Robin Stewart sadly passed away in November 2015. He was an active and popular part of the New Haven authors team and is greatly missed by all who came to know him. RIP
Although a lot of people remember me as Mike Abbott from the Bless this House with Sid James, my career started long before then-back in 1957 in fact! Soon after stints in the theatre and films in the US, I was offered the role of Mike Abbott – playing Sid James and Diana Copeland’s son, in Bless This House. I had a wonderful six years on the series, which also allowed me to do other work, including working with Sir Alec Guinness, when he played Charles l and I played his son, Charles II in Cromwell. Tragically, Sid died of a heart attack on stage during one the Bless This House season breaks.
With the TV series no longer in existence, I was suddenly offered an opportunity to go to New Zealand to compere their first telethon, which was for muscular dystrophy. After a bit of negotiation I moved to New Zealand to host the NZ version of Opportunity Knocks. Little did I know it would be only a few years before Australia would beckon in the unlikely form of an invitation from Derek Nimmo to go to the Melbourne Cup. I headed off for Melbourne, and was immediately asked to be on various talk shows, including the Peter Couchman Show and the Mike Walsh Show. That all led to a role on Young Doctors, and soon I was living permanently in Australia. I had the good fortune to be offered the part of Macarthur in the ABC mini-series, The Timeless Land. But it wasn’t long before I had itchy feet again, and while I was on holiday on Magnetic Island in Far North Queensland, I was asked to join the Townsville radio station, 4RR, where I started my own production company, which in turn led to a stint in Cairns as producer for FNQ. I also toured Australia as the lead in Up and Under, a show that had just won the Sir Laurence Olivier Award for best comedy in England. During my years in Australia I had always made sure I had access to horses, and I owned several properties where I’d kept horses, but now I felt it was time to get back to the country, so I bought a rural property near Toowoomba and began to breed Arab horses for endurance. It was an even busier time than usual – I was producing a show called Midweek Live interviewing visiting actors and comedians, including people such as Ronnie Corbett. 1984/85 found me on the Sons & Daughters series for Channel 7 and providing many of the voices for Captain Kookaburra’s Road to Discovery. At the same time a chance came up to be involved in a new venture on the Gold Coast, so I moved closer to New South Wales, and a year later was asked to play Polonius in the Australian Theatre Company production of Hamlet. At the end of this busy period I ended up on a property with my horses in Northern New South Wales, and for some time I concentrated on breeding, training and riding, as well as my writing. I created and promoted a local endurance ride – The Bonalbo Bash. I now live in England and writing has become my passion. My first book is called Being Mike Abbott, about the time I was in the UK TV series and now this wondrous story about the old man and his animals. Writing gives me great pleasure and I hope to have more books out as soon as I can put pen to paper, or text to the ‘puter. It seems like a natural next step in my career…….
All cool and groovie – Robsie x