The first series of Close and True, a Tyneside-based BBC TV drama starring North East actors Robson Green and James Bolam, finished on Thursday evening. For those who haven't been watching, Green stars as a permanently-stressed lawyer trying to make a go of a struggling practice.
Judging by his grasp of the law, it is little wonder Wor Robson is struggling. In Thursday's episode he was representing a young girl claiming sexual harassment against her employer and promised her he would represent her at an industrial tribunal. Obviously nobody pointed out to him that they are now called EMPLOYMENT tribunals, and have been for a number of years. (Peter Strong/ The Journal)
27 November 2000
Screen star Robson Green's new drama Close and True pulled in eight million viewers for its first episode. ITV chiefs denied they were disappointed with the figures for the six-part legal drama, which also stars James Bolam. The network said Thursday night's drama had beaten its nearest rival, BBC's Holby City, and had pulled in 36% of the total audience at 9pm.
A spokeswoman said: "We are delighted with its performance. It was a very strong start, beating all the competition and reducing Holby City's audience to 5.2 million - its lowest audience ever." (The Journal)
8 November 2000
The new issue of the TV Times tells of a cringe-making moment Robson will remember for years to come...
"It happened while we were doing Close and True. Melanie Hill did an episode and one day we were returning to the caravans when I noticed a man standing outside my Winnebago. I said, 'Melanie, check out that guy - Deliverance (Burt Reynolds film featuring American Deep South in-breds) hasn't got a look in, that man is going to make me squeal like a pig! Just look at his face', and she said, 'That's my Dad!'"
18 October 2000
Robson plans to make a spectacle of himself after discovering he had a sight problem while filming his new ITV drama Close And True. Robson, 35, said: "I found out I was long-sighted when I had a medical before I did some scuba-diving scenes in Malta." I wore glasses as solicitor John Close in the drama but they were only clear glass. But now I've got to get some glasses for real, mainly for reading."
Robson's shed his macho image in Close And True and he keeps his clothes on for a change. The actor who famously bared his bottom in Reckless, and who has appeared in many bedroom scenes, stars as a shy solicitor who has little success with women in the five-parter. He said: "I like to go against the swaggering types I've played before. He's not very good with himself or with women. He looks at his life and sees a failure."
The on-screen change of image has coincided with him becoming a father for the first time. He's blissfully happy with partner Vanya Seager and their son Taylor, five months; "He gives me a love I've never experienced before, it's 100% honest and true. It's made me view the world differently. (Teletext)
8 October 2000
The schoolboy star of movie sensation Billy Elliot, turned his back on Hollywood - for the chance to work with his idol Robson Green. After rave reviews at this summer's Cannes Film Festival the world was 14 year old Jamie Bell's oyster, but instead of jetting off on holiday to the magic of Tinsel town, he flew straight to the set of Robson's new series, Close and True.
The youngster is already tipped as an Oscar winner for his performance as the working class kid with a passion for ballet, but his sights are set on becoming more famous than his fellow Geordie hero, who has paid 1.75 million for the new show. At home in Billingham, Cleveland, Jamie admitted: "Acting's good fun but I don't fancy Hollywood at the moment. Maybe I'll go down to London sometimes but I really want to stay here. The drama is about a murder case, and Robson's a lawyer sorting it out and I play his client's son, who has to give an alibi. I've heard people calling me the new Robson Green because we are both from around here, but I don't know if I will be. I wouldn't mind that kind of money though!" (News of the World)
3 August 2000
Shoppers in Newcastle city centre stopped in their tracks yesterday when they saw TV heart-throb Robson Green. The former Soldier Soldier star, who was born in Dudley, Northumberland, was back on Tyneside finishing filming for his latest drama series, Close and True.In the six-part series, Robson plays a successful lawyer, John Close, who returns to Newcastle to take over a run-down legal aid practice. Filming started in Newcastle back in May before location shoots in London and Malta. Newcastle Crown Court is featured as a backdrop in many scenes and the filming has also taken place elsewhere along the Quayside.
