money.
After the mines became nationalised, he offered to pay for my dad and my uncle, also Matheson, to go to university. He said to them, “Do you want to get an education and escape from the black hole?” Uncle Matheson jumped at the chance but Dad didn’t. He was happy down the mines.
Uncle Matheson and my father would frequently argue long into the night about politics. Like me, he was all about socialism, togetherness and investing in people, whereas Matheson, to this day, holds very strong conservative views.
At the time of the miners’ strike, my dad was extolling the virtues of Arthur Scargill while Matheson revered Margaret Thatcher. Talk about a recipe for conflict.
So Matheson and I differ politically but I love him dearly and he’s my best friend. He’s also the one who taught me to fish – a huge passion of mine.
When Dad passed away in 2009, it was a shock. At the funeral there was a big picture on display of him smiling: this big, joyous, handsome, charismatic guy. My mother, my sisters and my brother remind me that he hasn’t gone because I’m the absolute double of him.
I didn’t learn until I was about 26 that my dad was a national ballroom dancing champion. He won loads of trophies. I’m not sure why he was so quiet about his achievements. Maybe he thought ballroom dancing wasn’t a manly thing to do.
I did see him dance once on my 18th birthday and it was astonishing to watch this big, powerful man glide across the room like Fred Astaire. And as my acting career took off, I think he enjoyed living vicariously through me when he turned up on film sets to watch me work.
I’m so proud that my dad is inherent within me and my sisters and my brother. He’s not gone – he’s still here. I’m so proud of what he and his ilk represented.
ROBSON GREEN IS VERY CLOSE TO HIS MUM AND ADMITS HE'S A 'TOTAL MUMMY'S BOY' AS HE TALKS FAMILY, FISHING AND BEING A HEART-THROB
Robson Green, 51, on his biggest fan (mummy), being a heart-throb and how useless he is around the house…
"My mum loves me being in magazines. She’ll be reading this," laughs Robson Green when we meet him for a coffee one rainy February afternoon.
"You must give me the opportunity to talk about her because she’ll be gutted if she isn’t mentioned."
So it’s fair to say that as well as being a charming, funny, enthusiastic, fish-fanatic, actor-turned-presenter, Robson is also a bit of a mummy’s boy.
Dressed casually in jeans and a shirt and sporting some fetching new spectacles, Robson meets us to chat about the new series of Grantchester. Filmed in Grantchester, near Cambridge, Robson loves the time he gets to spend in the countryside.
"The meadows and orchards are just beautiful. Everything around you is alive. That’s the kind of landscape I was lucky enough to grow up with and that’s why I’m rubbish in cities now. In areas where there’s no greenery, I feel very repressed."
However quiet and relaxing rural Cambridgeshire usually is, we expect it’s a little different for a well-known actor ?
"Oh trust me, my co-star James Norton and I did get mobbed when we popped into town after filming. I’m used to going out in the sticks where I never see anyone, but it was full on. It shocked James. Women of a certain age were all over him, it was hysterical."
But we guess this didn’t put the pair off playing around while filming ?
"Oh, we had a lot of fun. We worked hard and we played hard.
I hate James in a way, because he’s so talented and handsome. He has an amazing career ahead.
"I don’t have the hunger like he has anymore. I don’t want to go to LA or anything. I love working, but also cherish the time I get to spend at home with my son."
Robson is possibly the proudest father to walk the earth. In fact, we’re shown pictures of father and son every 10 minutes or so throughout our chat, all accompanied by massive beaming smiles and cute brags about his boy’s academic abilities.
Despite a relatively new romance with a mystery lady (all we know is she’s the account manager for a very big clothing brand and shares his love of fishing), he spends as much time as possible with 15-year-old Taylor, his son with his ex-wife of 12 years, Vanya Seager.Robson’s on hand for any man-to-man matters.
"I’ll have to be relaxed when he starts introducing me to girlfriends. I’ve set myself up for it because he’ll have no problems in that department; he’s handsome and confident.
"I gave him some crucial advice recently: women forget nothing, so never make the same mistake once. But he wouldn’t be reckless with anyone’s heart, he’s lovely."
So surely Robson has taught Taylor a thing or two about being the man about the house ?
"I’m f**king useless. I was an engineer in a shipyard when I was younger and now I don’t have a clue. I’d like Taylor to be more practical than me, then he can help me out.
"Someone came to read my electric meter the other day and I didn’t even know where the thing was. If my TV goes on the blink I just kick it and hope for the best. Considering all the amazing experiences I’ve had in my career, I’m useless when it comes to general life skills."
Well, we’ll forgive him, because for a small-town Northumberland lad, what an amazing career it’s been. Spanning 30 years, Mr Green became a bit of a heart-throb through Soldier Soldier, which hit our TV screens 26 years ago.
"Apparently everyone watched that show. But I’ve moved on. It was lovely, and me and Jerome (Flynn) are great pals. He talks about me a lot in interviews and I do him. I always ring him up and thank him if he’s talking about me in an interview. Thanks for the publicity !"
Surely though, he still gets acknowledged for the programme that saw the pair pursue a pop career with the release of Unchained Melody, which was the best-selling single of 1995 ?
"The whole thing was mad. We were huge. I was doing a Body Pump class the other day and the instructor announced over the mic that I was in the class.
She said, “Robson from Soldier Soldier is in”, but it was 25 f**king years ago, I have been in other shows," he laughs, "My family loved it though and so did I, they’re amazing memories."
This might just be the perfect time to mention mummy dearest?
"Oh yes, my mum, Anne, is my biggest fan. She always says, “You’ve not been on telly this week, I’m worried for you,” then she’ll call my sisters to talk about how concerned she is about my career! But she and her friends get together to watch my fishing programmes and they can’t believe where I’ve been and the things I’ve seen.
"I love it when they ask me questions. Apart from when she asks me about next Christmas. Honestly, in March she will start asking me what we’re doing in December, it drives me potty. But I adore her."
With more acting and presenting jobs in the pipeline, not to mention endless extreme fishing programmes (eight years of them, to be precise), you’d think Robson would enjoy taking a second to sit back and reflect on how far he’s come.
"I appreciate my life so much more since turning 50. Although my dad has passed, when I see myself on TV, I see my father. I love how much I’m like him. I embrace getting older."
So is 50 the new 30 ? "Oh it is! But I’m still a young boy inside. I get to be a real adventurer with my fishing work. The acting work is free, I always say I get paid for the waiting around.
"One job, I stood around for 10 hours while they set up and the scene was me just walking in front of the camera. Ten bloody hours! Now I’m blessed with the ability to pick and choose what I do."
So there’s no sign of Robson slowing down just yet. With shows in the pipeline for the rest of the year and rumours of a Soldier Soldier reunion – "If the script was right, we’d be there in a heartbeat," – there can’t be much left on the bucket list ?
"I’m the best-travelled TV explorer out there. Genuinely. I’ve been fishing in 120 countries. I’ve done everything. I’ve even played Jesus Christ. Can you top that ? I’m not sure you can. But I’m doing all right. My mum has nothing to worry about !"
HOW DOES ROBSON SPEND HIS SUNDAY ?
What did you do last Sunday ?
Drove back from filming in Grantchester. There was a wrap party but I don’t go to them.
I can’t get through the weekend without...
Fishing ! And a skinny cappuccino with an extra shot.
Lie-in or early ris ?
Oh, the earliest rise. I’m up at five at the very latest. I’m a nightmare in that way. That’s what not drinking does to you.
Fry up or healthy breakfast ?
Healthy. I’ll have scrambled eggs and some fish I’ve caught. Fish is the best thing you can eat, it isn’t called brain food for nothin! Just
don’t eat mackerel before a date…
Grantchester starts Wednesday, ITV, 9pm.
Further Tales from Northumberland starts Monday, ITV, 8pm.
'Grantchester' Star Robson Green Admits He 'Failed Musically' Despite Three Number One Singles
For many musicians and aspiring singers, having three number one singles, including one of the best sellers of the decade, would guarantee happiness and satisfaction.
Not so Robson Green, it would seem.
Robson Green isn't impressed with his previous musical success with former co-star Jerome Flynn.
The 'Grantchester' star, who teamed up with 'Soldier Soldier' co-star Jerome Flynn for a brief but stellar pop career, steered with customary zeal by Simon Cowell, admits to RadioTimes.com that this period in his life was his "personal Vietnam".
