Robson gets his name from a family and North Eastern tradition where the oldest son is given a surname for his first name. “Robson” was his grandmother’s maiden name and “Golightly” his great uncle’s surname.
His mum and dad are Anne & Robson (Snr.), two sisters Dawn and Joanna, and brother David.
His nephew, Daymon Britton, is also an actor and director. He has starred in Sky TV’s Dream Team, the BBC’s Byker Grove, supporting roles in some of Robson’s productions as well as appearing at performances at the Live Theatre and the Tyne Theatre & Opera House in Newcastle upon Tyne.
From little acorns
His first school was Dudley Primary when he was 5, laying down his early acting career even at this early stage with his first starring role when he was 8, playing the lead in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
It was at 9, and now at Dudley Middle School, that he was drawn to the spectacle and drama of roaring planes, and wanting to become a pilot for the Red Devils.
He then moved on at 11 to Seaton Burn High School and new interests entered his life. He enjoyed fishing and rafting, and bought a second-hand guitar and practiced until his fingers were sore.
At 15, Robson’s desire to entertain, especially on the stage, led him to the Backworth Drama Centre where the resident director was Max Roberts. Once a week in the evening, he would catch a bus to Backworth and meet his friend Joe Caffrey, another would-be actor from Newcastle.
Robson remembers reading scripts by such talented writers as Alan Plater, Cecil Taylor, Tom Hadaway and Michael Chaplin and began to think in terms of acting as a career possibility.
At 16 he joined the Air Training Corps 861 (Wideopen) Squadron.
Robson was determined not to work down the mines as his dad and granddad had done, and being a keen member of the Air Training Corps, it was either the world of show business or the Royal Air Force.
In 1982, Seaton Burn High School Drama Society soon entrusted him with the starring role in The Pirates of Penzance. He also formed a small band with his pals called Solid State (he would eventually then form another band, with success in the local area and on TV called The Worky Tickets).
At 17, after leaving school and deciding the RAF wasn’t a reality, Robson began his career as a Draughtsman at the Shipbuilders, Swan Hunter, where he worked for three years. He had always wanted to be an actor and didn’t care much for this 9 – 5 lifestyle.
Realising it was now or never, Robson decided to abandon his shipbuilding career and began training at the Live Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he was taken on by Artistic Director, Max Roberts.
Max had previously seen Robson in a school play and had identified his potential.
While at Live Theatre, Robson’s credits included: Your Home in the West, Come Snow Come Blow, The Long Line, Scrap, Kiddars Luck and In Blackberry Time. He has also worked on a York Cycle of Mystery Plays plus A Nightingale Sang with the Northern Stage Company and Bandits with the Shaw Theatre.
TV & music breaks
Robson’s first screen role came in 1988 as Derek in the short story ‘Joyride’, as part of Amber Films Shield Stories series exploring social issues in the North East at that time. His other early television credits include: Hands starring alongside Tim Healy, Voices of War and A Night on the Tyne with Alun Armstrong.
His first big television break came as hospital porter Jimmy in the BBC’s highly successful drama Casualty. He worked on three series before he decided to leave and pursue other roles.
He then landed the role of Private Tucker in Soldier Soldier and met singing partner Jerome Flynn on the way to work in the taxi.
After singing in an episode of Soldier Soldier, Robson and Jerome began their recording career and to date have achieved three No.1s: Unchained Melody, which spent 7 weeks at No.1 with sales of 1.39 million copies, followed by I Believe/Up on the Roof 4 weeks at No.1 (887.000 copies sold) and then What Becomes of the Broken Hearted/Saturday Night at the Movies which was No.1 for 2 weeks.
Music videos released by the partnership have also sold phenomenally well – So Far So Good sold 450,000 copies, while their second release Joking Apart sold 248,000 copies.
Their first album Robson & Jerome secured the biggest advanced order (700,000) of any album or single of 1995, sold 1.84 million copies and was at No.1 for 7 weeks. Their second album Take Two entered the charts in the No.1 slot and sold 1.13 million copies. Need we say more?
Moving on up
In 1995, Robson starred as Rory in Catherine Cookson’s The Gambling Man, a tale of intrigue and infidelity set in 19th century Tyneside.
As his career developed, Robson channelled his energies into creating his own production company, Coastal Productions. Coastal produced The Beautiful Game at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle upon Tyne, as well as co-producing the last Robson & Jerome music video Take Two.
During 1996, Robson along with Coastal Productions and Clapp Trapp Productions (a company he set up with fellow actor Jerome Flynn, Director Norman Stone and Producer Peter Bigg) co-produced Ain’t Misbehavin’, a musical comedy set during World War Two.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ was screened by the ITV Network in 1997.
The rest, as they say, is history… but check out the complete filmography.
Marriage to Alison Ogilvie
In 1989, Robson was 24 when he met Alison through his close friend, television director Andrew Gunn.
Although they both liked each other from their first ‘blind date’, they took their time building the relationship, and a year later bought their own place together in Tynemouth on the North East coast.
They married on 22nd June 1991 at St. George’s Church in Alison’s hometown of Ashington. Joe Caffrey was his best man.
In 1996, as Robson was becoming more well known, they moved to the small village of Thropton, near Rothbury in Northumberland.
They divorced in 1999, after eight years of marriage.
Marriage to Vanya Seager
Robson first met Vanya while she was Simon Cowell’s secretary, and he was recording Unchained Melody with Jerome Flynn.
Vanya was born in Hong Kong and pursued a career in modelling, becoming a glamourous ‘Page 3’ star in the The Sun, a UK tabloid newspaper. She was twice voted ‘Girl Of The Year’ in the 1970s and has also played in the James Bond movie ‘For Your Eyes Only’.
Robson had only recently divorced from Alison and didn’t feel ready for a new relationship, so it wasn’t until a second ask from Vanya before he agreed. They dated in secret at first, and soon after she becomes pregnant.
Vanya gave birth to Taylor Robson Green on 29th April 2000. The couple married the following year on 10th March 2001. The lavish ceremony took place at Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire, and honeymooned in Mauritius.
The whole family moved to Surrey, but unfortunately, not for long. Robson’s hectic work schedule meant he was often absent for several months, and he also revealed his wife’s reluctance to settle in Northumberland.
They both lived separately after their separation was announced on 30th October 2011, and the divorce was officially declared on 29th October 2013. Father and son are extremely close, which is essential for Robson.
Robson returned to live in Hexham, Northumberland, and since April 2016 is living with his partner Zoila Short.