We first got to know him as that prickly profiler Dr Tony Hill in Wire in the Blood, based on books by Val McDermid, set in the fictional town of Bradfield, somewhere in Yorkshire.
The series used several general structural or thematic patterns: the neo-gothic, the detective procedural and the psycho profile, which have become staples of serial killer fiction since Thomas Harris’s first Hannibal Lecter novels.
Green, fond of a kink himself as an actor, and whose company Coastal Productions made the series, was happy to go against the tide in terms of lead characters with Hill. The profiler was socially inept, yet he tried to help damaged minds.
The character had a subdued, clerkly aura about him in each episode, though he was always consumed by his investigations, sometimes breaking into a run when a thought hit him.
Hill was a social ghost, friendships had come and gone, and he spent most of his time at home, throwing a squash ball up and down, analysing evidence and sleeping on an old chair.
“He’s a person who, if you sat next to him on the bus, you’d probably be unaware of the profound things he does,’’ Green said.
Then we saw a different Green when he went into doco TV with Extreme Fishing with Robson Green, even more in his element with a fishing rod in hand rather than a forensics report. He tested a long-time passion for fishing in this entertaining travelogue as he scouted the globe on an extreme hunting adventure to discover the weird and wacky inhabitants of the fishing world.
Now following in the footsteps of many British actors and comics, he’s doing Australia’s outback dirt roads in this rather frantic show. And he is even more in his element chasing snakes, wrangling cattle or mining for opals, and just as twitchily intense. He leaps about, shouting and gesticulating, his short monologues peppered with exclamations of excitement.
Famous British actor Robson Green was in the Barossa Valley filming his new television series with snake catchers Benjamin John Horton and Roger Atkinson.
Who doesn’t love Australia ? One UK actor’s love of the beautiful Australian landscape and wildlife brought him to the Barossa Valley last month to film part of his new television series with a local snake catcher.
‘Grantchester’ and ‘Wire in the blood’ star, Robson Green, who is also known in the fishing world for his television series ‘Extreme Fishing With Robson Green’, is working on a show about the spirit of Australia.
The show sees Robson conquer his ophidiophobia, the abnormal fear of snakes.
It was filmed partly in Nuriootpa and Sandleton with Benjamin Horton, owner and operator of SPADE Snake Catching and Education, and Roger Atkinson, owner of Ace Snake Catchers with the star joining the snake catchers on call out to relocate an eastern brown snake from a family home in the Barossa region.
“Today (Tuesday, April 28) is the first time I have ever handled a snake, and it breaks down the myth that they are slimy aggravated creatures,” Robson said.
“It is great to be alongside someone who is comfortable around the snake. It has been great to film with the two guys this morning.
“Australia has the most venomous snake in the world, if you get bitten by a Taipan snake out in the outback you could be miles away from the nearest hospital, it can be a life and death situation.
“That is what the show is about. It is about the extremes of Australia and how people survive and adapt to the environment.”
Benjamin and Roger, who were fortunate enough to meet Robson and be in his series, said they really had fun filming the show.
“Robson is a real down to earth guy,” Benjamin said.
“We had a bit of a chat during the breaks and we joked that he should do a series on snakes around the world since he is over his phobia now.”
Filmed by the Discovery Network, the show’s working title is Robson Green’s Wild Australia and the network is hoping to have the series go to air late 2015.
Robson, who visits Australia about twice a year, will also be travelling to Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Central Australia to do filming for his new series.
“I am very lucky,” Robson said.
“Travelling the world and meeting new people and wildlife, it is a dream come true.”
EXCLUSIVE : ROBSON GREEN ON JAMES NORTON, THE FUTURE OF GRANTCHESTER AND HIS NEW AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE
The versatile star reveals exclusively to BT TV how he got injured in the Outback for his latest show and admits to having doubts about his presenting abilities.
Until a few years ago, Robson Green was still arguably best known for playing Dave Tucker in 1990s drama Soldier Soldier and for the string of hit singles he enjoyed alongside co-star Jerome Flynn.
Now he’s an adventurer and presenter as well as an actor, and no sooner has the second series of Grantchester finished on ITV that Robson is back on our screens this week in an altogether different setting.
Robson Green’s Australian Adventure sees the 51-year-old taking on a whole range of tough, dangerous and back-breaking jobs across the Outback as he discovers what it takes to survive in this remote and difficult environment.
“I meet some extraordinary people who live a genuinely happy life in a very brutal environment,” says Robson in an exclusive interview with BT TV.
“They live by the law that you don’t own the land, you belong to it. And if you look after it, it’ll look after you.
“It’s quite a wonderful tale. They’re people who have courage and tenacity, knowledge, skill and craftsmanship and by telling that story hopefully the audience will not only learn a lot about an area that they think they know a lot about, but also might learn something about themselves and the life we lead.