Asked what advice he'd give his younger self, Robson admits : "Don't sing. Failure in any career is an occurrence. I think that, artistically, it wasn't a good avenue to go down because you go from actor to celebrity. It's not a regret – I just think I failed artistically. It was my own personal Vietnam, so let's leave it at that."
This is an interesting interpretation, to be sure. Robson and Jerome clocked up three number one hits, including their debut song 'Unchained Melody' which sold 1.8million copies after they performed it on their show 'Soldier Soldier'.
Follow-ups were 'I Believe' and 'What Becomes Of The Broken-Hearted', as well as two number one albums. In total, they sold seven million albums, before quitting despite huge offers to make a third.
Both have gone on to enjoy enduring success, Jerome in 'Ripper Street' and 'Game of Thrones', and Robson with an ITV deal that made him one of the UK's highest-paid actors. He told Huffington Post UK previously, "You wouldn't believe how much I got paid." But it didn't seem to make him entirely happy, apparently.
He's about to return to screen for the second series of 'Grantchester', starring alongside James Norton in the period drama, depicting the vicar Stanley Chambers and his detective friend Jordie, who team up to solve local crimes.
Although the pair's friendship was solidly formed during the first series, cracks in it will begin to appear, with their different views on how justice should be accomplished.
Grantchester star Robson Green criticises his own music career : "I failed artistically"
"It was my own personal Vietnam," says the actor who used to be one half of Robson & Jerome
He may have had three number-one singles in the mid-1990s with singing partner Jerome Flynn, but it turns out that actor Robson Green isn't exactly fond of his music career.
When asked what advice he'd offer his younger self were he to get the chance, the Grantchester star says to RadioTimes.com: "Don't sing. Failure in any career is an occurrence. I think that, artistically, it wasn't a good avenue to go down because you go from actor to celebrity. It's not a regret – I just think I failed artistically. It was my own personal Vietnam, so let's leave it at that."
Green and his former Soldier Soldier co-star Flynn topped the singles charts with songs including Unchained Melody, I Believe and What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, while two studio albums also peaked at number one.
Following their time as pop stars, Robson Green went on to feature in hit dramas such as Wire in the Blood and Waterloo Road, while Jerome Flynn landed regular roles in Ripper Street and Game of Thrones.
On the topic of what he'd learned from his three decade career in the public eye, Green says : "Never do anything that you don't instinctively feel comfortable with. Always trust your instincts. There've been a lot of programmes where I've thought, 'er, that might not work, but let's start and I'm sure we'll work it out'…It doesn't work like that.
"Soldier Soldier ? No brainer. Reckless, the same. And Wire in the Blood. But there have been others where I've gone, 'mmm, that's not right, but we'll fix it'. That never pans out."
Thankfully, he had no reservations about Grantchester, the hit ITV detective drama returning next Wednesday in which he co-stars with James Norton.
"I've never had to change a word in a Grantchester script," he comments. "That's very unusual for me. And if it wasn't for the body count, I'd move to Grantchester and live in that period. I think it's a very life-affirming programme."
But when asked what he brings to the sleuthing partnership of Detective Inspector Geordie Keating and Norton's vicar Sidney Chambers, Green gives another typically self-effacing answer.
"If you ask James what he brings to the character of Sidney, he'll say that he has a First in theology from Cambridge. As for me, I've got a magnifying glass. And that's it. Sorry !"
Grantchester returns on Wednesday 2 March at 9pm on ITV.
Robson Green has a television career spanning 30 years, in which time he has had a number one hit with pal Jerome Flynn, travelled the world with his fishing documentaries and enjoyed an array of acting challenges.
Now, two decades after his breakthrough role in Soldier Soldier, he is enjoying more military action as Colonel Locke in Strike Back.
With the fifth and final series set to begin, the 50-year-old talks to Naomi Larsson about pursuing his passions, politics and favourite fish puns
Q : What do you think has made Strike Back unique ?
Robson Green : It's an action TV show like no other in the history of television. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, thrilling, and awesome, it does. At the centre of it is this incredibly unusual and endearing relationship between Scott, Stonebridge and Locke.
Q : What can we expect from this final series ?
Robson Green : You can expect a very emotional and gripping journey. It's going to be explosive, but the relationships win in this series, and the main cast has a personal journey they feel they need to complete.
And, you couldn't ask for a better cast in terms of guests. There's Tim McInnerny, Max Beesley, and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon's Michelle Yeoh. I get to fight with Michelle Yeoh, she's the crouching tiger, hidden dragon, and I'm more your kneeling hamster, crawling gerbil guy.
Q : How have you prepared for such a demanding role ?
Robson Green : I'm more than 50. I know, I don't look a day over 35, and had I attempted what was requested in the script and not trained, it would have been a physical impossibility. It's probably the first time in my 30-year career that I really focused on becoming physically and mentally fit for a part. Luckily for me, they asked me to do quite a few stunts. A lot of running and jumping, hanging out of helicopters – it's just great.
Q : What's the most dangerous stunt you had to do ?
Robson Green : It was to hang out of a hawk helicopter at night firing a grenade launcher at the enemy while trying to rescue Scott and Stonebridge. That was pretty hairy, but it was terrific.
Q : How do you go from the big stunts in Strike Back to the quiet Cambridgeshire countryside for Grantchester ?
Robson Green : The transition is easy because that's what I do. That's what I was prepared for.
It's an absolute joy to be filming in King's College for Grantchester. It's just beautiful, but on so many levels – I'm a bit of an Isaac Newton nut, and his laws of motion, and that's where it all started (in Cambridge).
So many times we see the worst of humanity, but in that place you see the best.
Q : Your TV career has taken you all over the world. How do you keep yourself grounded ?
Robson Green : When I land from an amazing trip to Thailand for Strike Back or seeing a tribe in Bolivia, Brazil or Greenland, people always say, 'Welcome back to the real world, Robson'.
Well actually, my reality is what it is. Being with a tribe is my reality. I'm just very fortunate and privileged to do that.
But my home is Northumberland, and it is the most beautiful, extraordinary, tranquil, idyllic, dramatic, place you've ever been. I love it there, it's who I am, it's where I'm from. So it's very easy to come back and tell the story of where I've been.
Q : Are you still surprised acting worked out ?
Robson Green : I'm very fortunate, but my dad always said the harder you work, the luckier you get. I'm a stickler for prep.
I look after myself. I try to keep my private life private, I always see the good in people, I'm a bit of a Buddhist in that sense – always accentuate the positive and take out any negative feeling within a space.
I never thought I'd make a living doing something I always wanted to do. I always harboured that fire inside me and my goal was to try and keep that lit.
The fifth and final series of Strike Back begins on Sky 1 on Wednesday, June 3.
The day that changed my life, Robson Green : The Grantchester star, 50, recalls a phone call in the mid-80s that left him with a huge dilemma.
Robson says his life changed when Max Roberts called offering him a professional acting job.
There's one Friday afternoon in the summer of 1986 that I'll never forget – because it was the day I got my acting break. I was working as a draughtsman at the Swan Hunter shipyard in Newcastle when the phone rang.
It was a chap called Max Roberts, the artistic director of the locally based Live Theatre company – and he was calling to offer me my first professional acting job.
He'd already directed me in a youth theatre production and told me he thought I had what it took to survive in acting: namely, the ability to be able to stand up in front of a group of people and tell it well.
Max knew that being an actor was my dream, but he also knew that my background was far removed from that world – my dad was a miner and my mum was a shopkeeper and a cleaner.
He offered me the lead role in a Tom Hadaway play, The Long Line, but there was a caveat: if I wanted the job, I'd have to start rehearsing the following week.
On the one hand, I realised it was a fantastic opportunity that could open doors for me and help me achieve my goal.
On the other hand, it was a leap into the unknown. I'd worked at Swans since 1982. I'd started as a welder and worked my way up to the drawing office – by 1986, when I was 21, I was earning £50 a week, not bad for the time.
Back then, working for Swans was considered a job for life, so I was torn. But I was a young man, opportunity might not knock again, and I didn't have any responsibilities.
So after a few moments' hesitation I said I'd take the job. I went to see the office manager and said, 'I'm sorry, Bill, I won't be here on Monday.'
He thought I'd taken leave of my senses. When I told my parents, they couldn't process the information: they didn't understand why I'd want to leave a well-paid job that had prospects.
Luckily, my professional acting career got off to a flying start – the local newspaper review was headlined, 'It's Green for go in this winner !'
What's more, the lady who was casting for Casualty and Soldier Soldier happened to see me in the play that first night and I got jobs in both.
