Kate Robbins

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Kate Robbins
Kate Robbins (2011)
Kate Elizabeth Robbins

(1958-08-21) 21 August 1958 (age 65)[1]
Margate, Kent, England[2]
Occupation(s)Actress, comedian, singer, songwriter
Years active1978–present
Keith Atack
(m. 1987; div. 2007)
Children3, including Emily Atack
RelativesTed Robbins (grandfather)
Paul McCartney (first cousin once removed)
Ted Robbins (brother)
Amy Robbins (sister)
Musical career
GenresPop, electronica
Occupation(s)Actress, musician, comedian, singer
Instrument(s)Vocals, piano, keyboards
Years active1978–present
Double Art
International Artists
WebsiteKate Robbins' website

Kate Elizabeth Robbins (born 21 August 1958) is an English actress, singer, and songwriter. She came to prominence in the early 1980s when she scored a top ten single on the UK Official Charts with "More Than in Love", while she was appearing in the television soap opera Crossroads. She went on to become a prolific voice actress, most notably for nine years with the satirical show Spitting Image.

Early life[edit]

Robbins is the older sister of fellow actress Amy Robbins, sculptor Jane Robbins, and The Sheilas singer Emma Robbins. Her older brother is radio broadcaster and actor Ted Robbins. Through her sister Emma she was the sister-in-law of Simon Shelton and through her sister Amy she is the sister-in-law of actor Robert Daws.

Her father was Mike Robbins, who grew up in Hightown, Wrexham, the son of Ted, who served as the secretary of the Football Association of Wales for more than 35 years.[3]

She attended Wirral Grammar School for Girls in Bebington, Cheshire.

Robbins is a first cousin once removed of Paul McCartney as her mother Elizabeth "Bett" Robbins (née Danher) was McCartney's cousin. In 1960, McCartney and John Lennon performed as "The Nerk Twins" at the Fox and Hounds pub in Caversham, Reading, which was run by Bett and her husband Mike.[4][5]


Robbins' first released recording, in 1978, was the song Tomorrow, from the musical Annie. Robbins' first chart appearance was as a backing singer, along with her sister Jane, on the minor Top 40 hit "Lines" by Liverpool group Planets,[6] a spin-off from Deaf School.

Her profile was raised soon afterwards when both she and Jane represented the United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 1980 as part of the group Prima Donna. They finished third.

The following year, Robbins joined the cast of the ITV soap opera Crossroads, playing the part of a pop singer who was recording a single in the fictional motel's basement recording studio. The song, "More Than in Love", was released commercially in the UK, credited as Kate Robbins and Beyond and gave Robbins a major hit single, reaching number 2 in the UK Singles Chart.[7] It was her only lead-vocal hit.

In late 1982, Robbins provided backing vocals on the Top 3 single Story of the Blues by Wah!.

Robbins wrote the first theme tune to Surprise, Surprise performed by Cilla Black.

She provided almost all the female voices on the television show Spitting Image in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She sang the lead vocals on "The Chicken Song" with Michael Fenton Stevens which reached number 1 in 1986.[8]

The 1986 Granada Television sketch show Robbins featured Kate, her brother Ted Robbins, and her sisters Amy Robbins, Jane Robbins and Emma Robbins.

She participated in the 1989 Children's Royal Variety Performance BBC, singing her own comic songs at the piano, and featured in the original series of Dead Ringers on BBC Radio 4 in 2000.

In 1995, Robbins provided all of the voices, including the male ones, in the children's television series The Caribou Kitchen.

During the 1990s, Robbins performed a number of different roles as both an impersonator and a singer in the BBC Radio 4 satirical comedy series A Look Back at the Nineties and its sequel series A Look Back at the Future.

Robbins also provided the English language dubbing for Europeans, featured on the Channel 4 series Eurotrash and, in 2006, made two appearances on the BBC Radio 4 programme Just a Minute.

In 2007, Robbins was awarded an Honorary Bachelor of Arts degree from Bedfordshire University, for her lifetime contribution to the Performing Arts.

In December 2010, Robbins released her third album, a jazz based affair, entitled Soho Nights, which was written as a collaboration with the Italian saxophonist Alessandro Tomei, and recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Robbins also co-wrote the easy listening album We're Just Passing Through[9] with broadcaster and journalist Nicky Campbell, which was released in 2014.

Robbins was one of the Grumpy Old Women tour in 2014 with comedian Jenny Eclair and actress Susie Blake which toured again in 2015.

Film and television work[edit]

Robbins has acted in many feature films.

She was named Best Supporting Actress at the Angel Awards of the Monaco International Film Festival, for her role as Kathleen in the low-budget British film, Fated.

In 2005, she played Joan in Sex Lives of the Potato Men.

The following year she appeared with James Franco and Jean Reno in the film Flyboys, playing the role of Clarisse, a brothel Madame.

In the comedy Lunchbox she starred as man-hungry teacher, Suzanne.

She also starred in Farrena Films' comedy-thriller short movie The Other Side With Valerie Hope.

