Robson Green talks new drama Age Before Beauty PLUS TRAILER

More work offers and significantly lower stress levels - turning 50 marked a period of change for Robson Green. After all life's too short, he tells Gemma Dunn.

Friday, 27th July 2018, 9:53 am
Updated Friday, 27th July 2018, 9:59 am
Picture Shows: Teddy (ROBSON GREEN), Bel (POLLY WALKER), Leanne (KELLY HARRISON), Wesley (JAMES MURRAY) - (C) Matchlight Productions - Photographer: Todd Anthony

The past few years have been good to Robson Green.

The veteran actor, 53, has had viewers hooked on his stirring portrayal of gruff inspector, Geordie Keating, in Grantchester; impressed with his death-defying stunts as Lieutenant Colonel Philip Locke in Strike Back; and travelled far and wide in his bid to explore Britain's coastlines for countless documentaries.

He's even managed to capture the nation's attention - including those with zero interest in rods and waders - with his favoured pastime: fishing.

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Busy? Yes. But you won't find Green - dubbed the friendliest man on telly - in a flap over back-to-back schedules.

"There's so many great people I work with who make sure that it's doable - and I've got to a stage in my life where stress is just gone," he says, smiling.

"I'm living in the moment now so everything's fine. I'm not worrying about time or anything like that."

He's not joking.

Tonight, after a day of filming and interviews, the dedicated angler is driving 11 hours to the Isle of Skye for another chapter in his coastal archives.

"I've been there a couple of times," says the Hexham-born star. "Britain's coastline is like no other and [Skye], especially, is an astonishing part of the world. I adore it."

It's one of very few places that "has space", he adds.

"It's being able to be in the freedom..." he explains. "I don't know what it is with places like that, but you have this overwhelming sense of wellbeing and contentment, so I've got that in me now.

"The work comes easier and I'm less stressed!"

The turning point? Entering his sixth decade.

"There was a lot of, 'The world's a bit bleak at the minute'," recalls Green, who is still known to many as one half of Nineties' singing duo, Robson & Jerome.

"You see what's going on in war zones and with children, the refugee crisis and everything...

"Thinking more about that, a few years back there was the very famous picture of the little boy who was being picked up on the Greek beach. He was in a guy's arms and my mum was sobbing," he remembers.

"My mum was like, 'I feel heartily sorry for them' and she was right - that's what's important. This job is just a bonus. So I will not turn up on set not knowing my lines and I will not turn up on set not prepped.

"And that's out of respect for the hard work of my father and mother - and also perspective; there's someone a lot worse off than you."

Next, the father-of-one will appear in BBC One's new six-part drama, Age Before Beauty.

Set in a Manchester beauty salon, the female-led family saga - from Poldark and Cutting It writer Debbie Horsfield - is an exploration of youth, age, instant gratification and long-term relationships. While at its heart lies an unconventional family, rife with sibling rivalries and questionable parenting through the generations.

While the cast includes Sue Johnston, Polly Walker, James Murray, Kelly Harrison and Lisa Riley, to name but a few, Green can be seen in the role of Teddy, who ticks the boxes when it comes to a charming, attractive and successful businessman. But he is also a schemer, with a plan to get what he wants.

It's a complete-180 for the actor, who is the first to admit he's never played a part like it before.

"This character has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, which is a really good thing because you will never learn if you don't do that," he insists.

"At no time have I played sinister in my life; I am not a sinister person so I have never come close to doing things like Teddy does in this series," Green teases.

"You just have to wait for the explosion of traumatic and collective emotional trauma to happen."

So what makes it a standout drama?

"It's rooted in reality," he quickly responds. "You believe it [and] even though the performances could fall into being heightened, they're not.

"[Debbie's] just got a lovely hybrid of comedy, drama and pathos; she caters to all tastes and it's believable that the larger-than-life characters inhabit that environment."

What does he make of the show's tussle with the beauty industry? In order to be loved, do you have to stay young and beautiful?

"This is a cliche that looks are only skin deep and it's what's going on beneath that makes you want to either like or love a person," he says.

"I've got certain friends and I've worked with people who look like they've been shot out of a cannon!

"I'm like, 'My goodness, what on earth were you thinking? You looked in the mirror and thought that worked?'

"I don't believe it when people go, 'Oh well, we're under pressure by society and imagery'. What a load of old s**t!" he cries. "I just think if you have low self-esteem, it's another type of help you need, and it's not cosmetic.

"Just eat less and move more," he suggests. "I mean come on, it's not that difficult. But you are what you are, you know? And if you are what you eat, I can't remember swallowing a legend!" he says, letting out a big laugh.

In great spirits, Green certainly has a spring in his step. It's a temperament he puts down to the joy of waking up and coming to work on a happy TV set.

"Grantchester was like this," he muses, comparing the two dramas.

"I've learnt to adjust to the negative energies as well, [though]" he adds. "You've just got to know how to deal with them because anyone who's got a negative energy, it's more about them, their unhappiness, than anything else.

"There has been times when I've gone, 'Urgh, I'll just do fishing shows!" he confesses. "I can't believe that people can behave like that. Life's too short. Who do you think you are, man? Get some perspective.

"And that's another thing I've got right now," he finishes. "I've got a lot of that at the minute."

Age Before Beauty starts on BBC One on Tuesday, July 31 at 9pm