I've never really looked back. Ironically, working at Swans would have been anything but a job for life because the yard where I worked closed a few years later.
The Daily Mail, 8 May 2015
A MAN OF INTEGRITY
London, Oxford, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow — these and numerous other places in the United Kingdom have for the longest time provided the ideal settings for some of the most well-written as well as atmospheric TV crime stories.
Recently, a certain Cambridgeshire village has experienced an uptick in criminal activity, much to the delight of small screen audiences. Set in the 1950s, the popular ITV series Grantchester—based on The Grantchester Mysteries series of books by James Runcie—follows the crime-fighting exploits of Sidney Chambers, an Anglican vicar who moonlights as an amateur sleuth, and Detective Inspector Geordie Keating.
For actor Robson Green, the opportunity to play DI Keating proved irresistible, and pretty much for one reason.
“The writing, simple as that,” says Green. “Without writing, actors are speechless, but it was first and foremost the relationships that were set out in this drama. The premise is a simple one — a very charismatic, inquisitive member of the clergy teams up with this honest, no-nonsense detective who has a very definite sense of right and wrong, and together they solve crimes. "
"Now, as a story pitch, you might initially think, ‘Yeah, right, what have you been smoking ?’ However, as the narrative unfolded in the first script that I read, I was hooked, not because of the plot, but because of the relationships. The thing is, your characters don’t have to be a member of the clergy or a police detective. They can be firemen, doctors, lawyers or whatever. Ultimately, it’s the way that they relate to one another and live vicariously through one another."
“I’ve been suspending disbelief and pretending to be other people in front of the camera for 30 years now, and over that time, I think this is one of the best things that I’ve been involved in. It helped, too, that as I read the script, I kind of saw myself playing Geordie. "
"I’ve been miscast many times; believe it or not I tried, without success, to get out of a project where I played Jesus. One critic wrote, ‘I don’t know what Robson Green was playing at, but it was hard to believe that anyone would follow him across the stage, let alone Israel,’” says the actor with a chuckle. "
“This time, though, the critics have got it right, because I got it right. Again, I saw myself in the part, and I loved the writing and the relationships, the latter of which is everything in all good drama. It’s the relationships that shine through in the end.”
Grantchester made its U.S. debut in mid-January as part of PBS’s 2015 Masterpiece Mystery ! line-up. In its opening episode, Sidney Chambers (James Norton) is approached by the mistress of a suicide victim who asks for his help in proving that her lover was, in fact, murdered. Sidney’s curiosity is piqued, and his inquiries eventually lead him to the local authorities, specifically the office of Police Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green).
Already stretched to the limit with an overflowing caseload, Keating politely but firmly dismisses the vicar’s theory of murder. However, as Sidney continues to dig deeper below the surface of the so-called “facts” of the case, Keating cannot ignore the possibility that the clergyman might be correct. Stepping into his character’s shoes was, at first, slightly jarring for Green, given a prior acting job he had just finished.
“I had been playing a lieutenant colonel [Philip Locke] in the SAS saving the Western world from dissident rogue elements of North Korea, the IRA, the Yakuza and Office 39 who were trying to launch a nuclear attack against Britain as well as America in the TV series Strike Back,” says the actor. "
“Twenty-four hours after finishing that project in Thailand, I arrived home in the UK, put on a 1953 costume and walked straight onto the Grantchester set where I met my co-star James Norton.
“I remember being horrendously jetlagged, the type of which I describe as the wheel is still turning but the hamster is dead,” jokes Green.
“Honestly, I was in real trouble. I thought, ‘What have I done ?’ There I am waxing lyrically about the script and everything, and the script is one thing, but actually taking it and relating the material on the lens is something else. However, as soon as James Norton appeared, I thought, ‘Wow, he’s got it.’ James has that unquantifiable thing called star quality that is only inherent in a star, and that’s precisely what he is. James is one to watch, and as soon as I met him I knew I was going to be okay and that the project was going to work.
“James is delightful, charismatic, intelligent; for God sake, when he first read for the part, he was asked, ‘So what can you bring to this member of the clergy who preaches the word of the Lord in the little village of Grantchester in Cambridge?’ James replied, ‘I have a first in theology [equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in the U.S.] from Cambridge University.’
That came across immediately when I met him behind the lens, and within 20 minutes, the two of us were bonding. It was very much an immediate bromance. James kind of got what I wanted from our characters’ relationship and I got what he wanted. The two of us have been friends ever since. James and I got along really well behind the lens, and that also showed in front of the lens.”
While Green slipped quite comfortably into Geordie’s shoes, he still found challenges with the role. “As with any character, I have to suspend disbelief enough for the viewer to believe that, in this case, I am a detective who has this definite sense of justice, but who is also living in the shadow of death,” notes the actor.
“World War II has just finished, and Geordie Keating knows what it’s like to lose a comrade and a loved one. Because he was in that environment, my character knows the reasons why people kill in certain situations.
“The challenge for me was kind of putting myself in the world of World War II, and, luckily, a lot of my relatives, including my grandparents and their brothers and sisters, fought in the war. In fact, my grandfather fought in both world wars. So I was able to talk with them at length about the horrors of war and how long it stayed with them. "
"It stayed with Grandfather Matt until he passed away. He surrounded himself with the men and women he fought alongside in both world wars, and spoke so fondly of the comrades he lost. I took that same sense of integrity, decency and honor with me into the character. "
"That gave me a good base to work from with Geordie, but, again, the main [acting] challenge was convincing viewers that I fought in World War II. If you get that right and get the audience to believe that this man has served in the army, then that helps tremendously with the integrity of the character.”
At first glance, Sidney and Geordie seem to be very much like chalk and cheese, but a pint or two of beer along with a game of backgammon at the local pub soon breaks the proverbial ice between them. From there, a professional relationship as well as a friendship begins to take form.
“I think one of the reasons why this unlikely, unique and endearing relationship evolves is because they both want what each other has,” says Green.
“Geordie lives vicariously through the Sidney character. He’s single, yet flamboyant, and very intelligent. Geordie picks up on everything Sidney says because the words that Sidney uses are so precious, they’re so economic, and my character loves that. So he envies his life and the flirting Sidney does. I mean, he has women falling at his feet. At one point, Geordie’s wife even finds him incredibly charismatic.
“Sidney, on the other hand, desires what Geordie has, namely stability, security, and the collective love of a family. He wants that in his life, whereas Geordie secretly wants the kind of wild side of Sidney’s life and envies his education. He lacks the vocabulary that Sidney has, but also realizes through the series that Sidney is a dependable and important ‘tool.’
"Let’s not forget that everyone confesses their sins as well as darkest secrets to members of the clergy, and that is a really handy tool for any detective to have. So any breeches of confidence on Sidney’s part are most definitely Geordie’s gain when it comes to investigating a case.”
Besides seeing Geordie at work, Grantchester viewers are also given a look at life at home with his wife and their children. “My character’s family is everything to him,” says Green.
“When I sat down to talk with Daisy Coulam [who wrote season one of Grantchester], she asked me, ‘Are you a religious person, Robson ?’ and I told her, ‘No. I personally don’t believe we can solve anything by confiding in an invisible friend.’
“Geordie lost faith during World War II, but he does believe in the Almighty. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the feature film Inherit the Wind, but my character also believes in the notion that, ‘He who troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind, and that fool shall be servant to the wise at heart.’
"Therefore, if you have an insecure marriage and choose to have affairs rather than commit to a relationship, you will inherit the wind, which means you will inherit nothing. So the love of one’s wife and family unit will be reciprocated from this as well. That is Geordie’s entire world and everything he holds dear, but what if that sense of love, security and endearment is jeopardized ? "
"I think they’re going to do that in the second series, which was commissioned a month or so ago. Doing so will, of course, create conflict, and we’ll get to see how Geordie handles that.”
Born in Hexham, Northumberland, England, the actor grew up in Dudley, a small mining village a few miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. Before he ever decided to pursue an acting career, Green had his sights set on a very different type of profession.
“I wanted to be a pilot for the Royal Air Force, but I soon learned that if the Royal Air Force and I were to survive, we would have to part,” he explains. “I went for officer training, but opposed the kind of class system as it was in the early 80s. I’m from a mining background and I never believed that I could make a living out of acting, but my dad always said, ‘Work is a word that is not meant to be enjoyed. That’s why you call it work. Find a job that you love, and you will never have to work again.’
