For Robson Green fishing is not escaping life, it’s an immersion in life
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Robson Green is one of British TV’s most recognisable faces, having starred over the last three decades in shows such as Soldier Soldier, Wire in the Blood and Grantchester – as well as being a chart-topping singer. Right now he’s playing himself and pursuing his passion with friend and fellow actor Jim Murray in Robson and Jim’s Fly Fishing Adventures. This interview was done while Green was in Australia for the World Recreational Fishing Conference and Expo
Robson Green, Jim Murray and a fish.Credit: SBS
This is very exciting for me, and possibly even more exciting for my mother, who is in love with you.
Well, A: she’s only human, and B: I admire your mother’s taste in men.
I’ll let her know. Now there’s a media law that says interviewers have to ask celebrities how they like Australia. So how do you like Australia?
It’s kind of my 30th visit, so I know it quite well. I’ve done many an Australian adventure in my time. It’s kind of my second home, and a place that I gravitate towards. In Australia, I always feel at home. I started to learn that home isn’t the house you live in, or the city that surrounds you – it’s a feeling. And I really do feel at home in Australia. It’s the vibe. Why do I feel at ease on this big island at the bottom of the earth? I dunno why, I can’t articulate it. But maybe it’s because I gravitate to these extraordinary fishing locations that are some of the best on the planet.
You’re an actor, you’re a singer, you’re a TV presenter, but as a fisherman you get to do your passion for a job, and that’s kind of a sign that you’ve made it in the business isn’t it?
Robson Green as Geordie Keating and Tom Brittney as Reverend Will Davenport.Credit: Kudos Film and ITV
It is interesting that as I hit the last third of my life, I’m able to choose, and I’m able to do something that is normal, that by design I think we’re meant to do. When you think about what actors do, all we do is fake sincerity in front of the lens. If you can fake sincerity as an actor, you’ve cracked it. I’m not a detective. I’ve played an astronaut, I’ve been a bloody werewolf. I’ve been a soldier.
So just to be clear: you have no experience being a werewolf in your personal life?
No I haven’t, so trying to fake that was pretty tough. Probably one of the biggest asks I’ve ever had.
So these days you find yourself more attracted to the jobs where you get to be yourself, and you don’t have to do the faking?
Absolutely. I mean, I truly believe that we’re meant to immerse ourselves in the outdoors. It doesn’t take a Cambridge professor to realise that we’re made of water, our brains are 73 per cent water, so maybe being next to water and hearing water triggers a mechanism that tells us we’re in the right place. I’m so privileged, I’m so fortunate, and I know there are so many people going, you utter bastard, just look at you. Travelling to Australia or 28 states in America or every country in South America. I feel like I’m so fortunate to be able to do something that I genuinely enjoy. It’s not an escape from life, it’s a greater immersion in life. I still get offers of drama, and I’m about to embark on another one, but in the schedule I go, “OK I’ll be taking those two weeks off because I’ll be going fishing”.
You also seem to be passionate about promoting where you’re from, in Northumberland. Is that a point of pride, to highlight that region to the world?
Yeah, because for the first time ever, we now have a commissioning editor in the north-east of England. The north-east of England is a huge region. It’s like Western Australia, in terms of proportion. So for the first time you have an avenue of opportunity which never existed when I was a kid. We never had an infrastructure where we could go and develop and train and move on to the next step. The structure wasn’t there. To be able to have the means of production, to have a commissioning on your doorstep … because you know, a train journey down to London is four hundred quid. That’s a lot of money. A flight is $1400 Australian. To have a commissioning editor in the north-east, to showcase the north-east, to employ people from this region who have the talent but never had the opportunity – I get a bigger kick out of that than telling the story. It’s just a great thing to be part of.
You talk about how great it is to do normal things, but how do you feel about abnormal things, like being forced to talk to strangers to promote your show? Seems like the kind of thing that could get very annoying and tedious.
No, no, no. It’s called showbusiness. There was one time when a third of your budget – be it theatre, be it television, be it film – was spent on promotion. You have to invite people to the party. And believe you me, I’ve avoided promotion when I know the show’s a stinker.
So we can be sure the new one’s not, then.
No, it’s not! I like celebrating everything I’m involved in, and being executive producer and being the owner of the company that makes the shows, it’s important you invite people to it. I don’t see it as a chore in any way.
Robson Green’s British Adventure is on SBS, 8.30pm, Friday.
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