Matthew Robinson (producer)
27 July 1944|
Paddington, London, England, UK
Film & TV|
Producer, Director, Writer
The Money Programme|
24 Hours (TV series)
Nationwide (TV programme)
Play for Today
Second City Firsts
Shadow of the Noose
|Relatives||Tom Robinson (Brother)|
Matthew Robinson (born 27 July 1944) is a British film & television executive producer, producer, director and writer. He is the older brother of musician, broadcaster and gay rights activist Tom Robinson.
Robinson was educated at Huntingdon Grammar School (1955-58), Friends School in Saffron Walden (1958–63) and King's College, Cambridge (1963–66) studying economics and editing Cambridge University student newspaper Varsity (Cambridge).
His first job in television (1966) was researcher on the weekly consumer affairs programme On the Braden Beat made by ATV, Associated Television. He started directing in BBC Current Affairs (1969–73) on The Money Programme, 24 Hours and Nationwide. This was followed by many hundreds of episodes of popular TV drama including Coronation Street, Brookside, Angels, Emmerdale, Bergerac, Howard's Way and two Doctor Who adventures broadcast in 1984 and 1985 (Resurrection of the Daleks and Attack of the Cybermen). Under pseudonym Henry Seaton he wrote 30 episodes of Central TV's Crossroads in 1986. Writing work also included two plays about television - Did Anyone Else Think TK9 Was Brilliant? and SUDS - staged in two London Fringe theatres in 1981 and 1983.
Nicknamed Pope of Soap by UK tabloid The Sun, Robinson was lead director of BBC1's soap opera EastEnders when it launched in 1985. His early casting included actors for the iconic characters Den Watts (Dirty Den), Pauline Fowler, Dot Cotton, Nick Cotton, Ian Beale, Charlie Cotton, Tony Carpenter.
From 1989-97 Robinson set up, produced and part-directed the BBC's Newcastle-based teenage drama serial Byker Grove. He cast Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly as young heroes P.J. and Duncan and in 1993 launched their post-Byker Grove careers. Now known as Ant & Dec they are the UK's foremost light entertainment act. Byker Grove ran continuously for 17 years until it was axed in 2006.
During his reign EastEnders won the BAFTA for "Best Soap" in consecutive years 1999 & 2000 and many other awards.
Robinson soon earned the additional tabloid soubriquet Axeman of Albert Square. He'd sacked a large number of actors in one hit including those playing Sanjay Kapoor, Gita Kapoor, Neelam Kapoor, Michael Rose, Susan Rose, Bruno di Marco, Luisa di Marco, Ruth Fowler and George Palmer. He later went on to axe others including Tony Hills, Simon Raymond and Huw Edwards.
In May 2003, Robinson left the UK for Cambodia to devise and produce a HIV health-related TV drama. The 100 episodes of Taste of Life - broadcast on the main entertainment channel, TV5, repeated on the state channel TVK - were financed by the British Government through DFID managed by the BBC World Service Trust. In 2006, after Taste of Life ended its run, he set up a film production company, Khmer Mekong Films, KMF, operating from Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh.
In addition to KMF's numerous TV dramas, documentaries and TV Spots, he has produced five Khmer language feature films, four released on the Cambodian cinema circuit - Staying Single When 2007, Palace of Dreams 2008 (for BBC World Service Trust), Vanished 2009 and Price of Love 2016 (directed & written by Robinson based on an original story by BBC Script Producer Stuart Cheetham). Price of Love won four top awards at the 5th Cambodian National Film Festival (2017) including Best Film and Best Actress. A sixth movie, King Selfie (directed & written by Robinson based on a story by English novelist Matthew Baylis), was filmed in June & July 2017 and released in cinemas across Cambodia on 29 March 2018.
- Khmer Mekong Films
- Taste of Life
- The Sun's "Pope of Soap" article 18 July 1998
- Matthew Robinson on IMDb
| Executive Producer of EastEnders
| BBC Wales Head of Drama