“I’ll always remember being at the cinema with my mum and watching Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. I thought, ‘That’s what I want to be a part of,’ mainly because every woman in that cinema was drooling over Paul Newman, and I figured that it [acting] was one way to get a girlfriend,” he says with a laugh.
Casualty, The Gambling Man, Soldier Soldier, Reckless, Touching Evil, Grafters, Northern Lights and Wire in the Blood are among Green’s numerous other TV credits. The actor also reprises his recurring role of Lieutenant Colonel Philip Locke in the fifth and final season of the aforementioned action-packed UK series Strike Back, which will air later this year in the States on Cinemax.
“I know I don’t look a day over 35,” jokes Green, “but I’m 50, and when Strike Back came along I thought, ‘They really want me to hang out the side of a helicopter with a grenade launcher and take out a rogue element of the Islamic State and then rescue two of the greatest action heroes in the world, all while there are explosions going off north, east, south and west. I jumped at the chance, and it was just plain old fun,” he enthuses.
“I got to see special effects, the likes of which I never thought I’d see in my career, and then there was also just the action side of it and being able to do these things that were required in the scripts. "
"That meant getting up every morning and going to a two-hour boot camp workout. While I was quite fit at the age of 21, at the age of 50 I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. That’s purely because of Strike Back and a guy named Adam Sheppard, who I worked with and got me in shape for the part. I loved every minute of Strike Back, I truly did.”
After all this time, what does Green feel makes a career in this industry rewarding for him ? “I’ve been very lucky of late to have economic stability, but that’s not what makes this rewarding,” he says.
“What makes it rewarding is that I’ve been able to invest that money into a film company, and for a period of ten years we were the tenth largest independent producing company in Great Britain. Over the years, I’ve employed hundreds of people and given young people an opportunity to get involved in this industry, where such opportunities weren’t around when I was starting out. Not only did we invest in people, but also the region of Newcastle upon Tyne, which is where the company was, and the dramas and documentaries we were selling were seen around the world. That investment was and is the greatest reward for me."
HE'S THE REEL DEAL: WE CATCH UP WITH ACTOR ROBSON GREEN
Actor Robson Green talks about his love of angling and how turning 50 helped him to find himself.
As the rejected suitor of a fisherman (he never gazed as lovingly at me as he did at the glassy eyes of a pike), I'm not disposed to warm to Robson Green.
They first met at school 50 years ago, but it took a visit to Auschwitz to bring home just how precious their friendship really is
The Geordie actor, whose 30-year career has included TV hits like Soldier Soldier and Wire In The Blood, and most recently, a highly successful role as gruff cop Inspector Keating in Grantchester, has also become a superhero for anglers.
Millions are hooked on his fishing series, which began in 2008 with Extreme Fishing With Robson Green, when, by his own admission, he was an amateur. Since then, he's matured into one of the world's most experienced fishermen, and is currently demonstrating his skills in his new series, Robson Green's Ultimate Catch.
And it's not just those with a keen interest in tackle talk that he's caught the attention of (for the record, my piscatorial romance ended when I plunged my hand into a bowl of live maggot bait while hunting for a snack in the fridge), by injecting sex-appeal into the UK's most popular participatory sport.
Stripped to the waist to reveal his hairy chest, he flexes his muscles and wrestles scaly, flapping monsters out of rivers and seas and into his arms, and then professes his sincere admiration for them by exclaiming, "Look at the size of that!"
There's an unscripted, spontaneous feel to the shows.
"When I'm acting, I'm pretending to be someone else, but when I fish, I'm just Robson," says the presenter. "I'm totally me, and I love the fact we never know what's going to happen next. The fish make the rules."
He's far more lyrical out of the water than in it - his fishing catchwords are of the pithy variety; "we're in", or "get in" - but on dry land, he enthuses: "Fishing's such a beautiful activity which makes perfect sense to me. It's like a therapy, because you are surrounded by nature, and that helps you get a proper rhythm for life."
As he gazes at me with his piercing blue eyes and talks, with just the trace of a Geordie accent, about turning 50 and finding himself, I can distinctly feel the Robson Green charm reeling me in. That milestone birthday (he turned 50 on December 18) was hugely at odds with how he feels inside. "I remember being young, and looking at someone who was 50 and thinking, 'Why are they bothering to live?', because it seemed so old and boring," he says with a chuckle. "I thought it would need a Stephen Hawking complicated equation to make me get to that age, and yet here I am. Physically, I recognise my limitations - humiliatingly small boys sped past me like gazelles when I took part in a father's race at my son's school a few years ago!
"Luckily inside, I feel like an 18-year-old, with the spirit inside me as adventurous and young as it ever was. I still have wide-eyed wonder about the amazing things I've seen, in an extraordinary life travelling all over the world for my career."
He's relieved that, instead of seeing career opportunities dwindle as he's aged, they've actually increased. "You rather dread the thought that when you hit 50 you'll be classed as a so-called character actor, and offers will dry up because you're seen as ugly and old and can't run a mile in three minutes, but blow me, I've had the busiest year ever."
Over the last 12 months, as well as Grantchester, he's made a second series of Tales From Northumberland, a documentary about his beloved childhood home, where still lives.
Undeniably the most physically demanding commitments were filming Ultimate Catch - battling the elements in Bolivia and the Azores, and fishing for huge fishy predators - and reprising his role in action-packed Sky 1 series Strike Back, based on the novels of former SAS man, Chris Ryan.
It's a neat coincidence that another military drama, Soldier Soldier, first won him nationwide fame in the Nineties. He played Fusilier Dave Tucker opposite co-star Jerome Flynn, and the pair even had a number one hit after their rendition on the show of Unchained Melody was released as a single.
"Jerome and I are still great buddies. It was such a special time on that monster success of a show and we had a great chemistry between us.
"Funnily enough, he called me while I was out on location for Strike Back to find out what I was up to. I told him, 'Buddy, I'm a lieutenant colonel in Thailand taking on North Korea and saving the world from a missile attack'," he says, joking about his role as Colonel Philip Locke in the drama. "Jerome congratulated me on my astonishing promotion from fusilier to colonel - and warned me not to start singing!"
Green, a muscular 5ft 9, doesn't, however, take his fitness lightheartedly, and has a regimented routine of five gym sessions a week, eats healthily and never drinks alcohol.
"It's essential I look after myself, because of what I put my body through in stunts as an actor, and even more through the fishing journeys," he says. "Trekking through jungles is tough. We don't escape to hotels and if I'm living with tribes on the bank of a river, I camp out under a canopy or kip in a canoe.
"In this new series, I go further than ever in pursuit of a fish I've always wanted to catch - the Golden Dorado, which lives in the middle of nowhere in Bolivia.
"We had to trek for days to find this ultimate fish, avoiding caiman crocodiles hungry for their next meal. One swam past my legs, and thanks to him, I discovered I could still run pretty fast!"
He recalls another terrifying incident on location, five years ago, when he was marooned for 36 hours in the middle of the ocean near Alaska, and a Force 10 hurricane hit.
"I actually don't believe in the Almighty - I've never thought we can solve things by confiding in invisible friends - but believe me, when the captain turned to me and said, 'We could be in serious trouble here', I put all my faith in the Almighty. I seriously thought, 'This is where it's all going to end'."
He's faced his share of personal turbulence on dry land, too. He's been married twice, and in 2011, his 12-year marriage to former model, Vanya Seager, ended. The couple have a 14-year-old son, Taylor.
"Relationships sometimes don't work, and that's life," Green says philosophically. "That's what happened with me and Vanya, but we're on good terms and she's an astonishing, beautiful woman and a wonderful mother. Our wonderful son Taylor is very bright and sporty and is doing incredible things, so it's all good.
"My advice to him as he grows up is to find something that truly makes him happy, and then he'll never have to work again," he adds. "That's how it is for me - I pursued two things which really fulfil me, fishing and acting, and it's led to so many great things, and I've got paid for it. It's never felt like work."
His current girlfriend, "an account manager for a big clothing brand", shares his love of the outdoors. "We both like the countryside and walking and she finds fishing peaceful.
"Marriage? I have no time - there's too much fishing to be done!"
Over the last decade - particularly since the death of his father in 2009, a miner also called Robson - he believes he's found himself, and matured.
"Although I've never gone off the rails, when I was young I was reckless, and it was all about Robson. But I've learnt so much from experiencing different cultures, meeting different people, as well as having the time to observe nature and the behaviour of wildlife in my travels.
"Nowadays, I know who I am, have a sense of identity and self-worth, and know where I'm going," he says.
"I realise that contentment comes when life is about others; family, friends, and giving and investing in people and experiences - all far more valuable than material things. I can't wait for more adventures."
Telegraph.co.uk, 07 February 2015
ROBSON GREEN TALKS ABOUT THE LOVES OF HIS LIFE - INCLUDING HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND AND EXTREME FISHING.
Actor and presenter Robson Green lands his greatest catch of all.
Geordie actor and extreme fisherman Robson Green has revealed his biggest catch yet - his new girlfriend.
Robson said she is an account manager for a big clothing brand and shares his love of the outdoors but hasn’t revealed her name.
It comes four years after the one that got away and the ending of his 12-year marriage to second wife Vanya Seager.
He said the new woman in his life was a fan of fishing - a hobby which has taken Robson all over the world hunting the most dangerous prey - but he wasn’t ready to put a ring on her finger.
He said: “We both like the countryside and walking and she finds fishing peaceful.
“Marriage? I have no time - there’s too much fishing to be done.”
He said his split with Vanya had been amicable and the two were still friends.
The actor said: “Relationships sometimes don’t work, and that’s life.
“That’s what happened with me and Vanya, but we’re on good terms and she’s an astonishing, beautiful woman and a wonderful mother.
“Our wonderful son Taylor is very bright and sporty and is doing incredible things, so it’s all good.
“My advice to him as he grows up is to find something that truly makes him happy, and then he’ll never have to work again.
Robson and Vanya on their wedding dayRobson and Vanya on their wedding day
“That’s how it is for me - I pursued two things which really fulfil me, fishing and acting, and it’s led to so many great things, and I’ve got paid for it. It’s never felt like work.”
The actor’s fishing series Robson Green’s Ultimate Quest continues on Quest on Fridays.
He can also be seen in a new series of his local ITV travel show Robson Green’s Tales of Northumberland from Monday, February 16th, and starred in the hit show Grantchester.
Robson spoke of love for fishing.
He said: “When I’m acting, I’m pretending to be someone else, but when I fish, I’m just Robson.
“I’m totally me, and I love the fact we never know what’s going to happen next. The fish make the rules.
“Fishing’s such a beautiful activity which makes perfect sense to me. It’s like a therapy, because you are surrounded by nature, and that helps you get a proper rhythm for life.”
Robson, who turned 50 in December, also spoke of his fear of getting old but said the last year has been one of the most physically demanding of his career.
He said: “You rather dread the thought that when you hit 50 you’ll be classed as a so-called character actor, and offers will dry up because you’re seen as ugly and old and can’t run a mile in three minutes, but blow me, I’ve had the busiest year ever.
“Luckily inside, I feel like an 18-year-old, with the spirit inside me as adventurous and young as it ever was. I still have wide-eyed wonder about the amazing things I’ve seen, in an extraordinary life travelling all over the world for my career.”
Chronicle Live, 5 February 2015
ROBSON GREEN: "MY ONLY REGRET IS WEARING REALLY TIGHT JEANS"
Robson has had an incredible career.
Actor, singer and extreme fisherman Robson Green, 50, talks snug pants, adventure, outdoor pursuits and how he can put on ever such a nice fireworks display...
Robson Green is early to our shoot. In fact, we were at the studio an hour before he was due to arrive and he was so early, he still beat us. And the cleaner.
There’s no awkwardness, however, as our favourite Geordie bounds over and hugs us all, rubbing our hands to warm us from the minus conditions outside.
He then offers us teas and coffees, and won’t let anyone do anything for him throughout the entire shoot. Weird considering the bloke could be a diva if he wanted.
With an acting career spanning 30 years, with Soldier Soldier, Strike Back and Grantchester as just a handful of the primetime programmes he’s starred in, plus that record-breaking pop career with Jerome Flynn as ‘Robson and Jerome’, he’s now managed to capture the nation’s attention by rendering cool a hobby that was perhaps the once most un-cool pastime ever – fishing.
Yep, even those who have no interest in tackle and waders have been captivated by Robson’s charm. And charming he certainly is.
Throughout our day with him we listen to his favourite artist, Elvis, and he references his "wonderful, inspiring" late father at every given opportunity.
In fact, he remarks how much he looks like his dad in our shots (and he’s thrilled about it).
He has a refreshing philosophical outlook on life, "I invest in people, flowers and greenery. Anything that’s alive," and is clearly comfortable within himself, happy to comment on how a close friend of his is "the most gorgeous man on Earth. Even if he does wear Crocs".
Oh, and we learn a lot. Did you know the burst of a firework is made out of rice husk ? Neither did we.
At the end of the day, his enthusiasm and positivity is infectious.
With yet another incredible fishing journey under his belt, Robson Green’s Ultimate Catch, he admits he finds it really difficult to be unhappy. He’s living his dream after all...
Can you believe how successful your fishing adventures have become ?
No. The first week of filming was a career low. It’s never been broadcast. I was awful. I was so nervous and almost quit. Then I realised I didn’t have to be an expert, I just had to be passionate.
Have you ever found yourself in trouble on the open water ?
When we were near Alaska we hit a Force 10 hurricane and were stuck in the middle of the ocean for 36 hours. When the captain looked at me and said, "We could be in serious trouble here," I genuinely thought "This is where it’s all going to end."
You can’t turn around in a storm, you have to go head on into it. I’m not a religious man, but for those 36 hours, I believed in the Almighty.
Do you live on a boat while filming ?
I live in a canoe and sometimes kip under a canopy. There are no hotels or anything. Bear Grylls checked into a hotel once and it wasn’t well-received, was it ?
If I say I’m living with tribes on the bank of a river to fish, I’m doing it. I don’t wash or shave, I end up quite smelly and growing a beard but inside you have immense inner peace. Apart from the odd times I’d turn around and the tribe were gone. That freaked me out. I wouldn’t have had a clue without the local folk.
What do you eat ?
I never go fishing on a full stomach. If we are allowed to, we always eat what we catch. We’re eating food as fresh as it can be. And we snack from the jungle. Pineapples, mangos. Beautiful food.
Do animal activists have some opinions about this ?
PETA have gone at me, yes. But my argument is I don’t kill a fish I don’t eat. By design we’re meant to eat fish. It’s so good for us. They don’t call it brain food for nothing !
Do you have any cravings on trips ?
Thorntons chocolate. I don’t drink alcohol so that’s my vice. If I’m at home I can’t concentrate on anything if I know it’s in the house, I have to eat it. I train five times a week though, so I’m allowed.
Have your rugged outdoor pursuits attracted a certain type of woman ?
No. My girlfriend is an account manager for a big clothing brand. But we do like walking and doing outdoorsy things. We like the countryside and she finds fishing peaceful. Fishing is my therapy. It’s such a great immersion into life.
Will it be a fish dinner on Valentine’s Day then ?
Oh no ! I’m not romantic, but I’m a good listener. She mentioned something she liked, and I actually listened and remembered it. So I’ll buy it. That’s nice isn’t it?
Definitely. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from fishing trips ?
Go and watch my son Taylor, 15, play hockey. He is so talented. That boy is destined for great things. He’s a gorgeous-looking lad too, he doesn’t get that from me, his mother is beautiful.
You seem down-to-earth. Anything flashy about you ?
Nothing apart from a few nice watches. I used to buy lots of fireworks too. I have a pyrotechnics license and I put on displays. I did a couple of weddings a few years back. I’m not kidding you.
Do you like going to the odd celebrity party ?
I don’t like being classed as a celebrity. I’m a normal actor who’s survived. I find the people at those parties are just there to be seen rather than to engage. That isn’t me.
What do you get recognised for the most ?
You can’t call it. People tend to reel off my CV to me. Once I was sat on the toilet and someone decided to have a conversation with me. They shouted, "Robson, caught anything today ?" Absolute recognition low.
Do you get a lot of offers for Robson and Jerome to reunite ?
We get asked all the time. And if the right script comes along, we would do it. We’re still great friends and it’s crazy how popular we were.
We had Tina Turner, David Bowie and Bon Jovi on Top Of The Pops with us. We loved it and knew when to stop. Well at least I did.
Once I was watching Animal Hospital and this lady brought on two guinea pigs called Robson and Jerome. When asked what the problem was she said, "It’s Robson, he’s not right." That was the time to stop for me.
Do you still get fan mail ?
Loads. And I always try and reply. The best one was a woman who sent me money. She wrote, "You’re looking too thin for my liking, get yourself some fish and chips." She sent me 40 quid. I kept it.