“Everything’s available for us – be it a telephone, be it food in a supermarket. We’re connected. But for them those things are difficult to come by. So you have to look and hunt for your food – you have to do the things that we used to do a few hundred years ago.”
Among the jobs that Robson does during the four-part series are opal mining, snake catching and cattle rustling.
“I think the toughest was probably one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever done on TV - camel mustering,” explains Robson, who says that he “craves” adventure.
Hit play below to see Robson tackle one of Australia's deadliest snake !
“I don’t know if you’re aware but Australia has more camels than anywhere else in the world and they export them to the Middle East. So believe it or not, shepherding camels is big business, and they do it with helicopters and jeeps –basically it was camel mustering, Mad Max style. It was dangerous but it was such a highlight.”
Coming face to face with camels wasn’t half as terrifying as his encounter with one of the most deadly animals in Australia. Although when he got up close to a crocodile in the Outback it wasn’t actually the crocodile that caused him injury…
“In Darwin, crocodiles pose a problem to the inhabitants and there have been a lot of fatalities. There were four people taken by crocodiles in one year, and so they had to deal with that problem of enabling this large reptile and human beings to get on.
“We went out and discovered one that had been trapped in a cage, but the cage had a gap in it and this 11-foot crocodile decided to go for my foot when I was standing there. It was never going to get me but it was probably the fastest I’ve ever moved !
“I jumped, but sadly onto a bow and it was so quick I hit my head and bust my forehead. There’s me screaming like a Jessie – ‘What am I going to do ? My career is at an end !’ – but I kind of sobered up very quickly and realised it wasn’t that bad !”
Despite presenting numerous fishing shows, including Ultimate Catch and Extreme Fisherman, Robson is still adamant that he wouldn’t be able to survive if he found himself lost in the wilderness.
“Let’s be honest – I really couldn’t survive anywhere,” he chuckles. “I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in certain areas of the Outback if I hadn’t been alongside the people. That makes you think – maybe I should start learning a bit about that ? How to eat well and live well, you know ?”
It would be easy to think that Robson would regard himself now as both a seasoned actor and presenter, and so it’s a bit of a surprise to hear him say the opposite.
“I don’t think I’m a great presenter,” he admits. “I think I’m a half-decent actor. I think presenting is a huge skill but people offer me work and that’s very, very nice. It’s just storytelling and it’s about listening.
“I haven’t got that skill mastered yet in any shape or form as I don’t listen enough. If there’s a gap I fill the gap rather than just allowing the space to breathe and allowing that person to tell the story. That’s a real skill in itself, but I am learning and I do like presenting. In fact, I love the balance.”
It’s clear that maintaining that balance is crucial for Robson, who reveals that he recently turned down a job on a BBC show in Manchester in order to do more presenting work.
“It’s kind of a no-brainer,” he explains. “I get cabin fever when I do drama. I’ll do, tops, two dramas a year. Especially a series – they’re long. And you spend a lot of time in a caravan. The acting’s free – you get paid for waiting around.”
One role that fans will be more than eager for Robson to reprise is that of Geordie Keating. Alongside James Norton, the pair have made Grantchester one of the must-watch dramas on ITV.
“It has the light and shade and I think that’s why it’s very popular and a hit,” reflects Robson, now that the second series has wrapped up. “It’s well-written and very likeable – and James Norton is amazing to work alongside – one of my favourite actors !
With over seven million people tuning in each week, surely a third series must be on the horizon ?
“I don’t know,” says Robson, earnestly. “It’s a minefield. It’s done well – but who knows? I know how important viewing figures are and they seem very happy with them. But I’m just so happy to be working – honestly I am !”
Accident Down Under . . . Robson Green was attacked by a crocodile while filming for his new nature show in Australia.
The 51-year-old actor was rushed to hospital after the killer aquatic reptile snapped at him from behind bars while he was shooting his new show 'Robson Green's Australian Adventure'.
Luckily, he wasn't actually mauled by the crocodile, the vicious creature gave him such a fright he accidentally fell back into a metal pole as he leapt out of the way and injured himself.
He told : “During the sequence a crocodile snapped at my leg and I jumped out of the way and banged my head on a wooden pole.”
He continued : “When I was checked over in the local hospital, they asked what had happened and I said, ‘Crocodile attack !’.
He admitted : "It was actually in a cage and I was out of harm's way so it wasn't really dangerous at all."
“But stupidly it gave me such a fright that I jumped out of the way and banged my head on the pole.
"I can say legitimately that I got a cut on my head from a crocodile attack.”
He recalled : “It was quite embarrassing actually because I was genuinely upset that I’d hurt myself and got a cut on my head."
“I screamed, I hurt my head, there was blood. "
However the terrifying encounter left the actor wondering if he would ever work again and despite the painful bump he sustained, he was more worried about the damage to his face.
"For an instant I thought, 'What the hell am I going to do?' because I can't do anything else. All I do as an actor is tell stories and my face is my fortune. It's all I've got."
