Matthew Robinson (producer)

Matthew Robinson (born 27 July 1944) is a British film & television executive producer, producer, director and writer. He is the older brother of renowned musician and broadcaster Tom Robinson.

Matthew Robinson
Born (1944-07-27) 27 July 1944
OccupationFilm & TV
Producer, Director, Writer
Years active1966–present
TelevisionThe Money Programme
24 Hours (TV series)
Nationwide (TV programme)
Play for Today
Second City Firsts
Howards' Way
Shadow of the Noose
Doctor Who
Coronation Street
Byker Grove
RelativesTom Robinson (Brother)

Early life

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 ”Dirty” Den Watts (Leslie Grantham), Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard), Dot Cotton (June Brown), Nick Cotton (John Altman), Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), Charlie Cotton (Christopher Hancock) and Tony Carpenter (Oscar James).

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.

In 1998 Robinson was appointed EastEnders Executive Producer by Mal Young, BBC Head of Drama Series and Peter Salmon, Controller BBC1.

During his reign EastEnders won the BAFTA for "Best Soap" in consecutive years 1999 and 2000 and many other awards.

Robinson soon earned the additional tabloid soubriquet “Axeman of Albert Square”. He wrote out a large number of characters in one hit, including Sanjay Gapoor (Deepak Verma), Gita Kapoor (Shobu Kapoor), Neelam Kapoor (Jamila Massey), Michael Rose (Russell Floyd), Susan Rose (Tilly Vosburgh), Bruno and Luisa di Marco (Leon Lissek and Stella Tanner), Ruth Fowler (Caroline Paterson), George Palmer (Paul Moriarty) and original character Dr Legg (Leonard Fenton). He later went on to axe others including Tony Hills (Mark Homer), Simon Raymond (Andrew Lynford) and Huw Edwards (Richard Elis), and oversaw the high-profile exits of Tiffany Mitchell (Martine McCutcheon), Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp) and Bianca Butcher (Patsy Palmer).

In their place Robinson introduced new long-running characters including Melanie Healy (Tamzin Outhwaite), Jamie Mitchell (Jack Ryder), Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin), Steve Owen (Martin Kemp) and Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick).

He quit EastEnders in 2000 to serve as Head of Drama for BBC Wales. He was Executive Producer on a BBC Wales production Care that won the Best Single Drama BAFTA Award in 2001.

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 and managed by the BBC World Service Trust. In 2006 after Taste of Life ended its run (at one point gaining an audience of just over 50% of the country's population - then 14 million), he set up a film production company, Khmer Mekong Films, KMF, in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh.

In addition to KMF's numerous TV dramas, documentaries and TV spots, he has produced eight Khmer language feature films, six 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. King Selfie (directed and written by Robinson based on a story by English novelist Matthew Baylis), released in Cambodia in March 2018. A thriller, Fear, was released in July 2019 to critical acclaim but mediocre box office.

The 7th film Move Out (in the popular 'Khmer Ghost Movie' genre) is due for cinema release across Cambodia on 5th December 2019. The 8th feature film is currently in post-production, 360 Degrees, a romantic comedy.

Further shooting on a 9th film is planned in December 2019 to complete Day in the Country, a four-year project about an arranged marriage written and directed by Robinson.

A 10th feature film, Dance Till You Drop, a Bollywood-style movie set in Phnom Penh, starts shooting in January 2020.

Since 2015, Robinson has written a blog on EastEnders fansite Walford Web, sharing anecdotes about his two stints working on the show (1984-87 & 1998-99).

Media offices
Preceded by
Jane Harris
Executive Producer of EastEnders
Succeeded by
John Yorke
Preceded by
Pedr James
BBC Wales Head of Drama
Succeeded by
Julie Gardner
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