But God knows where she goes for her fish and chips for that money.
Are you a fan of social media ?
I quit it all. It’s infested with morons. It’s for people who can’t shut up, even when they’re on their own.
I like talking to people, I don’t hide behind a computer screen to communicate.
What have you learnt about fame ?
Never believe the hype. And do something that makes you happy. I’ve told Taylor to do what he loves, that way he will never have to work.
Would you change anything about your career so far ?
Only wearing jeans so tight you could tell my religion.
But no, I’ve had an extraordinary career and I want to go out on a high. When the wheel is still turning but the hamster is dead – well, that will never be me.
This interview was featured in The Sunday Mirror's Notebook magazine.
By Emma Jones, 1 February 2015
ROBSON GREEN: 'I'D LOVE TO BE IN TRUE DETECTIVE'
The actor, presenter and fisherman reveals who he'd love to work with in the future.
Tell us about your new fishing adventure…
Ultimate Catch is probably the ultimate angling experience. I go further than ever in pursuit of a fish I’ve always wanted to catch – the golden dorado. It lives in the middle of nowhere in Bolivia. You have to travel for days to get there and the chance of seeing one, let alone catching one, is remote. And I catch this ultimate fish.
And you have to avoid a caiman crocodile to do so…
Yeah! That was the scariest moment. This is not a playground. It’s a place where, if they’re hungry, creatures may want to eat you. I thought it was right next to my leg when it surfaced and it would want to eat me, so I took off like Usain Bolt!
Your fishing adventures are popular worldwide, aren’t they ?
I get recognised everywhere in Thailand. In Australia, they’re very popular. I got an email from a woman working in palliative care with young people suffering from cancer, about how much the kids loved the programme. It wrecked me. When I arrived in Tasmania, there wasn’t one film crew waiting, there were loads. And photographers. Headline news that night was “Robson Green arrives in Hobart. Meryl Streep wins Oscar.” Incredible.
What telly do you like ?
Box sets. I’ve just finished Boardwalk Empire. I’m a massive fan of American Horror Story. Also, Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax – Sarah Lancashire’s just fantastic. I’d love to do a Sally Wainwright drama. Do you know her? Put a word in for me!
Is there anyone else you would like to work with ?
Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson… I’d love to be in True Detective. I’m privileged to be working with James Norton on Grantchester. It reminds me of working with Jerome. He’s in Belfast doing Game Of Thrones. I’d love to work with him again, too.
You’ve had fish evade you. Which acting job is the one that got away ?
Bob & Rose – starring Lesley Sharp and Alan Davies, and was written by Russell T Davies. I was offered that, but I was busy. That was a mistake.
What’s your biggest regret ?
I haven’t got any. If I was to live life again, I wouldn’t make any changes.
What’s the most embarrassing moment of your career ?
Playing Jesus on stage. Victor Lewis-Smith got it bang on in his review. He wrote, “Robson plays Jesus. I have no idea what he was playing at, but it was hard to believe anyone would follow him across the stage, let alone Israel.”
You were 50 at Christmas. How did you feel ?
No different. My seven-year-old spirit is still there. I still think I can run like a gazelle, like I did at 21.
Published: Sat, January 31, 2015, Katherine Hassell
Watch television with...
The actor and globe-trotting angler on his televisual big fish and small fry.
Unmissable Show ?
House Of Cards. It’s everything I love about quality drama. The cinematography is astonishing, and Kevin Spacey is the engine of the piece. It’s really accessible on so many levels, and in every episode there’s a hook at the end, or there’s a surprise.
Earliest TV Memory ?
Hector’s House. It was a dog, a really bad puppet; you could see the strings. Every day in Hector’s garden something cataclysmic would happen. Like someone would steal his bone, or his dog’s house would go missing, and Hector would find out who the culprit was. I’m five watching this, so it was absolutely delightful. It was a window onto the world of storytelling for me.
TV turn-off ?
I get bouts of nausea when I see it; it’s this thing called Geordie Shore. These individuals are just desperately in need of recognition, approval and fame and they will do anything and say anything to gratify that notion of ‘Let’s make distress – or not coping with distress – entertaining’. I hate it with a passion.
I cried at…
I’m a huge fan of South Park. I just think these beautiful little cartoon characters are talking to us about issues that are incredibly important and incredibly profound that a lot of people are dealing with today. I get emotional about South Park; people don’t understand. I think it’s one of the finest pieces of writing on TV.
Pitch us a TV show…
There’s an amazing story that happened in Northumberland in 1926 during the general strike, where the Flying Scotsman was derailed by a group of miners. Eight miners were jailed but it was proven that it would take more than eight to lift the railway track. There’s this amazing story about one of the jailed miners and his wife Jenny who fought for their freedom. It’s a story of courage, endurance and passion, but most importantly love. I’d love that to be a drama series.
The Guardian, 11 August 2014
A WISE CRACKING GEORDIE WITH COUNTLESS SUCCESSFUL TV PRODUCTIONS, A UNIVERSALLY ACCLAIMED FISHING SHOW AND EVEN A FEW NUMBER ONE SINGLES UNDER HIS BELT, ROBSON GREEN IS A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH.
AS HE PREPARES TO SET SAIL ONCE AGAIN ON EXTREME FISHING HE SHARES HIS HIGHS AND LOWS WITH JENNIFER TATE.
CHARMING, CHEEKY AND UNAPOLOGETICALLY GEORDIE, TV PERSONALITY Robson Green is not someone crippled by self-doubt and as I prepare to meet him on a blustery day in Wynyard Park I’ll freely admit I was somewhat nervous.
Being a long-time fan of Robson’s I worried whether he would live up to his larger than life persona or instead forever shatter the illusion for me. But, as he walks in, in a sharp Paul Smith Suit, a broad smile on his face and embraces me with a kiss on both cheeks, I knew there was nothing to stress about.
THE SON OF A PITMAN AND LIVING IN THE LARGELY INDUSTRIAL village of Dudley in Northumberland, Robson Golightly Green was never destined to become a star of the small screen. But, a pure passion for acting and a self described love of ‘telling stories’ meant that through determination the writing was on the wall from an early age.
“My parents were big fans of really good movies, and my earliest memory is going with them and my brother David when I was six to see Bedknobs and Broomsticks. This was a defining moment for me and changed my life. The notion of adventure, of something magical and joyous was life affirming. Even then I was mesmerised by the industry.”
But, as his peers looked to a future working alongside their fathers in the pits and other working men roles, Robson found his dreams of acting diminish as the entertainment industry became more and more unattainable. So instead he continued with his studies and acted as merely a hobby, envisaging that this was all it would ever be.
Then, at the age of 13 he was put on detention at school and as a punishment sent to drama school to manage the stage lighting, giving him his first taste of the acting world.
“I knew I had the ingredients to do it, but only as an aside. When people asked me what I wanted to be and I told them an actor, they would look at me with an air of confusion. My teacher even once told me that ‘I was a fool and would always be a fool.’ The only person who ever believed in me was me. It wasn’t that I wanted better than that – I loved my home life – it was that I wanted better for myself.”
And so Robson eventually resigned himself to a life of conformity. Even at the age of 16 when he was offered a job at Alnwick Playhouse he turned it down instead starting work as a Draftsman, thus falling prey to the whispers that had engrained themselves into his conscious telling him he ‘couldn’t do it’.
Years later and fate played a helping hand in his future when a director scouting local talent decided to shun the larger productions for smaller venues and upon spotting Robson, asked if he would audition for Casualty.
“I hadn’t even heard of the show, so I just pretended I knew what it was about. For the auditions I had to get the bus eight hours to London there and back for four days as I couldn’t afford to stay over but it paid off in the end and I was offered the role.”
So how was his first paid acting role ? “Absolutely terrifying ! It took me completely out of my comfort zone but I rose to the challenge and did what was asked of me. It was a good taste of what was to come.”
Even now, Robson admits being an actor was never a need and more of a desire.
“It wasn’t a dream of mine as I didn’t think it would be possible to be paid to do it. I just wanted to tell stories as that’s ultimately what it’s about. Stories can change your life; they drive and motivate you. I’m very lucky to have worked with great writers from the region who have gave me great stories to tell; though I still get some dreadful scripts through which play on the north east clichés and stereotypes.”
