Robson Green realised a dream by filming Wire in the Blood: Prayer of the Bone in Texas, even though it meant working in a heatwave alongside rattlesnakes. "When we started Coastal Productions more than 10 years ago we had an ambition to make films in America. It's so exciting to have pulled it off, especially as we're a small indie from the north east of England," says Robson.
"Dr Tony Hill is sent to America as an expert witness in a murder trial. Patrick Harbinson wrote a brilliant script about him being an alien in a foreign land. We filmed in 111F heat but I was there in a Barbour jacket, moleskin trousers, Doc Martens and backpack because Tony comes ill-equipped wardrobe-wise. We had to do that to make it work dramatically but I was OK. As long as you drink enough water it's fine. Some people have to do physical work in that heat all the time and they're not pampered or offered Gatorade."
At the trial, Darius Grady (Brad Hawkins) is accused of brutally killing his family. The prosecution want Tony to help them prove that Darius was not suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the time. Explains Robson: "During the trial Tony realises very early on that neither the prosecution for the defence want him anywhere near the case. Things are not what they seem and they want him out of there because he's on to something."
Tony is shocked when a deadly venomous rattlesnake is left in his car - a scene that was an equally frightening scene for Robson, who hates snakes. "Our executive producer Sandra Jobling rang me up and asked 'how are you with rattlesnakes?' I said she'd better get a stunt double in because I'm not sitting next to one. But luckily we had a great rattlesnake wrangler and I didn't have to share a car with it!"
Snakes aside, Robson really enjoyed the experience of filming in Austin, Texas, which doubles for the fictional town of Luther. "I get very excited about working abroad and I don't take it for granted. Austin is a really vibey town. There's jazz, blues, bluegrass and of course country and western, plus all that great Tex-Mex food. Work came first but as an adventure I really enjoyed the whole thing.
"One of the best experiences was going to the Rodeo and dressing up as cowboys, complete with the boots, hat and bootlace tie. I thought it might be a bit naff but there was a real sense of occasion. The boys and girls riding the horses looked so cool and they were lassoing calves and jumping. It's their version of theatre. We also went to San Antonio and visited the Alamo."
Robson took his wife Vanya and seven-year-old son Taylor with him to Texas. "Taylor is so into the bug life so he was in his element. He says he saw a bug the size of a rabbit! The bugs were everywhere but I was immersing myself in a spray called Bug Off which seemed to do the job. Poor Sandra was very badly affected, though, because she got attacked by chiggers and her skin turned into a bubbling Martian landscape. What did I do to help her? I took pictures!"
Since filming Prayer of the Bone, Robson has been to the other side of the world - Australia. "I went to Australia primarily to promote Wire in the Blood but I got involved in a Mike Bullen project while I was there. It was really weird because Sandra and I had been talking about the possibility of doing some Wire specials in Australia and getting a writer like Mike Bullen involved. Just a few hours later I was asked to do Mike's pilot in Australia!"
The comedy-drama, entitled Make or Break, stars Robson as a man who moves to Australia to make a new start with his wife after she's had an affair. "We know as human beings that you can't solve relationship problems by moving to another country, you just pack your emotional baggage with you. But my character tries to sort out his life there with complete comedic results. It's a lovely tale with some joyous one-liners."
Adds Robson: "I've been to Australia a lot and there's something wonderfully calming about it. Coming into Sydney harbour and seeing the vista of the bridge - it's great. I love working in Australia and many of my programmes are very popular there but it was hard to be away from the family for six weeks."
Robson is now busy on the sixth series of Wire in the Blood for ITV1, filmed in his home town of Newcastle and co-starring Simone Lahbib. "We film until March making eight one-hour episodes and the stories are very strong again. I'm so proud of Wire especially as it's sold to 30 countries. It's great when something you believe in is enjoyed by so many different people. Long may it continue."
After that, a new project for Coastal Productions will take Robson behind the camera. "We've just been commissioned by ITV to make an adaptation of Val McDermid's Place of Execution. It's a wonderful thriller set in the 1950s with some great twists and turns. I'll be working as an executive producer which is what I've been aiming towards. I know I've been in a lot of productions with Coastal but we are always pushing the envelope in terms of getting other stuff done and Place of Execution fits that remit."
