Robson Green admits that, although his golden handcuffs deal earlier in his career made him one of the country’s most highly-paid actors, it also signified a far lazier period for him personally.
“I cruised, I was very much in the comfort zone,” he confides of that golden period following ‘Soldier, Soldier’ when you couldn’t turn on the box without Robson's soulful blue eyes staring out at you from a series of contemporary dramas.
“I had a golden handshake with a certain company, and I was being paid very handsomely for it,” he chuckles. “You wouldn’t believe how much I got paid for ‘Soldier Soldier’ after a TV exec drunkenly told me that they couldn’t make it without me. I’ve always been canny, and I immediately thought ‘kerching’.
“And then when I came out of that lazy period, I had to break the shackles. I got an agent, and I asked him to give me something different. He rang me up the next day, and said, ‘Werewolf.’ Which wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
“But that decision to play McNair in ‘Being Human’ sparked off all this whole chain of other roles, that I would not have got during that very smooth period.”
Robson is palpably far happier now in his latest incarnation as quirky detective Geordie Keating in period crime drama ‘Grantchester’.
The ITV drama sees usual leading man Robson giving, or at least, sharing centre stage with another actor, James Norton, who plays the young, shell-shocked vicar in a village full of people still recovering in the decade following World War II. Together, the pair solve a series of crimes of passion, often after the vicar has been the recipient of a secret confidence.
Robson Green is fascinated by the time period, reminding me that “these people were still recovering, they were living in the shadow of death, and grabbing the moment in a way that we might not be able to understand.”
He also has nothing but praise for his telegenic co-star.
“I think James Norton is going to be one of the biggest stars in Britain,” he asserts. He’s going to go on to great things. It’s not a case of if, but when.
“He was asking me for advice. I told him, ‘I can’t give you any.’
“He’s so comfortable, he’s charismatic, so giving. Within two minutes, I fell in love with the guy. He’s bloody talented, and you’re compelled to watch what he does. He knows how to use the lens, and the lens loves him for it.”
'Grantchester' continues on ITV on Monday evenings.