AND IT IS THOSE NORTH EAST STEREOTYPES THAT ROBSON HAS managed to challenge through his various roles, whether he’s playing the brilliant Dr Tony Hill in Wire in the Blood, lovable rogue Dave Tucker in Solider Solider or as himself in the ever-popular Extreme Fishing.
And as he chats about the region and his home, his piercing blue eyes sparkle with delight.
“The north east means a lot to me, it means roots, family, identity and belonging. The region is all about the characters and no matter where in the world I go to I’m always driven back. It’s ironic that I have a need to leave but it has always brought me home.”
With a breadth of characters portrayed spanning decades in the industry, I wanted to learn more about what projects Robson holds the most fondness for.
“Second to the birth of my son, my favourite time was when I got the job in Soldier Soldier. Flying to Hong Kong and working with some extraordinary people I kept thinking ‘I’m getting paid for this’. It was a great time and the show was extremely popular. All my roles have been so different and I’m grateful for that.”
AS HE TALKS THROUGH THE VARIOUS ROLES AND PROJECTS HE HAS WORKED on through the years there is one programme which is clearly missing from the extensive list; Extreme Fishing.
And that is simply because for Robson this is not work, it is more of a passion and a calling. “Who would have thought they’d hand me a fishing rod and put me on the TV !” he beams with that heart-stopping smile.
Robson came on the radar for the producers of Extreme Fishing after mentioning his love for the sport during an interview.
“I was worried it would be banal and boring like so many other fishing programmes are, but when they explained to me they would be taking me to extraordinary locations to catch amazing fish and meet fantastic people I couldn’t say no. I’m just doing what I love. There’s a saying ‘find a job you love and you never have to work again in your life’. That’s certainly my philosophy with the show.”
Transcending generations and demographics, Extreme Fishing is a hugely appealing show that is accessible for so many. And that is in large part down to Robson’s mischievous, fun personality. But with so many places they’ve already visited, where does the future lie ?
“The show is running indefinitely. We’ve been to iconic rivers and far flung places but there is always more. We’re off to the Himalayas next. You know, it is difficult to be unhappy when you’re fishing. Fish only live in beautiful places. I completely get it, fishing is the most normal thing you can do.”
“We have been in some quite literally extreme circumstances. In one instance we were fishing 58 miles from the coast for black cod and got caught in the middle of a force nine hurricane. Now I’m not a religious man but I did pray ! But, at least we caught the fish in the end.”
WITH SUCH A BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD OF HIM; INDEFINITE SERIES’ OF Extreme Fishing, starring in the new series of Mount Pleasant and a top secret BBC project coming up, the future for Robson is positively glowing. But that’s not to say the road has always been paved with gold.
“I have had some tough times and it is always hard in between jobs. I’m very critical of myself and I’m aware I’ve done some rubbish. But I wouldn’t deter others from the region from trying. It’s just about ignoring the whispers telling you that you don’t belong; it’s only hard if you make it hard. Don’t think that you deserve it, earn it !”
And he has certainly earned his success, though that’s not to say it has all gone to his head. Never one to toe the usual media lines, Robson’s answers were refreshingly frank and his demeanour relaxed and flirtatious.
Even when I enquire about his ‘housewives favourite’ status he gives a surprising, tongue-in-cheek answer. “What do I say to that title ? Well, I admire their taste in men ! Housewives are notoriously hard to satisfy so I must be doing something right.”
MAKING A FULL CIRCLE THE CONVERSATION INEVITABLY TURNS TO Robson’s first foray into acting and any plans he has for the future after focussing on TV rather than the theatre for the majority of his career.
“I would never do theatre again just for the sake of doing it. It provided me with the best form of training there is, giving me the confidence and a clear sense of self so I would recommend it to anyone interested in acting. My last theatrical experience wasn’t as enjoyable as I would have hoped, though I may be doing Of Mice and Men in the future.”
WHEN I FIRST INFORMED FRIENDS AND FAMILY I WAS TO INTERVIEW the charismatic Robson Green for the next issue of W, I was met with a chorus of envy, lust and fellow northern affection. His carefully sculpted career choosing only the most engaging and interesting characters to portray whilst ensuring he has never neglected his roots has ensured long lasting endearment in the hearts of not just the north east, but the entire nation. But once you strip back the bravado and the need to make others constantly laugh and smile, at the heart of it he’s still just a lad from a pit village in Northumberland – and we wouldn’t have him any other way.
Lifestyle | LivingWord | Oct 25, 2013
"ROBSON is a star " says Pete Price, here above with Robson Green
ROBSON GREEN is probably one of the most successful small screen actors of his generation.
I first met him when he went into the recording business. It was Simon Cowell who persuaded Robson and Jerome Flynn to record Unchained Melody after the guys sang the Righteous Brothers’ track on Soldier Soldier in 1995.
I love Robson as an actor, his comedy timing is perfect. He’s starred in many dramas but my favourite of all is his work in Wire in the Blood. He’s now in a new period mystery drama called Grantchester which starts this Monday on ITV at 9pm to replace Cilla.
He is co-starring with Happy Valley actor James Norton, who played asinister villain in the award-winning series. Robson Green plays a plain-speaking over-worked police inspector, James a priest – what an explosive combination.
Can’t wait for Monday night.
Robson Green talks about his new ITV drama, tax, socialism... and why acting is a tough business.
Inspector Geordie Keating is a no-nonsense police detective who reckons he knows where all the bodies are buried (and there seem to be quite a few, considering his patch is 1950s Cambridgeshire). Then, one day, he’s up to his eyes in smalltime burglars and fraudsters when the man who is destined to become his new crime-solving sidekick sheepishly tiptoes into his office.
It’s the local vicar. Canon Sidney Chambers has information suggesting that the death of a local solicitor – which everyone assumes was a suicide – was, in fact, murder.
Cue the beginning of a weirdly engaging crime-solving duo. A partnership made all the more plausible once the Inspector realises something that makes perfect sense – witnesses and suspects will open up to a vicar in a way they won’t do when confronted by a weary, grizzled police officer like Keating.
“And that,” says Robson Green, who plays the policeman, “is a really handy tool for a detective.” Is the kind-hearted vicar, played by James Norton — last seen in a very different role as Happy Valley’s murderer and rapist Tommy Lee Royce – being cynically manipulated by the copper ? Probably. But if it brings villains to book, who’s to worry ?
Based on the bestselling crime novels of the same name by James Runcie (son of the former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie), Grantchester is a new six-part ITV drama that ticks a lot of the boxes that makes a ratings hit. It offers nostalgia, pretty countryside and the colleges of Cambridge University provide an elegant backdrop – and there’s also a healthy dose of grit (think Endeavour crossed with Father Brown).
This is a slice of 50s Britain that doesn’t shy away from the fact that this allegedly carefree decade was also a time when racism was commonplace, gay people went to prison and the country hadn’t even begun to recover from its war wounds.
“Those themes are sewn in, we don’t shy away from that at all,” says Robson Green proudly. This isn’t Heartbeat in the Fens ? “Oh God no !”
It’s a thoroughly meaty part for Green who most recently, as viewers might have noticed, has been as busy appearing in television programmes about the pleasures of extreme fishing as he has been acting. He is a little greyer than he was when he shot to fame in the ITV drama Soldier, Soldier – is it possible that series began nearly 25 years ago ? – but, at 49, his face is still boyish. His voice is generally quiet and gentle, but that can change, as I soon discover.
We get to talking about his family, and the values that were instilled within him as a child. Green grew up, one of four children, in a village called Dudley in the heart of what was then the north Tyneside coalfield. His father, also called Robson, was a miner - as were his grandfather, his great-grandfather and his great-great-grandfather. It was a working-class household, though not a conventional one.
In one breath, Green explains that the politics discussed around the dinner table “bordered on Marxism”, but in another explains how his grandfather saved enough money to pay for his boys to have a private education, so that they could escape life underground. (Robson’s uncle took up the offer, but “my dad went no, I want to go down the mine with my mates.”)
Green says he is thinking of his dad when he plays Inspector Keating. Robson senior, who died five years ago, was, like the detective in the series, “someone who had a sense that work is not meant to be enjoyed, that is why you call it work. He had a great sense of community…and a chip on his shoulder about a certain class of folk who have been born with a silver spoon in their mouth and done nothing with it."
This year is the 30th anniversary of the start of the year-long miners' strike. Robson's memories of that bitter dispute are stark - though surprising. Robson junior was working in a local shipyard by day, and at night touring pubs and clubs raising money for the striking miners.