Robson's many credits include City Lights, Soldier Soldier, Casualty, Unconditional Love, Trust, Touching Evil, Close and True, Reckless, Grafters and Rocket Man. He also recently recorded Michael Morpurgo's novel Private Peaceful for Radio 2.
Robson Green believes the new episodes of Wire in the Blood are the best - and scariest - yet.
"I feel that this series is our strongest so far, and we are always pushing the budget so each episode has a filmic quality. I am very proud of it, and I hope our viewers will be terrified and intrigued by it. One of the episodes is full of religious imagery - hanging, beheading and drowning with a millstone around the neck. The killer is someone who's besotted with the artist Caravaggio. Like the slaying of John the Baptist whose head was served on a plate, which is how one of the victims ends up. It's full of symbolism and it's like a feature film in the way it's shot and lit. However, having a conversation with a head on a plate covered in blood, in between takes, was slightly surreal to say the least. He adds: "The feedback we've had from around the world is that people enjoy being scared by the films and want us to push the boundaries a little bit further, without being gratuitous of course. Our aim, through the writing, performances, design and effects, is to create a chilling atmosphere."
Robson thinks it is good that Wire in the Blood doesn't shirk from the truth about serial killers. "Destructive behaviour is not something that drives itself from an outside force known as 'evil', but from a choice made by a human being. The consequences are visually unpleasant. Our programme is not real but what we have to say is important. As long as it's not a gore fest, we don't shy away from the reality of what we're talking about. I don't go around celebrating the violence but I enjoy experiencing the reasons why people behave as they do. It's an interesting learning curve for me - the most educational piece I've ever been part of."
Robson's character, eccentric clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill, has to learn to work with a new police chief in the series, thanks to the arrival of DI Alex Fielding, played by Simone Lahbib. "She really doesn't want him on board but in the end thanks him for being there. Tony and Alex have to learn to trust each other and work together to solve the murders and their new relationship brings a new energy and warmth to the series."
Adds Robson: "Tony's far more outside the university now and more involved in the police work, as a volunteer. But he's on the periphery. When the crime is solved he disappears. He's never applauded for what he does and he doesn't stand out in a crowd. Just like a surgeon who performs something profound in hospital or someone who's carried out an amazing engineering feat. You wouldn't look at them twice."
Returning to the character of Tony Hill means learning long speeches - a challenge for any actor. "Not many actors have the bottle or courage to stand in front of the microphone for eight minutes and deliver dialogue. It's very complicated stuff - bizarre but interesting to say. Luckily good writing is easy to learn, especially once you understand the imagery, so I talk to the writers and Val McDermid a lot."
Despite his close involvement with the series, Robson insists he never takes the dark subject matter home. "This is fun and it's a job I really enjoy but I know it's unreal. I'm not a psychologist, I don't take it home and if you do, don't do the job. It's the real stuff that lingers for me, like happy slapping kids."
The success of Wire in the Blood, with sales to well over 30 countries, is particularly rewarding for Robson as it is made by his company Coastal Productions. "I can understand why it is a very successful programme because its themes are universal and what Tony has to say is very interesting. It's unusual though, because he's a clumsy character, not your cliched lead. He travels to work on a bicycle and has his life in a blue polythene bag. It's taken us 10 years to get prime time drama that's shown around the world. Once the infrastructure's created then people are attracted to it. The aspiration is to make movies from here."
Despite his profile internationally, Robson is in no rush to try his luck in America. "I'm offered stuff but it's a whole new ball game. You have to up-sticks and go out there and I have a son in education here. But obviously if they offer me something with De Niro for three months that'd be different!"
Robson lives in Surrey with his wife Vanya, six-year-old son Taylor and stepdaughter Lara. His many credits include Soldier Soldier, Casualty, Unconditional Love, Trust, Touching Evil, Close and True, Reckless, Grafters and Rocket Man. He recently completed new ITV drama Little Devil and is about to start filming a new series of Northern Lights. His hobbies include tending to his organic garden. "I've got a greenhouse with melons, aubergines, marrows, peppers and chilli. I see it as nurturing life which I guess is good for the soul."
