The first series struck such a chord with viewers when it aired in January 2023. Was Robson surprised by the response?
“When we came up with the concept of bookending the working week by escaping to the great outdoors, we thought we were on to a winner because it’s what a lot of people would like to do at the end of a busy week at work.
“We then made this high-end series with incredible production values and great guests for a ridiculously low amount of money. You would have thought we spent millions on it, but we hadn’t. So I wasn’t surprised when it did well. Then the BBC kept repeating it and repeating it.”
Is there anything different about the latest run?
“It’s better in many respects than the first series, because we were just working out what worked, and what didn’t in that one. What we found worked was doing things that were unusual, and what we get involved in this time is more entertaining, in my view.
“Another difference is that we’ve really gone to town in making the overnight accommodation that we stay in unique, different and surprising.”
You don’t just stay in the North East either do you?
“No, we also go to the Scottish Borders and the Lake District, so we’re moving further outwards. I guess if we do more, that distance would continue to get greater.”
What do you enjoy most about making this show?
“I get to hang out with my mates and my family, which I don’t do much of. I get to hang out with my two sisters, my brother and the man who kind of got me into the outdoors, fishing and immersing myself in nature — my Uncle Matheson. It’s hanging out with people I like to hang out with, basically!”
In the first episode of the new series, you meet up with Kevin Whately. What was that like?
“I knew Kevin as Neville in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and I saw him on stage at the Tyne Theatre in Shakespeare’s ‘Henry VI: Part One’. He was brilliant. He’s a wonderful actor. He didn’t know me then, but he had the voice that inspired myself and other actors like me to give acting a go. He was saying if he can do it, anyone can. You’ve just got to work hard and do the graft. He’s a wonderful actor and what a legend.”
You also meet up with your former Soldier, Soldier co-star Denise Welch?
“I’ve actually known Denise forever, way before she was an actor. Hand on heart, she is one of the funniest people you are likely to come across. She has brilliant comic timing. I’ve known a lot of these guys forever.”
We hear there’s a funny story about getting The A Word’s Lee Ingleby on board…
“I’m such a fan of Lee Ingleby. I’d never tell it to his face but he’s one of my favourite actors. However I genuinely thought he was a Geordie, because his Geordie accent is so good. That’s why I went to him! I didn’t know he was from Burnley!”
Another of your travelling companions is former Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi, who we hear is one of your football heroes. Tell us more!
“I couldn’t believe he said yes! I’ve been watching this guy do extraordinary things on the football pitch for years. He is a genuine legend. His story of coming to the UK from Nigeria and growing up in the North-East is amazing. He loves the area, the people and the outdoors, but not the weather! Spending a weekend with him was a real highlight.”
How do you go about getting the guests on board?
“We have a wish list of people I’ve known and loved over the years. We approach them and ask if they are up for it, and they say ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’. It was quite difficult to pitch the idea to certain people for the first series, but, this time, there were a lot of people who wanted to do it. We had to turn down a few people, sadly.”
Like the first series, the new run sees you discover lots of hidden gems in your homeland…
“When I was a child, it seemed like everyone else went to Spain for their holidays, but we spent a lot of time in the North-East at places like Seahouses or Bamburgh on the Northumbrian coast line. And lucky for us, I say. But there are these beautiful places that, at nearly 60 years old, I never knew existed. When you take the road less travelled, you come across some wonderful surprises!”
Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes – S2 Episode Guide
Episode 1: Monday 1 January 2024
Robson spends time with old friend and actor Kevin Whately. They reminisce about their times growing up in north east England before heading to Alnmouth beach to try their hands at making pictures in the sand at low tide. The pair take to the water when a boat comes in to join a team of sea-going rowers and try their hand at the border pipes.
Later, Robson spends the night in a cabin on a farm at Tughall before attempting the art of willow weaving.
Episode 2: Tuesday 2 January 2024
Robson’s reunited with acting pal Angela Lonsdale on a quest to find relaxation in the Northumberland countryside.
Angela lets Robson introduce her to wild swimming at Sweethope Lough under the watchful eye of Team GB cold-water swimmer Fenwick Ridley, before they head to their refurbished railway carriage accommodation at Wannies Retreat.
To make up for the cold-water shock, Robson has invited a bespoke perfume maker to join them and teach them how to make their own scents. The following day, they take a singing stroll along the North Tyne with local musician Ian Brown and sample laughter yoga.
Episode 3: Wednesday 3 January 2024
Robson is reunited with acting pal Mark Benton for a back-in-time weekend away. The pair leave the horsepower behind for an actual horse-drawn caravan as they pass through the back lanes of the Eden Valley.
In Ullswater, they get a taster session of tai chi on the sandy lakeside and take a trip across the lake on a steamer.
Episode 4: Thursday 4 January 2024
Actor Denise Welch joins Robson for an escape to the Northumbrian countryside she still calls home. They take up paintbrushes in the stunning Allendale countryside and take to the saddle to immerse themselves in the amazing countryside, before trying a sound bath on the moors.
Later, Robson checks into a shepherd’s hut with panoramic views across the Tyne Valley, before taking a lesson in the traditional craft of spinning sheep’s fleece into wool.
Episode 5: Friday 5 January 2024
Robson is joined by his brother David and uncle Matheson for a two-day break on a canal boat in the Yorkshire Dales.