Robbins appeared in two series of the comedy series Dinnerladies, playing the character Babs, a friend of Petula Gordeno, played by Julie Walters, BBC.

Robbins later appeared with the sitcom's writer Victoria Wood in the Christmas special Victoria Wood with All the Trimmings and Victoria Wood's Big Fat Documentary.

Alongside daughter Emily Atack, Robbins appeared on Celebrity Gogglebox and is a regular contributor on Steph's Packed Lunch for Channel 4.

Robbins has worked on many comedy and drama TV shows including:

Last of the Summer Wine (BBC), Heartbeat (ITV), The Harry Enfield Show (BBC), Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights (Channel 4), Shooting Stars (BBC), Holby City (BBC), Where the Heart Is (ITV - 2 seasons), Doctors (BBC), Casualty (BBC), Citizen Khan (BBC), The Legend of Dick and Dom (BBC), Soapington Way (ITV -written by Harry Hill), EastEnders (BBC - character of Jen Glover 2021), Mandy (BBC - character of Joan McDonald), After Life (Netflix - character of Penny Spencer-Wright, Season 3)

Robbins can also be heard as a voice-over artist on many commercials.

She was the Edith Piaf soundalike on a lager advert. She was the 'Doris Day' voice in a Waitrose commercial. Her singing can be heard on television advertisements for Clover, Debenhams, First Choice Holidays and many more. She also recorded the Capital Radio jingle package for Sue Manning Productions.[citation needed]

She also played The Singing Ring in the mini-series The 10th Kingdom, which aired in 2000.



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Bullseye! The Queen (voice)
1995 The Band Parts Blossom Short film
2000 Ogri Mitzi (voice) Short film
2003 16 Years of Alcohol Fighting Couple Woman
2004 Sex Lives of the Potato Men Joan
Boo, Zino & the Snurks Female Gayan / Valerie (voice) English version
2005 MirrorMask Female Giant / Mrs. Shoe-Thing / Chicken
2006 Flyboys Clarise
Fated Kathleen
2017 The Legend of Kung Funk Natalie Short film
2018 The Other Side with Valerie Hope Valerie Hope Short film
2022 Road Trip Mother Short film
A Last Resort Rose Short film


Year Title Role Notes
1980–1981 Crossroads: Kings Oak Kate Loring 11 episodes
1982 Mike Yarwood in Persons Impressionist (various) 1 episode
1986 Saturday Live Cilla Black, Sarah Ferguson Recurring roles (3 episodes)
1986–1996 Spitting Image Various (voice) Regular roles (93 episodes)
1987 Spitting Image: The Ronnie and Nancy Show Nancy Reagan (voice) TV film
Kate and Ted’s Show Various characters Regular roles (7 episodes)
1988 The Kate Robbins Show Regular roles (6 episodes)
1989–1990 Round the Bend! Jemimah Wellington-Green / Various (voice) Regular roles (18 episodes)
1989–1991 The Staggering Stories of Ferdinand de Bargos Various (voice) 11 episodes
1990 Wicked Willie Voice role TV film
1991 Wicked Willie Rides Again! Video film
1992 Fiddley Foodle Bird 13 episodes
Pallas 1 episode: "Pallas 2"
Red Dwarf Woman in Film (voice) 1 episode: "Holoship" (uncredited role)
Harry Enfield's Television Programme Cilla Black 1 episode
Sean's Show 1 episode: "Blind Date"
My Little Pony Tales Additional voices 1 episode: "Princess Problems"
1993 Comedy Playhouse Bella White 1 episode: "Once in a Lifetime"
The Comic Strip Presents... Nurse Larkin 1 episode: "Gregory: Diary of a Nutcase"
Dizzy Heights Madame Visniskaye 1 episode: "A Star is Bored"
KYTV Truddles 1 episode: "Those Sexciting '60s"
Thatcherworld Voice role TV film
Last of the Summer Wine Gypsy Girl 1 episode: "There Are Gypsies at the Bottom of Our Garden"
Drop the Dead Donkey Princess Anne (voice) Series 3, 1 episode: "Awards"
1993–2001 Numbertime Mama (voice) Regular role (68 episodes)
1995–1997 The Caribou Kitchen Narrator / All character voices Regular role (4 series; 52 episodes)
1996 Jack and Jeremy's Real Lives Pam Ayres (voice) 1 episode: "Writers"
Drop the Dead Donkey Sarah, Duchess of York (voice) Series 5, 1 episode: "George's Car"
The Willows in Winter Voice role TV film
Bimble’s Bucket 1 episode: "The Beginning"
1997 Alas Smith & Jones Various roles 1 episode: "Hookers."
Animal Madness TV film
1998 Archibald the Koala Voice role 1 episode: "The Dragon"
The National Lottery Big Ticket Bernie (voice) Regular role (16 episodes)
You Are Here Rita Cohen TV film
1998–1999 Dinnerladies Babs Recurring role (2 episodes: "Party" and "Holidays")
1999 Mimi and Mr. Bobo Voice role 1 episode
1999–2000 The Big Knights Sorceress Abigail / Aunt Iris (voices) Regular roles (13 episodes)
2000 The 10th Kingdom Singing Ring (voice) Recurring roles (2 episodes)
Where the Heart is Angela Taylor Series 4, 1 episode: "A Good Day"
2001 Beverley Garton Series 5, 1 episode: "Temptation"
2001–2003 El Nombre Mama (voice) Regular role (26 episodes)
2002 Phoenix Nights Ladies Night Organiser 1 episode: "Ladies' Night"
Holby City Leslie Harris Series 4, 1 episode: "Design for Living"
2003–2005 Monkey Dust Various characters 18 episodes
2004 The Impressionable Jon Culshaw Various characters 4 episodes
Doctors Sheila Lovatt Series 6, 1 episode: "Wild, Wild West Midlands"
2006 Heartbeat Sheryl Cooper 1 episode: "Wine and Roses"
2007 Touch Me, I'm Karen Taylor Prime Minister’s Aide Recurring role (4 episodes)
2008 Doctors Marylin Harvey Series 10, 1 episode: "The Hex"
Ruddy Hell! It's Harry and Paul Various roles 1 episode
2009 Casualty Jackie 1 episode: "Not Over 'Til the Fat Lady Sings"
The Legend of Dick and Dom Baroness Clap Series 1, 1 episode: "Hairwolf"
2010 Dana Series 2, 1 episode: "Haunted"
2011 In with the Flynns Jackie 1 episode: "Guitar"
The Slammer Blue Fairy 1 episode: "Angry Puppet"
2012 Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Miss Jolly 2 episodes: "Mrs. Witch's Spring Clean" and "The Dwarf Mine"
2014 Citizen Khan Nail Bar Technician 1 episode: "Stags and Hens"
2017 Holby City Stella Clark Series 19, 1 episode: "Daylight"
Haters Back Off! Nurse #2 1 episode: "Modelling at the Hospital"
2019 Hold the Sunset Mrs. Brown 1 episode: "The Sale"
2020–2022 The Emily Atack Show Various characters 4 episodes
2021 EastEnders Jen Glover Recurring role (5 episodes)
2022 Mandy Joan MacDonald 1 episode: "Holiday for One"
After Life Penny Spencer-Wright Recurring role (3 episodes)
The Walk-In Robbie's Mum 1 episode
It's What She Would Have Wanted Annie's Mum TV film
Midsomer Murders Lyra Kaine 1 episode: "The Blacktrees Prophecy"
2023 Silent Witness Bev 1 episode: "Familiar Faces - Part 2"
Unforgotten Kate 5 episodes
The Couple Next Door Jean 6 episodes
The Good Ship Murder Vida Devine 1 episode: "Malta"
2024 Death in Paradise Lucky Clayborn Series 13, 1 episode