Crowds watched as filming took place in and around the Monument, including one scene where Green, decked out in his beloved Newcastle United strip, ran up Grey Street to join up with other Toon fans. Robson said: "This series is about a young lawyer who comes back to Newcastle to do something that matters. He has spent 10 years of his life as a corporate solicitor but has never felt there was purpose to his work. Now he wants to help the people he grew up with and give them a voice."
The series, which is the third ITV co-production between United Productions and Green's own company, Coastal Productions. Producer Rebecca Keane said: "This is a very distinctive legal series. It tells powerful stories with wit and charm and is a very strong role for Robson." (Newcastle Journal)
1 June 2000
Robson returned to his roots to film a new TV series on Tyneside last week. He will play a successful commercial lawyer in the ITV series Close and True. The series centres on Robson's character, John Close, returning to his home city of Newcastle to take over a rundown legal aid practice.
Hordes of technicians moved into the trendy Quayside area as the cameras began to roll and the Chronicle managed to get a sneak preview of the shoot. Famous North East landmarks featured prominently as backdrops and viewers will be able to spot well known sights such as the Tyne Bridge when the series hits the small screen. Small crowds of Robson fans defied the downpours and gathered in the rain to watch the filming.
Production company chiefs were today keeping details of the new prime-time show under wraps but bosses hope it will prove a huge smash. Naomi Phillipson, spokeswoman for Robson's London production company, United Productions, said the film crews would return to Tyneside to shoot more scenes later this summer. She said: "The drama was to have been called Close and Innocent but that title has now been changed. We have been filming in Newcastle, London and Malta for this new six-part series which will be shown on ITV in the autumn. It's a very powerful role for Robson. We hope the audience will take John Close to their hearts for many years to come."
Other actors appearing alongside the Geordie heart-throb include Brookside's Mark Moraghan and rising young North East actor Jamie Bell. At just 14, he was one of the stars of the Cannes Film Festival after winning a rousing reception for his first film, Dancer, at the French festival last week. (Newcastle Evening Chronicle)
19 May 2000
British television actor Robson Green waded through the green blue sea in Dwejra yesterday, as the film crew tried to steady their cameras in the shallow water. Battling against the strong winds on the cliffs of Dwejra, the crew zoomed in on Green and Maltese actor Ray Attard, who has clinched the part of diving instructor in the British television series Close and Innocent.
Filming of the series, to be aired on ITV in the UK later this year, started in Gozo yesterday and is expected to be wrapped up tomorrow. The scenes being shot in Gozo form part of the opening and closing sequence of the first episode and will portray the island as contemporary Gozo.
Press officer Naomi Philipson, who was on site yesterday morning, said the production companies specifically chose Dwejra because it was known for its "brilliant diving facilities. We are just praying for better weather conditions, because we are not here for a long time. It's a pity that it's so windy," she said.
The series is a co-production between United Productions in association with Coastal Productions, which is owned by Green himself. The two companies had contacted Mediterranean Film Studios about two months ago and MFS resident production manager Malcolm Scerri Ferrante and Malta Film Commissioner Winston Azzopardi met in Gozo to plan things out. The companies were very well equipped and they needed minimal help, but Mr Azzopardi and his people accompanied the crew to Gozo. "We are here to help them coordinate matters. We want to ensure that things run smoothly," Mr Azzopardi said.
Ms Philipson said the presence of the commission made their job much easier, especially when it came to shifting from one location to another. Today the crew will be taking shots of Marsalforn, Xwejni Bay and Mgarr. The series is produced by Rebecca Keane and directed by Renny Rye. Close and Innocent revolves around a business lawyer John Close, played by Green, in Gozo learning how to dive. "But while on holiday, he was summoned back to the UK to help his friend deal with a criminal case," Ms Philipson said.
All in all, the filming of the six-part series will take a total 18 weeks. It is not yet known when it will be aired, though it is expected to hit the screen by the end of the year. (The Times (Malta)/ 10 May 2000 - Courtesy of Ken Jobling (Thanks!))