Environment In the name of the father After exposing his violent dad on Parkinson, Robson Green tells Gavin Docherty about their reconciliation and how art is now imitating life Robson Green's private life has rarely been out of the papers over the past year, caught between the breakdown of his marriage and the revelations that his Page Three girlfriend, Vanya Seager, had become pregnant with his child. Understandably, his mood swings were like uranium Pure Geordie and not born to be a diplomat, he was prone to sudden outbursts of temper that could make the hairs on your neck come to full attention.
But all this tantrum stuff appears to be definitely relegated to the past-tense department. Replaced by this new bloke who looked sharp, talked sharp, and exhibits more calm than a bona fide swami from India. The reason, of course, is his new-found happiness with Vanya and month-old son Taylor.
When talking about them, he positively glows with pride. Which is just as well. Because on the agenda today are the thorny subjects of his unhappy childhood, the effects of his parents' divorce on him when he was 12, and the matter which he describes as ''the nemesis of my life'' - a violent father whom he so unceremoniously outed on the Parkinson TV programme.
Reflecting on his appearance on the show one night last November, Green says: You know - talk to a therapist rather than a TV audience. And there I am with eight million viewers tuning in to me talking about my violent father. It was all right. He said, 'I know I treated you badly, I know I was firm with you'. We had a few drinks and we had it out.
Which was very healthy. I am clear of it. I can talk to him now on any level. I was a compulsive liar when I was a kid. Because everything at home wasn't right. Even as a kid, I was acting. He is sure that when his mum, Anne, began divorce proceedings, there was ''haemorrhaging and guilt'' that went on between his parents that was massive. And this was happening in a little mining village. The solicitor came to the house. Who is this guy with a 'tash and the old suitcase coming in?
My brother and two sisters and me, we were sent upstairs. Were they booking a holiday? Then mum announced it. It was deeply upsetting, their arguments. It is more than a touch masochistic to have just emerged from this much-publicised bust-up of his eight-year marriage to Allison Ogilvie, then having been scandalised by a couple of his affairs, and later he falls in love with Vanya - and to cap it all he promptly co-stars with Beth Goddard in Take Me, Scottish Television's new six-part thriller about a couple who attempt to salvage their failing marriage by joining the swinging couples set.
Freely admitting there are uncomfortably close parallels between himself and Jack Chambers, this venture capitalist son of a shipyard worker who returns to close the Newcastle yard which employs his father who beat him as a child, Green says: Chambers's father was a man of the people, a great union leader. Robson's dad, also called Robson, was a miner and union man who worked down the pits.
The role will surprise the legions of female fans used more used to seeing their idol playing the romantic charmer. But a baddy you care about - now that is interesting. Unfortunately, his colourful private life has masked his professional achievements for which he could be viewed as a role model for inner city kids who struggle to improve their position in life.
Born in a north-eastern mining town, Green, 35, entered the shipyards after leaving school. Starting off as a welder, he became a shipwright and ended his years there as a draughtsman.
Then his burning ambition to be an actor finally paid off when he was rocketed from the rank of amateur to his first shot at fame in Casualty and then Soldier Soldier.
He became the first actor to be signed exclusively to ITV when he signed a 1. Then a second deal, signed for 2m, followed in June last year. He owns the company, Coastal Productions, that makes his TV dramas. Though Green bosses the company, he does not make a single business deal without first consulting his executive producer, Sandra Jobling, who quit her job as his bank manager to become his main fixer.
It was Jobling who was brokering the deal with Bruce Willis's Cheyenne Productions, which has bought the American rights to Touching Evil, and which wants to sign up Robson for work in Hollywood. During filming, the set designers had changed an old Ever Ready battery factory into a TV studio. This thrilled Green, seeing all this activity going on.
There was another scene of him filmed right on top of the roof of the shipyard which his character is closing down. It was interesting, you know; in reality, this is the place that you used to work at and you are now playing a character who is closing it down. There is nothing romantic about a shipyard at all. Even the launch, the work the men used to put in. They are not nice places to work. I never rejoiced getting up and cycling to Wallsend Shipyard.
I was always a clock-watcher. In Newcastle they wanted him to run as mayor. He declined even though his mum thought it was the greatest thing. They also asked him to invest in Newcastle United. But I do enjoy bringing investment back to Newcastle. It's emotionally very rewarding to bring work back there. It's that socialist ideal - creating employment, investing in people. They associate socialism with poverty.
They associate it with struggle. People will say, 'You can afford to say that'. Sure, what is wrong with that? I have worked for it. What is wrong with it. I'll drink bucket-loads of it. It's much better than beer. Though ITV insists he is still one of its more popular acting stars, he has not been immune to the critical batterings that have come along recently, particularly for Blind Ambition, in which he played an athlete competing in the paralympics in Australia but then finds out his wife was unfaithful with his trainer.
I do the best I can. I do feel I was guilty of a couple of programmes that stiffed. I guess that goes with the territory. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Devotion is merely a few mouse-clicks away.
Yet Robson himself says he cannot comprehend the sex symbol tag. She is so glamorous and beautiful. I think, what the hell are you doing with me? I don't see it. With Take Me, he is much less than the clean-cut hero they have come to expect. I was interested in that notion. It deals with the controversial topic of wife-swapping.
Probably the most destructive thing that two people can do to one another. Normal affairs, adultery, however it is found out, I think is more accepted. Swinging is just its own separate culture. I think all the characters are in turmoil, everyone is lost.
Now everything in his personal life is great. He mentions that his dad bought young Taylor a baby-sized Newcastle United kit.