"So, not quite a killer bite to the face - but still pretty painful all the same."
The incident happened during a seven week trip Down Under for Robson Green’s Australian Adventure, for which he travelled across the country, meeting the people and getting to know the wildlife including crocs and snakes.
Speaking about the programme, he explained : “It will show how people survive but also thrive in a very harsh and brutal environment and just explore the ways of a culture that has been in existence for thousands and thousands of years."
“They are genuinely happy living where they are. It was a very life-affirming story and one which I will remember for a very long time.”
Robson's new show sees him trekking across Australia over seven weeks to "show how people survive but also thrive in a very harsh and brutal environment and just explore the ways of a culture that has been in existence for thousands and thousands of years."
“In Darwin, I went out with a team who catch large reptiles and take them out of harm’s way. They’re fascinating beasts – living dinosaurs – and they’re ferocious. Even the small ones could rip your hand off in the blink of an eye."
“They had this 11- or 12-footer in a cage with a gap about a foot wide, and it decided to go for my leg. It’s the fastest I’ve ever moved and I’m 51. So I jump out of the way and bang my head on the boat. "
"It starts bleeding and I’m screaming, ‘Oh my God, my career, my career !’ And there is the captain with half his left hand missing from a previous attack, and he’s looking at me like : ‘Just deal with it, dude’. I felt a right tool.”
Robson attempts cattle-wrangling in South Australia in episode one
As well as the Northern Territory, in the series he pitches up in the remotest corners of Queensland, South and Western Australia. In the Daintree Rainforest, he finds a community living off the grid. In Arnhem Land – a vast wilderness pockmarked with gorges – he meets the indigenous Jawoyn people.
As Green puts it, the outback is “a different world” and not just to us Brits; it’s alien to the 85 per cent of Aussies who cluster on the coast.
“It’s one of the most hostile and brutal environments on the planet but 15 per cent of their population not only survive but thrive there,” he marvels.
“They live a genuinely happy life in what to us would seem incredibly uncomfortable and scary. They’re very self-sufficient.
“In this hyper-connected world, sometimes the joy comes from being alongside someone who says to you."
‘We don’t own the land, we belong to it and I’m going to show you how.’ I met a guy in Katherine [a town in Northern Territory] who has the best back garden in the world. He’s never planted a vegetable in his life, but he lives this joyous, stress-free, happy life with what’s available to him.”
It’s obvious that one of the chief attractions for Green is this surrender to the land rather than to the computer or mobile.
“Certain landscapes can put you at ease and relieve you of stress. The internet and phone suddenly don’t matter and you can appreciate what surrounds you. It’s good for the mind.”
Robson Green's Australian Adventure begins on Friday 8th April, at 9pm on Quest
Since 1991 Green has been Down Under many times and travelled all over – but the Red Centre remains his favourite destination. So when Quest asked whether he’d like to make a series about the outback, he didn’t take much persuading.
In the three decades since Soldier Soldier launched his acting career (plus a brief singing one), he’s carved out a successful sideline in travel documentaries.
“I love the sense of adventure. I love how travel and meeting other people broadens your horizons. And makes you think about yourself and how you lead your life.
“I don’t go on holiday. My life is my holiday. My father worked as a miner for 42 years and he said to me : ‘Work is not meant to be enjoyed. That’s why it’s called work. Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work again.’”
Robson Green’s Australian Adventure isn’t a typical holiday. Inevitably, it involves uncomfortably close encounters with venomous snakes and saltwater crocodiles – although, refreshingly, Green doesn’t pretend to be the next Crocodile Dundee.
"It’s one of the most hostile and brutal environments on the planet but 15 per cent of Australia's population not only survive but thrive there"
Robson Green’s first visit to Australia was in 1991 when he was cast as a fusilier in Soldier Soldier.
“It was astonishing,” he chuckles. “They sent me first class. So there I am : 27 years old, 38,000 feet in the air in this aluminium tube, and someone’s going, ‘Mr Green, how would you like your steak cooked ?’”
"It wasn’t just fine dining at altitude that made a lasting impression on the son of a coal miner and a shopkeeper from Tyneside. When he touched down in Alice Springs, a town in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, he was struck by the alien landscape, ancient culture and realisation that time moves at a different pace in these parts."
Above all Green was awed by Uluru – the Aboriginal and official name for Ayers Rock, which is a four-and-a-half- hour drive from Alice Springs (a short hop for locals) in Australia’s “Red Centre”. This 1,100ft-high, two-mile-long monolith is 600 million years old and once sat at the bottom of the sea.
“It’s just beautiful – biblical – and I’m not a spiritual guy. It is red but it changes colour when the sunlight hits it. Photographs don’t do it justice.”
For his latest TV project, it was even more spectacular.
“It hadn’t rained for decades and while we were there it did – and Uluru turned purple. It was amazing the way the water hit it and waterfalls cascaded down. Thousands of people turned out to see the spectacle.”