Theatre Credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2008 Songs from the Pool Various Gilded Balloon (Edinburgh Fringe)
2014 Grumpy Old Women Grumpy Old Woman UK Tour
2015 Grumpy Old Women Grumpy Old Woman UK Tour
2019 Club Tropicana Consuela UK Tour


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Dead Ringers Various 2 Episodes (BBC Radio 4)

Personal life[edit]

Robbins divorced musician Keith Atack in 2007 after 19 years of marriage. The couple had three children: actress Emily Atack (born 1989); Martha Atack (born 1991), a Talent Director; and George Atack (born 1992), a musician and TV researcher.

UK discography[edit]


  • 1978 "Tomorrow" (Anchor)
  • 1980 "Love Enough for Two" (Ariola) (with Prima Donna) UK No. 48[10]
  • 1980 "Just Got to be You" (Ariola) (with Prima Donna)[11]
  • 1981 "More Than in Love (RCA) UK No. 2[10]
  • 1981 "I Want You Back" (RCA)
  • 1981 "Run Wild" (RCA)
  • 1983 "The Real Me" (RCA)
  • 1983 "That First Love"
  • 1986 "The Chicken Song" (Lead female vocal)
  • 1988 "If You Wanna Help Somebody"


  • 1981 Kate Robbins (RCA)
  • 2008 Songs from the Pool
  • 2010 Soho Nights
  • 2014 We're Just Passing Through (Long Lunch Music)


  • The Beano Video - Neighbour's Wife
  • The Beano Videostars - Nurse
  • Discworld (Video Game) - Various Characters


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Kate Robbins". Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. Archived from the original on 26 October 2008.
  3. ^ "Disgusting, immoral and sickening". Wrexham Evening Leader. 22 November 2004. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Live: Fox And Hounds, Caversham". The Beatles Bible. 24 April 1960.
  5. ^ "McCartney family tree". Famechain.com.
  6. ^ "PLANETS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com.
  7. ^ Kate Robbins And Beyond – More Than in Love Chart Stats
  8. ^ Bailey, Charlotte (8 August 2008). "Edinburgh Festival: John Bishop and Kate Robbins". Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012.
  9. ^ "We're Just Passing Through - Kate Robbins & Nicky Campbell". Archived from the original on 10 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  10. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 465. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  11. ^ "Prima Donna Discography - All Countries - 45cat". 45cat.com.

External links[edit]