Taking the cross-country route, they marvel at the Ribblehead Viaduct and learn to navigate the Leeds-Liverpool canal, with its locks and swing bridges, in a downpour. After a spot of fishing and family competition, Robson lines up an abseiling challenge for former scaffolder David at the famous Cow and Calf.
Episode 6: Monday 8 January 2024
Robson invites acting friend and fellow Grantchester star Tessa Peake-Jones for a North York Moors weekend away. They take in the simple pleasures of a picnic in the Rosedale Valley, and at Abbey Farm, they make cheese and enjoy outdoor yoga with goats.
Spending the night in a golf ball-shaped geodome, the pair learn to cook around a campfire, and before heading home, go head-to-head in tractors.
Episode 7: Tuesday 9 January 2024
Celebrity chef Kenny Atkinson is Robson’s guest at the picturesque border fishing village of St Abbs. Robson introduces Kenny to a local farm shop to gather ingredients for dinner before taking him on a wildlife watching boat trip to look at the bird colonies living in, and on, the cliffs of St Abb’s Head.
Before Kenny heads back to his kitchen, he shows Robson how to cook the perfect steak using a portable stove. The next day, Robson signs up for a pottery class claimed to help cultivate a sense of well-being.
Episode 8: Wednesday 10 January 2024
Robson is joined by sporting legend Tanni Grey-Thompson in Northumberland’s Kielder Forest. They share a bicycle ride on the shores of Kielder Water, and Tanni takes a leap outside of her comfort zone on an accessible zip wire course before leading Robson onto the water and into a canoe.
Robson also manages to squeeze in a visit to Kielder Observatory to take advantage of some of the best dark skies in Europe and spend the night in a spectacular treehouse.
Episode 9: Thursday 11 January 2024
The actor is joined by his footballing hero, Shola Ameobi – a former striker with Newcastle United. The road trip to Beadnell is the perfect setting for a chat about Shola’s childhood and his career with the city’s famous football club.
Once at Beadnell Bay, Robson challenges this sporting hero to a wing foiling session and lures him inland to an outdoor ballet session. Robson then spends the night in a hand-built hut before meeting up with wildlife photographer Trai Anfield to learn the art of capturing the perfect shot of a bird in flight.
Episode 10: Friday 12 January 2024
Robson’s sisters, Dawn and Joanna, join the actor to share a family mini break in Northumberland.
Robson takes his sisters to sample underwater views by snorkelling in the North Sea at Beadnell before going with them on a sidecar trip around Northumberland. Robson has booked them into a converted narrow boat sitting in the middle of a farm with views of their beloved Northumberland coast.
The family’s love of gardening leads them to Howick Hall and its stunning formal gardens and wildflower meadows. Finally, there’s a boat trip from Amble Harbour with a cruise to Coquet Island to watch the puffins and seals that make these Northumbrian waters their home.
Episode 11: Monday 15 January 2024
Robson is joined by Faye Tozer from Steps as they head inland to the Breamish and Ingram valleys, a lesser-known part of beautiful north west Northumberland. Faye, who moved to the region more than a decade ago, is known for her footwork as a dancer, so Robson thinks he’s found her the perfect activity by introducing her to rock climbing.
Next, they travel to the banks of the River Breamish to enjoy the peace and quiet and take a watercolour class with a local artist. After quieting the mind with their creative pursuits, it’s time to move the body, and Robson surprises a group of local line dancers with his celebrity guest.
After saying goodbye to Faye, Robson makes his way to his overnight accommodation near the village of Branton. The Roundhouse he stays in is inspired by the ancient homes that used to populate this part of Northumberland over 2,000 years ago.
On the final day of his escape, Robson joins local walking guide Dave Harris-Jones for a short hike through the Breamish valley. A picnic at the top of Wether Hill ends the actor’s quest – for now – to feed the mind, body and soul.
Episode 12: Tuesday 16 January 2024
Robson invites Olly Smith, award-winning wine enthusiast and TV personality, to sample a weekend escape in the Scottish Borders.
Hoping to tickle his palette, Robson drives cross country from Newcastle to Jedburgh to show Olly one of his favourite scenic car journeys. Once across the border, Robson leads his guest directly to an alpaca walk before they sample a woodland sound bathing session, visit a badger watching hide and visit the pretty St Mary’s Loch to enjoy lunch on a paddle board.
Episode 13: Wednesday 17 January 2024
Robson meets up with screen star Lee Ingleby in the historic city of Durham before the pair head deep into the Weardale countryside.
The pair sample a forest fitness class in Hamsterley Forest and take control of a Rolls Royce-powered train at the Weardale railway before heading to their digs on a local farm. After a night of listening to nature, they take on a raft-building course in a disused quarry.
Episode 14: Thursday 18 January 2024
Robson invites rugby union legend Sarah Hunter back to her roots in the north east of England.
The pair take a lesson in catching a wave at Warkworth and decorate a plate at an outdoor art lesson. As Sarah heads back to her family, Robson checks into his digs – a tree house surrounded by birds singing in its branches. The next morning, he visits the Hauxley Nature Reserve, located on the site of a former opencast mine, to take a look at some Northumberland bird life.
Episode 15: Friday 19 January 2024
Robson is joined by his Uncle Matheson as the pair head to the Lake District.
Taking the scenic route and Matheson’s four border collies for company, the adventure begins in the gullies and ravines near Honister for some Ghyll scrambling, before they sleep in a yurt, take a lesson in textile art in Buttermere and visit Long Meg and Her Daughters, one of the biggest neolithic stone circles in England.