I have an incredible fitness trainer called Craig Dilnot who also lives in Surrey. A month before I start filming a drama I will explain to him what the demands are going to be and we work out a fitness programme.
Filming often means a six day week for two months or so, getting up at the very latest at 5.30 am and not getting home until 8.30 pm.
In my latest series, Wire in the Blood, I play a clinical psychologist, and when I was doing my research I met with Julian Boone, a clinical psychologist who is based in Oxford and has worked on some of the highest profile cases in the country.
He was fascinating. But when I was creating the character, the only thing I stole off Julian was his dress sense: he wears the same coat, indoors and out and never takes it off, which gives you the sense that he is always about to leave.
Four weeks before starting to film, I stopped smoking and boozing completely. And four times a week, for two hours at a stretch, I would work out with Craig at my local gym.
I've never understood the full-make-up-and-Lycra lot who use gyms. An old tracksuit so I can sweat, that's what I wear. Craig came out with me to Australia to see me through my fitness regime when I was shooting Blind Ambition two years ago and he's a good mate now. He is fit though and he doesn't mess about when you're training.
He hates the chat and he's good for me because he pushes me. I am disciplined but I need someone with me because I don't push myself enough. I get bored and, if I had the choice, I would always rather do something else than work out.
My wife, Vanya, is stunningly beautiful and we often work out together. It's great because there is a healthy level of competition between us. In relation to her body mass, she is stronger than me - she can lift the equivalent of her own body weight.
I'm teaching our two-year-old son, Taylor, to swim and I try to swim with him every other day. He's going through the 'terrible twos' right now: he's mischievous and always into things - takes after me.
We have a pool at home but we also go to the local swimming baths. He still has water wings but he doesn't like them. He is learning to do the crawl and he has confidence in the water. He ducks under, comes back up and his breathing patterns are there. He is doing fantastically well.
Sometimes Vanya will bring Taylor to the set when I'm filming. He's full-on, and with me also being so busy with work for the foreseeable future, we're not making any plans to add to the family. To have another child on the way during this period would be daft. Anyway, ultimately it's the woman's decision rather than the man's.
There was a time, a while back, when publicity about me was incredibly negative and people were saying very hurtful things that I couldn't ignore. I saw this therapist, an Austrian guy. He was the best.
A top man. With his help, I stopped trying to please everybody all of the time, which might sound like a small thing but it is massive - you want to come across as a nice person, to be liked. I didn't know Vanya when this was going on, but as far as emotional and mental support goes, it is now full-on with Vanya. She is an incredible woman, incredible. And gorgeous. She used to be a full-time model, although now she is a full-time mum.
In fact, she stopped modelling about 20 years ago. I first met her around 1995 on a professional level, when Jerome Flynn (Soldier, Soldier co-star and some-time singing partner) and I were recording for BMG and she was PA to the label's A & R man, Simon Cow- ell (recently a Pop Idol judge).
But we didn't meet on a personal level until quite a few years later.
She is glamorous and I haven't had that in my life before. When I was dating her, I was thinking, 'What's she doing with me?' She is so classy, very subtle in her dress sense.
I love buying clothes for her - Selfridges is pretty good, and Harvey Nichols. And I have no problems buying lingerie for her. But forget Agent Provocateur and La Perla. Any shop that doesn't show the price tag in the window, I don't like anyway.
I was in LA last year and the attitude there towards looks is so different to that in the UK. They have no problem with vanity because looking good is just part of the entertainment industry. If you're playing a romantic hero, no one wants a fat slob.
Would I ever consider plastic surgery? No. As long as I keep up my fitness programme, I'll be OK. I have so much nervous energy, I burn fat off easily - I lose weight when I'm filming. I know many actors - I can't mention names ! -who have had Botox.
But it takes away the creases in the forehead, so if an actor who has had Botox wants to look confused, he can't - his face won't move.
But I care about the way I look and I care about my skin. I swear by the old 1950's method of cleansing. I wash with hot water and I don't use soap but a liquid-based product instead. I let the skin dry naturally and then refresh it with iced water and ice cubes - it's great for the circulation. I use a moisturiser ... er, Clinique. Actually, it's Vanya's.
More and more men are taking care of their looks and that's not vanity, it's common sense. I never use cheap shampoos that have a lot of chemicals, only those with natural ingredients.
When I really want to unwind, I go fly fishing. There is something so relaxing about fishing and there is nothing that can match the emotional rewards - from seeing the sun rise to watching it set, noting that every year the swallows appear like clockwork (to the day!) or seeing a barn owl. No chat or interaction with a human being can provide that feeling you get from nature.
There's a huge difference between the taste of wild salmon and farmed salmon because the farmed fish has not been to the Atlantic to grow. That journey they make is amazing, and it's a very romantic notion that they will make their way back to within 10 yards of where they were born. The only way to cook a salmon is to poach it with ginger and a bit of fennel or to grill it with a squeeze of lemon.
I love to cook. I love having people round, doing a Cantonese banquet or a big Japanese feast, Malaysian or Thai. Italian cuisine is the best because of the simplicity of the recipes: pasta with a bit of butter, garlic and basil, I can guzzle bowls of it. Like fishing, cooking is a way of relaxing for me. Though I'm not calm in the kitchen - it's bedlam, absolute bedlam. I was asked to do my own TV cookery show but I couldn't do that, that would be daft.
I swear by sushi. I mean good fresh sushi, not your sandwich-shop type sushi. I can make sushi and sashimi myself now. It is really difficult to do at first but if you persevere, you'll find you suddenly get it and then it's dead easy. All the herbs I use are fresh and I usually get them from Sainsbury's. I love shopping there. The variety and the freshness is wonderful. You can find everything there.
I love their fantastic range of exotic fruit: beautifully sweet grenadines, paw paws, strange star fruits... And they have lovely little rides that Taylor can play on. He loves the Postman Pat and Noddy but I do think they should install a Thomas the Tank Engine!
I lived in Newcastle as a kid, and after my parents split up and dad left, I used to do most of the cooking for the family. My mother taught me how to cook the classic Yorkshire pudding - there is a skill to it, getting the fat to the right temperature is vital - and also how to cook game.
My uncle and my father used to go out shooting and bring back ducks and rabbit and pheasant. A pheasant in a plum sauce is divine.
I'm the one who cooks at home. When Vanya and I were first dating, I sent her a note asking her if she wanted to help me prepare a meal. 'I don't cook, Robson,' she said to me, 'I kiss better than I cook.' Oh, God, yes, it's very true.
Wire in the Blood will be shown on ITV in the autumn.
Presentateurs: Fern Britton (FB) et Phillip Schofield (PS)
Invité: Robson Green (RG)
FB: And now, our next guest first hit our screens as a hospital porter thirteen years ago. Then he won the hearts of women all over the country as a soldier, then he flaunted his bum, had a couple of No. 1's - oh... that sounds actually very rude !!
- - Laughter from presenters, crew and Robson in the wings - -
FB: He's laughing at that one! But now, he is back... you know what I mean... and now he's back on the small screen as a spooky psychologist.
- - Clip from Wire in the Blood - -
FB: Oh, ouch! Here he is - the gorgeous Robson Green! How are you ?
RG: I've heard some chat-ups in my time ! I'm very well, very well. Newcastle have qualified to the second phase of the Champions League, hooray ! What a great game - all's very well.
PS: Good, that's good.
RG: It's Football Fern !
FB: Well - OK, so tell us all about this new... we just saw the clip. It's on tonight.
RG: It's on tonight - it's an adaptation of the crime writer Val McDermid's novel Wire in the Blood and really, essentially deals with human behaviour, and it gives a solution or a notion that if we capture human behaviour, or destructive behaviour at a very early stage, then maybe later on in life we can stop it i.e. if you spot through your socialisation process something that is going wrong in a human being's mind then we can stop it later on in life. So it puts forward something of a solution rather than being reactionary and saying these people are all nutters.
FB: What does wire in the blood mean then? That's a DNA thing or something ?
RG: Well it means two things. It's actually 'the wire in the blood', a quote from a T.S. Elliot poem, don't ask me which poem, excuse my ignorance for that, but psychologists use it as a 'kink' in the genetic make-up of a person - a 'wire' in the blood. Something obstructing, something that we perceive as the norm.
FB: So something's not wired up, not quite right ?
RG: Yes - something just doesn't make sense. I worked with a wonderful clinical psychologist, Julian Boon, and he said never underestimate the notion when you grandmother says: "I always knew he would grow up to be a bad 'un," and he's actually - 9 times out of 10 - it's quite right, don't disregard that. And scientists didn't capture Fred West, it was actually a cop who had half an idea that something wasn't quite right. And it's also a series that's saying we are blind to these terrible things. I mean Fred West had neighbours...
FB: Yes - close neighbours.
RG: Very close neighbours. There were terrible things going on there, and it didn't take an Oxford Don to work out that digging up the garden at three o'clock in the morning means there's something up. You know what I mean?
PS: It's as you say; in the end it was just a policeman's intuition, it's just someone saying that's just not right...
RG: It's this time in the day and it's a terrible thing to talk about but you know, one of his family were missing and a cop picked up on that. Fred West by definition was subnormal anyway and you will find that one in four serial killers are subnormal.
PS: So how much work, and it's quite obvious you have done a lot of research - you have done a lot of work, and obviously we have read the books which are terrific books.
PS: But what is Tony Hill like? What sort of person is he?
RG: I think he's a loser. I mean really, he's a person who is a loser in relationships with women and the 'norm'. Because if you have all these things working with the people who have done terrible acts of destruction, and destruction is the right word, don't lets use this biblical term 'evil' because in a way you're glorifying what these people do. If you harbour all this information then it's very difficult to articulate that to any normal being, so talking about football, or you know, a 9 - 5 job is very difficult for him, and there's a little sequence with the wonderful Hermione Norris who I team up with, he asks her about her relationship and she says: "Well my fella left me because sex with me wasn't worth a three hour drive," and she says: "What about you ?" "Well - sex with me definitely isn't worth a 3 hour drive, maybe a five minute walk - if it's not raining." So in that respect he's unable to articulate himself to others.
FB: So he's a brilliant psychologist who is used to working with murderers once they're caught and charged and imprisoned.
RG: Sure. That's right.
FB: But Hermione, who plays Carol, she's the person who's wanting you in at the very beginning to get into the mind of the murderer before they've even caught him. Is that correct ?
RG: Hermione's character, Carol Jordon, a very, very strong character, has a notion that there's a link between all of these murders that are going on in this Northern town. Her police cast don't believe in her and that's why she brings me in on the team and so we have this respect of each other's notions of actually something isn't quite right, and the signatures lead towards serial killing because there is a definition that once a person has killed four times you are then labelled as a serial killer, and I didn't know that until I did the series.
FB: It's four times is it ? Good lord, you would have thought twice would have been...
RG: Absolutely, you would have thought there's a rabbit off wouldn't you ?
FB: We've got a clip of you and Hermione together, can we play that one first? Have a look at this one.
- - Clip from Wire in the Blood - -
FB: Yes - one of those people who's absolutely brilliant with academic stuff but on a day to day level not that bright.
RG: Sure. Absolutely, but he has an interesting notion about the way people think. If I wanted to know more about you guys and you invited me to your house - downstairs is the world you want to present to everybody. But if I wanted to know more about your mind - invite me into your bedroom. That's what they all say. There you go !
FB: Did he just say that ?
PS: He did indeed. You've just got to look at today's paper to see what's going on! (reference to an article in the daily newspaper about Fern)
- - Laughs all around - -
FB: Turn that over, I don't like that there.
PS: So quite obviously for you, and you've said you've got big scenes - they are ten page scenes - quite intense.
RG: Yeah, and really ups the ante for British television. I mean you harp back to the 50's and one of my favourite films is "Inherit the Wind" by Spencer Tracy, not by Spencer Tracy, with Spencer Tracy in it, just the stuff he has to say and the intelligence behind it and in just one take, and we want to bring that intelligence and that philosophy and that high production value to our show, and I think we have achieved that. I have to say I've nearly hit 200 hours of drama and this is the finest six I think to date.
FB: Let's say - it starts tonight at nine o'clock and it's a two-parter and the next episode is Tuesday?
RG: Next Thursday.
FB: And then there are two more stories and both of them have two parts to come after that?
RG: Absolutely - two more parts. It's a block of three two's.
FB: Robson, lovely to meet you.
RG: You too.
PS: Thank you very much indeed. You're going to stop around aren't you?
PS: I don't know if Robson's actually raised your blood pressure this morning, but if he has then we will take it one step further and up the ante and give you the chance to burst a blood vessel. You can email your questions in to Robson and you never know, he may very well answer them. So drop a line right now and Robson will be back a little bit later answering your questions, after the news.
- - Phillip & Robson sitting at a table - -
PS: We've got loads of emails as you can imagine. Thank you very much indeed for sending them in. We will start straight away - do you see much of Jerome Flynn these days ?
RG: I do, yeah, since we worked together in Soldier Soldier we've been very close ever since. I spoke to him recently and he's busy rehearsing a biopic of Tommy Cooper's life story in the West End, which I think starts January next year. Yeah, I see him a lot.
PS: Now you're not dueting with Jerome, is there anyone else you would like to duet with ?
RG: The only duet going on at the minute is me and my wife Vanya. She plays a damn good tune !
PS: You've got this new album out at Christmas.
RG: That's right, this album that comes out on December 2nd was a result of me doing a film called Me & Mrs Jones in which I play a journalist who falls in love with the Prime minister...
- - Robson is served scallops by Fern - -
RG: ...the album was a result of that and it's just a series of old love songs which I like singing, and I was a singer before I was an actor and toured for many years with an acapella group. We did the Phil Spector numbers with a wonderful acapella group called the Workie Tickets and we supported acts like Billy Bragg, Paul Weller, Hank Wangford Band and the Flying Pickets, so it's something I've enjoyed doing and something I'll continue doing, and I do musicals. This is some of my favourite songs on the album and I really enjoyed doing it.
FB: When's it out ?
RG: 2nd December.
FB: 2nd December - and it's called ?
RG: It's called Moment in Time.
PS: Here - there you go.
- - Philip Schofield hands Fern a copy of Moment in Time - -
RG: That's me...
PS: Corina from Bristol says she thinks you are one on the sexist men on TV, and wondered if you'd ever considered doing a nude calendar for Christmas?
RG: I was offered it !
PS: Were you? Turned it down ?
RG: Aye! Nah - the money wasn't right !
- - Laughs all around - -
RG: I'm hitting 40 and all that notion is pure media invention and you know, the six pack doesn't exist anymore. I can't do that chesty stuff anymore - it's all going Phillip. It's sad.
PS: I know what you mean.
FB: The computer does it all for you !
RG: The computer does it all for you ? Oh well, I'll get Pirelli back on the phone then !
FB: Yeah, I'm not saying anything but there may be, next week, a naked calendar quite close to the program but I'm not allowed to talk about it.
PS: Good gracious, you'd better not then.
PS: You once said that you didn't research for your roles. How did you find researching for Dr Hill and his profession?
RG: Well, firstly actors pretend and we fake sincerity and if you fake sincerity you've cracked it. I'm not going after a show like Wire in the Blood going "I actually know what a clinical physiologist thinks". It would be wrong of me to do so and incredibly irresponsible as well and I'm not a method actor. I met Julian Boon - wonderful human being and I got certain nuances from him, and characteristics, but as far as taking work home and thinking like a psychologist- forget it.
PS: What about movies? Would you like to go into film ?
RG: It is the natural progression. I signed a deal with ITV which was for quite few hours, 32 hours, and was unable to do a Billy Friedkin movie; Billy Friedkin, director of Exorcist and French Connection, because of the contract I had with ITV I was unable to do that. But now that I'm out of that contract I'm doing a wonderful series for BBC called Trust and there's a European movie coming and there's offers from America which is all very nice.
FB: Wow, Robson!
RG: And I think that's the result of doing good work and not the aspiration to go there. I think that's a mistake a lot of people make you know. You think, "right, that's where I want to get to" rather than than going "let's start with a script, let's get really good writing" and there's your audition piece. I think it's best to be invited over rather than go over and see what happens.
FB: Yes, I think you're probably right. What has happened to your lovely Geordie accent? It's not quite as broad as it was.
RG: It's alright! It was broad last night I tell you, when Bellamy stuck the 3rd one in - I woke Taylor up jumping towards the air! It's funny because you know, when I talk to me mum and me dad, and I've got a lovely friend in Northumberland called Gordon Evens, and when we talk like that you know we're all broad and nobody knows what I'm talking about. But you know, if you want to get south of the Tyne and make everyone interested in what you have to say you have to work with it...
FB: Is it a conscious thing or its just happened ?
RG: It just happened you know and there's nothing wrong in that.
FB: Mixing with all different groups? No, nothing wrong with it, but a Geordie accent is a good one too.
RG: It's lovely, it's got a lovely note to it and it's one of the hardest to do for any actor actually.
PS: It's also very fashionable now. Hugely fashionable.
RG: Is it? Marvellous!
PS: Thank you.
FB: It was lovely to meet you.
RG: You too.
FB: And his eyes really are as blue as they are on screen, they are incredibly blue.
- - Robson flutters his eyes and smiles - -
FB: Have you got lenses in or anything?
RG: I have not, no. They're from me mam!
FB: Wire in the Blood starts tonight at nine o'clock on ITV1 and concludes next Thursday.
Jonathan Ross Interview
JR: Let's get our final guest out this evening shall we ladies and gentlemen? Here he is - Mr. Robson Green!!
- - Robson walks on to "Fog on the Tyne" and "whey aye pet" - -
RG: O - Lord.
JR: That must take you back home does it?
JR: Good Lord - you're a good looking man.
JR: Those piecing eyes. I feel as if they can look right into my very soul.
RG: You need to get out more John.
JR: Yeah. Just look how blue they are! Just look at that...
- - Camera zooms in on Robson's blue eyes while he flutters them - -
JR: And they nearly match! Robson, well it's so nice. Thank you for coming on the show.
RG You're welcome. It's an honour - Nay, privilege!
JR: Where have you been? You've been away ages it seems like.
RG: I've just actually come back from the States. I took a break so I could spend some time with my son. I did the Disney World thing so my wife Vanya could have a rest, and ya know I made the mistake of not realising that Mickey Mouse to a two and a half year old is a 6 foot rat. There's Mickey Mouse - Taylor - ahhhhhhh.
JR: When you were out there, this was a holiday? I know you've been out there before; presumably you've been there for business? For movies? Is that somewhere you're keen to work?
RG: Well I signed what they call a golden handcuffs deal with ITV and that meant I only did ITV work. I went out there last year and was offered a movie by Billy Friedkin, director of French Connection and The Exorcist. Unfortunately, because of the deal I'd done with ITV I wasn't able to do it but...
JR: So how delighted were you with that deal at that stage then? You must have been so thrilled with your relationship with ITV?
RG: Well you know, in the end I think, I'm a lad from Newcastle and when someone offers you a squillion quid - I mean money does corrupt the mind.
JR: Robson, you know that Tom Selleck was the first choice of the guys who made Indiana Jones movies? He couldn't do it 'cause he was signed up to do Magnum PI! Pierce Brosnan was going to be Bond years and years ago - he was tied with Remington Steel.
RG: Yeah, Yeah! Remington Steel.
JR: You could have been ET or something if you hadn't have had that deal.
- - Laughs from audience - -
JR: You know - I was reaching! I didn't have an idea in mind...
RG: The thing is with the Brit thing - you see a lot of Brits out there as baddies and all the movies you're offered - it's all baddie parts and it's not really my bag. Doing horrendous things in a lot of the movies.
Clip 2 :
JR: You'd be the leading men type I think. You've got the following with the ladies and some of the gentlemen as well I'm sure. And the older ladies love you.
RG: Yeah, they do. There was a lady recently who went "Eeeeee - look who it is and I haven't got my teeth in."
JR: That would be a bonus then wouldn't it?