"I sang with an a cappella group called the Working Tickets. And we toured with the Flying Pickets, the Hank Wangford Band, Jimmy Somerville." (Little known fact: Green was later briefly part of the later 1980s Red Wedge touring group of Labour-supporting musicians led by Billy Bragg.)
So what does he recall when he thinks about the events of 1984 ?
"My overriding memory is - you've just triggered it now and I've never spoken about it before - is that, for the first time, the black mark around the bath disappeared. Because dad wasn't covered in coal dust any more.
“The miners’ strike was the first time I saw my dad happy. Everyone goes on about the fight and the struggle, but what I remember is my dad being happy. I remember the guys being clean. Relationships were buoyant. They’d all come out from underneath the ground – that’s why the strike lasted so long.”
Many people have no idea what it’s like working in a coalmine, he says. “A lot of southern people think there were toilets in the mine. People think you went to the loo. No, you went where you worked. That’s how it was. And you worked 12 hours underneath the ground.”
Yes, there was an amazing sense of camaraderie and belonging among the miners, but “they worked in an industry that you and I would think isn’t designed for human beings.”
The irony is that his dad was delighted that he didn't have to go to this job that he was fighting to protect. But in the Green household, the strike was about a lot more than pit closures.
"My dad had a definite sense of justice. We practised our socialism and I still practise it today.”
Socialism. It’s a word that keeps coming up in our conversation. How do you – most certainly a millionaire – practise your socialism, I ask.
He gives an answer that, I suspect, would also warm the hearts of any Conservatives in the Grantchester audience. You could call it socialism – or, more accurately perhaps, compassionate capitalism. Green explains that he’s invested his income in improving the lives of kids growing up in the North East.
“I don’t have flash cars or massive mansions or anything like that and I’m not decadent with my money. I started a film company with the money I got from Soldier, Soldier and invested in the area – we started producing drama that was shown around the world, in 140 countries, and employed hundreds and hundreds of people.”
He adds: “I’m quite savvy. You ignore the business side of this industry at your peril.”
Indeed his company, Coastal Productions, backs up his claim, having made hit series such as Wire in the Blood and Grafters. Also among their drama credits are Place of Execution (for which Juliet Stevenson won a best actress award), Rocket Man and Me and Mrs Jones.
But acting is a tough line of business. Some years, you make a fortune, other years things are sparse. Has he never been tempted to put his money somewhere where the taxman can’t get hold of it ?
And this, dear reader, is the moment softspoken Robson Green goes off on one. He raises his voice. There’s real anger on display.
Because Green most certainly does not approve of tax avoidance. And he is extremely cross about high-profile celebrities who have (totally legally) sought to shelter their earnings from the taxman.
“Do you know what, anybody who tells methey’re not going to pay tax… we’ve got an NHS system on its knees… I tell you what, my son was in real trouble when he was young and we took him to the hospital, there were four specialistswaiting for him. That’s why you pay your taxes. We’ve got a police system who protect us, we’ve got firemen who put out fires. We’ve got defence, man. That’s what tax is for.
“Why don’t you want to invest in that ? I don’t get it. These f ***ers who try to avoid it should hang their heads in shame. That comedian… What’s his name? Carr? W***er. I mean, just w***er. No, he’s not getting away with it for me. Sorry, there are people dying because we don’t pay our taxes. I’m proud to be a 50 per cent taxpayer, very proud of it. Sorry, you’re not getting away with it. Shame on you… because you didn’t pay your tax.”
Jimmy Carr apologised and changed his tax arrangements in 2012. I think we can take it as read that Green’s fee for Grantchester isn’t currently in a bank account in the Cayman Islands.
ACTOR ROBSON GREEN – STARRING IN NEW PERIOD DRAMA GRANTCHESTER – CHATS ABOUT BEING A DAD AND WHY TV DETECTIVE COLUMBO IS HIS INSPIRATION
Robson Green tells Yours of his 'greatest pride and joy'.
Family has always been important to Robson Green. He’s spoken at length about his love and admiration for his late miner father and he’s always been close to mum Ann, who lives near him in Northumberland. So it’s hardly surprising that his 14-year-son Taylor is the absolute apple of his mesmerisingly blue-green eyes.
“He’s an amazing young man – just stunning,” Robson beams as we sit chatting at the ITV offices.
“I’m so proud of him. He’s extremely bright and something of a scholar – he’s an exceptional historian, his Spanish is fantastic, his Latin is wonderful. He’s a beautiful, beautiful human being and just takes my breath away.”
Wow ! You don’t find many dads waxing so lyrically about their teenage sons. Haven’t they locked horns yet ?
“Oh he’s been giving it all the young buck stuff but that’s a rite of passage, isn’t it ?” Robson goes on. “We go running together and he’ll say, ‘I’m faster than you now dad.’
The other day, he challenged me to a sprint... he’s like a gazelle, really put me to shame ! The world is his oyster but I think he may become a writer when the time comes for him to choose. He recently wrote a wonderful poem to commemorate the start of the First World War.”
It may be wise that young Taylor (whose mum, Vanya Seager, separated from Robson in 2011) chooses to forge his own path rather than trail in his father’s footsteps. Robson the actor and TV presenter is a tough act to follow. Casualty, Soldier Soldier, Wire in the Blood, Waterloo Road, Christmas Lights... the dramas and comedies he’s starred in over the years are like TV gold. Plus he’s carved out a very nice niche for himself with his entertaining, extreme fishing programmes for Channel Four.
And now, the eagerly anticipated Grantchester is upon us. Adapted from the novel Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, the six-part series is set in 1953 in the beautiful Cambridgeshire village of Grantchester.
Robson plays Police Inspector Geordie Keating who teams up with the local vicar Sidney Chambers (played by charismatic young actor James Norton) to solve crimes in the area.
“I knew within half an hour of reading the scripts that I wanted to do it,” Robson explains.
“Set against the serene Grantchester backdrop, it’s beautifully shot and very charming. The themes are universal and there’s a real shadow and grit to it – as well as an undertone of living in the shadow of death of the Second World War. Then there are all the taboos that existed in the Fifties – be it homophobia, racism or how the locals felt about outsiders. "
"I kind of saw Columbo, the iconic American TV detective of the Seventies, in Geordie Keating – he’s a dishevelled, working class individual set against a backdrop of that pomp and ceremony of a different class. He’s morally very, very clear but I like that."
"Design-wise, the attention to detail on Grantchester is spot on. Right from the off, you feel like you really are in 1953. It must have been a real surprise to the people of the area when we were filming to suddenly find themselves in the Fifties.”
With Grantchester complete, Robson is currently filming the second series of Tales from Northumberland.
“It went down a storm last time,” he smiles.
“Yesterday I was swimming alongside big white dolphins off the coast of Northumberland, then I was doing a bit of Cumberland wrestling. You wouldn’t believe how popular that is. It’s a form of combat to settle scores – it dates back to the Vikings but then the Geordie accent comes from the Vikings, too."
"I also track down one of the rarest animals in the world – the Northumberland white cow. There’s only 130 of them in the world and 115-120 reside in Northumberland. The other ten are in a secret location in Scotland. "
"I’ve lived in Northumberland all my life but had never seen one before. They are mythical-looking creatures but go anywhere near them and they will go for you. Man, the young bulls! They do the classic, covering themselves in poo and mud and going, ‘Come on then!’ They’ve been there since time began and they’re unreal. Amazing that they’re just on my doorstep.”
Robson clearly has his native Northumberland stamped through him like a stick of rock.
“I’ve always lived there,” he says proudly. “Always had a place in Northumberland and spent more time there than in the south. It’s what I know best and I love the people, the landscape... My roots are there, my sense of family and belonging.”
He can’t stand reality programmes like Geordie Shore, which, he feels, denigrate the area.
“The producers should hang their heads in shame. The so-called stars are desperate and will say and do anything to be on camera. If that’s a reflection of the north east of England, I want nothing to do with it. I know it’s not, but it makes me despair.”
On a happier note, Robson will turn 50 in December. Is it a sore point ? “Not at all ! I didn’t think I’d still be this busy at 50. I also feel I’m still in good nick.”
There’s no doubt about that !
Alex Frisby, News Writer, 14 October 2014
Depuis toujours, Robson Green est un passionné de foot et fervent supporter de Newcastle United.
“The Mag Is My Bible.”
The Mag est un magazine indépendant écrit par et pour les supporters de NUFC (Newcastle United Football Club). Le premier numéro du Mag est sorti en 1988, il est devenu le premier fanzine de Newcastle United.