Kate Robbins (born 21 August 1958 in Margate, Kent) is an English actress, comedian, singer and songwriter. She came to prominence in the early 1980s when she scored a No.2 hit on the UK Charts with the song "More Than in Love", while she was appearing in the TV soap opera Crossroads. She went on to become a prolific voice actress, most notably for nine years with the satirical show Spitting Image.
Robbins is a first cousin once removed of Paul McCartney and older sister of fellow actress Amy Robbins (her mother and McCartney were first cousins). She attended Wirral Grammar School for Girls and won the Drama Prizes each year, notably with her monologue "All this glitters is not gold". Her first released recording, in 1978, was of the song "Tomorrow", owned by McCartney's music publishing company, from the musical Annie. Robbins' first chart appearance was as a backing singer, along with her sister Jane, on the minor Top 75 hit "Lines" by Liverpool group the Planets, 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. It was her only hit. The backing group Beyond had taken part in the UK's Song for Europe contest earlier in the year, losing to Bucks Fizz. In late 1982, Robbins provided backing vocals on the Top 3 single "Story of the Blues" by Wah!, but was replaced for the band's Top of the Pops appearance by London soul trio Sylvia and the Sapphires.
Robbins wrote the first theme tune to Surprise, Surprise and provided almost all of the female voices on the television show Spitting Image in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The 1986 Granada Television sketch show Robbins featured Kate, her brother Ted Robbins, and her sisters Amy Robbins, Jane Robbins and Emma Robbins, the last now best known as one of the singers with the Sheilas.
She participated in the 1989 Children's Royal Variety Performance on BBC TV, 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 did all of the voices, including the male ones, on the children's television series Caribou Kitchen.
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.
Robbins was amicably divorced from musician Keith Atack in 2008 after 19 years of marriage. Her three children are Emily Atack (Actress in The Inbetweeners) - born 1989, Martha Atack (PR Consultant) - born 1991 and George Atack (Musician and TV Researcher) - born 1992.
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 well-received easy listening album We're Just Passing Through with Broadcaster/Journalist Nicky Campbell, which was released in 2014.
Robbins was one of the Grumpy Old Women for a sell-out tour in 2014 with comedian Jenny Eclair and actress Susie Blake.
Robbins appeared in British Sitcom Citizen Khan in December 2014 and is due to tour with Grumpy Old Women again during Spring 2015.
Film and television work
Robbins acted in 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 alongside Johnny Vegas in Sex Lives of the Potato Men. In 2006 she appeared with James Franco and Jean Reno in the film Flyboys playing the role of Clarisse, a brothel Madame. She has been cast in the comedy film Lunchbox as a man-hungry teacher called Suzanne.
Robbins appeared in two series of the BBC Television comedy series dinnerladies, playing the character 'Babs' a friend of 'Petula Gordino' played by Julie Walters. Robbins later appeared with the sitcom's writer Victoria Wood in the BBC TV special Victoria Wood with All the Trimmings.
Robbins has worked on many comedy TV shows including Last of the Summer Wine, Heartbeat (Series 15 episode 'Wine & Roses', first shown in 2006), The Harry Enfield Show, Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights and Shooting Stars. She has also appeared in Holby City, two series of Where the Heart Is, Doctors and Casualty. She is currently working on the second series of The Legend of Dick and Dom for BBC One and worked on Soapington Way in 2010, which was written by Harry Hill.
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 on a Waitrose supermarket 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.
She also played the singing ring in the mini series The 10th Kingdom, which aired in 2000.
- 1978 "Tomorrow" (Anchor)
- 1980 "Love Enough for Two" (Ariola) (with Prima Donna) UK No.48
- 1980 "Just Got to be You" (Ariola) (with Prima Donna)
- 1981 "More Than in Love (RCA) UK No. 2
- 1981 "I Want You Back" (RCA)
- 1981 "Run Wild" (RCA)
- 1983 "The Real Me" (RCA)
- 1983 "That First Love" (Bright)
- 1988 "If You Wanna Help Somebody" (Bright)
- 1981 Kate Robbins (RCA)
- 2008 Songs from the Pool (Double Art)
- 2010 Soho Nights (International Artists Management)
- 2014 We're Just Passing Through (Long Lunch Music)
- ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 465. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- 45cat – Prima Donna