RG: Fillings, fillings! She also said "I've got your CD. I got it free with a chicken in the supermarket." She now uses it to keep her fridge steady!
JR: This is the stuff you used to do with the fella with the big chin - Robson & Jerome.
RG: He's friend, he's a friend.
JR: I have a clip of you singing on Top of the Pops. This was the biggest single that year. Let's have a look - this is Robson & Jerome in action...
- - Clip of Robson & Jerome singing Unchained Melody on Top of the Pops - Christmas 1996. Robson curls up laughing - burying his head in the sofa at one of his singing parts - -
JR: You must have made a lot of money from those songs didn't you?
RG: Well, unapologetically - I don't worry talking about it. Yes - I think in four months we netted 6 million each.
JR: Sweet baby Moses!!!
RG: But I paid 40% tax on that.
JR: Even so man - that's a good Christmas isn't it?
RG: Yes, it is. It made the record company.. the guy in control of it - Simon Cowell...
JR: Simon Cowell? Satan?
RG: Hmmmm, yeah...
JR: You made money for Beelzebub?!!!
- - Laughs from audience - -
JR: Have you been watching Pop Idol? What do you think of that show?
RG: I think, and I don't want to sound patronising, the young boys and girls who are really talented but the one thing they don't do is actually surround them with helpful advice, like getting yourself a decent lawyer. When I embarked on the music I had a great lawyer, John Kennedy, and we did a great deal. What people don't realise is you're paying for everything. From the recording fees, the transport and accommodation, but what they feed on is this unlimited abundance of people wanting to be famous, and they sign the dotted line before the penny drops - when they actually realise. I hope they make a lot of money because they deserve to, they are incredibly talented.
JR: We like Gareth in my house best.
RG: Yeah... Why?
JR: We have to.
RG: Do you?
JR: My daughter has his posters all over the walls. If I had my way I would ******* strangle him.
- - Robson waves his hand across is neck - signalling a cut - Laughs from audience - -
JR: Drives me nuts all the time. But I'll say it again. I love Gareth - he's marvellous!
Clip 4 :
JR: Where's Jerome now? What's he doing right now? The last time I saw him on TV he was Badger the Pet Detective, which I kind of liked in a weird way.
RG: He's a friend.
JR: No, no! I like Badger the Pet Detective. I wanted some of those pets investigated.
RG: When I spoke to him last he was rehearsing a biopic of Tommy Cooper's life in the West End, to be seen next year. He'll do it really well and I think he'll play it in a way that you'll care about the character and not just play the cliche.
JR: Did he have to audition or did he get it 'just like that'?
- - Laughs from audience - -
JR: What? That was an innocent mistake, it was a mistake! I apologise.
RG: Bravo, Bravo.
JR: Let's talk about the new thing you've got over on ITV and then we'll talk about the new thing you have coming up here on the BBC.
JR: ITV, a new series called Wire in the Blood - is that right?
RG: Yeah it is, it's an adaptation of the wonderful thriller writer Val McDermid. We adapted three of her books and the first series is a six-parter and it deals with human behaviour and I think we put forward, in this notion of entertainment, I think we put forward maybe a solution that if we catch destructive behaviour at an early stage then maybe we can stop the corrosion.
JR: Let's have a look at a clip. This is from Wire in the Blood, it starts on ITV pretty soon I think?
RG: Yes, next Thursday.
- - Clip of Wire in the Blood - -
JR: You look like Cracker who's been on the Slim Fast!
- - Laughs from audience - -
JR: You've got a new show on the BBC next as well, I believe?
RG: A new show created by Simon Block called Trust.
JR: I spoke to the controller of BBC and she said she thinks it's one of the best things you've done - much better than anything on ITV.
- - Laughs from audience - -
JR: She may be biased I don't know - that's not for me to say! But it sounds good.
RG: I took a break deliberately because of the scripts that were being offered, and at this stage of work with Wire and Trust, I've nearly hit 300 hours of drama. And I think it's probably the best I've ever done.
JR: I'm looking forward to seeing it. Will you stick around? I want you to meet our music guest tonight.
RG: Yeah! Can't wait.
JR: But for now, ladies and gentlemen - Mr. Robson Green.