One hook, one line, one rod. Ask anyone who loves fishing and they’ll tell you that this is all that’s needed for a perfect afternoon in the great outdoors. For British actor and passionate angler Robson Green (Grantchester, Wire In The Blood) however, fishing has also been his anchor through the toughest of times. The same could be said for his good friend and fellow fishing enthusiast, Jim Murray (Primeval) as the two set out on the trip of a lifetime in Robson Green’s Icelandic Adventure.
The three-part series sees Green and Murray on a mission to catch and release the elusive ‘king of fish’, the wild Atlantic salmon. In Iceland, these are not only plentiful but can be more than twice the size of those found in British waters. That being said, hooking one remains a challenge for even the most skilled fisherman.
As Green and Murray travel more than 1600 kilometres across the stunning island, visiting some of its best fly fishing spots over three incredible weeks, they also experience a little slice of Icelandic history and benefit from the knowledge of local fishing experts along the way. There’s a lot to soak in: this is arguably one of the greatest places on earth to fish, after all.
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It’s important to note that Green and Murray are far from amateurs when it comes to fishing. They might have achieved individual success as actors, but it’s their shared passion for angling that unites them more than anything else.
As something of a fly fishing aficionado, Murray encourages Green to get back to basics and perfect this purer form of the sport, but there is a considerable amount of perseverance required in doing so. As Green so poetically puts it, the entire process is “like a dance”, and it’s one that neither of them ever seem to tire of. It’s not hard to see why.
After a slightly rocky start to their journey (it turns out Murray is a bit of a lead foot, which does not please the Icelandic police) they reach their first stop Eldvatn, or the River of Fire, in the country’s south, home to large sea trout and surrounded by stark and beautiful scenery. It’s the ideal place for Green and Murray to wet their lines and prepare for this bucket list road trip that will take them to the base of volcanoes, the edges of glaciers, and the banks of some of the world’s most breathtaking waterways. It really is the ultimate playground.
The quest to hook an Atlantic salmon might be the inspiration for the trip, but so too is the opportunity it provides the pair to showcase the joy that fishing has brought them on a personal level. Both openly share that, in many ways, it was a lifeline at particularly difficult points in their lives.
For Green, his love of fishing was instrumental in restoring his mental health after a long battle with addiction during the height of his fame. In Murray’s case, it helped him through the unimaginable grief of losing his baby daughter. It’s knee deep in the water, rod in hand, waiting for that tug on the line, when these two feel they’re most alive. “Come fishing with me and then you’ll see,” Green reflects. “That’s who Robson Green is.”
Don’t for a second assume that these heart-to-heart conversations do anything to stifle the pair’s signature offbeat banter though; their commentary is a wonderful dialogic exchange filled with self-deprecation and one-upmanship at every turn. Though a fishing documentary might not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, Green and Murray’s infectious love of angling and enthusiasm for this journey in particular make it hard not to get caught up in the emotion and hilarity of it all. Being among the lyrical and evocative backdrop provided by Iceland’s extreme landscapes doesn’t hurt, either!
Above all else, Green and Murray’s friendship is the beating heart of this series. In every moment, there’s a real sense that they’re beyond grateful to share this experience and, in turn, we feel privileged to join them for the ride. It’s a truly unique and uplifting watch that affirms the simple pleasure to be found in casting a line and taking in all that nature has to offer.
Catch 3-part series Robson Green’s Icelandic Adventure on SBS, 7:35pm Fridays, with episodes then available at SBS On Demand. Start with episode 1: