Starring in a drama about a man who dreams of launching a rocket into space is the perfect job for Robson Green. "Rocket Man is about a man who is carrying out a promise he made to his wife before she died that he would send her ashes into space. He promised his son and daughter that he would do it so when they look up at the sky at night they will know their mum is up there. It's also a story of light at the end of the tunnel and never letting go of your dreams, because everyone should have a chance in life. I'm proud to be associated with it- and I also had a great time working with the rockets because I love all that. It's every boy's dream.

"Like George, I build rockets with my son in the shed in my garden. We have just built a stage 3 rocket and we love mucking about there. I let Taylor help me stick things together and I love the fact that he is interested in building things. We let one rocket off and it went sideways, so together we rebuilt it. He is learning all the time and so am I."

Robson also went on a course to learn about rockets and fireworks and now has a Category 4 Fireworks certificate. "George is the closest character to the real me that I've ever played and it's a strong role with lots of potential. I love the writing and I like George. He makes mistakes but he never gives up. It's also good not playing the romantic lead for a change, and I love the comedy that comes through the series. I just think it is all round family viewing of the kind that is hard to get on TV these days. There's not much that Taylor has been able to see of my dramas, but this is one he'll be able to watch."

The drama begins with George's first attempt to send his wife Bethan's ashes into space, a distance of 62 miles. Explains Robson: "George has always been obsessed with the moon and space travel. He used to be an engineer at the Aber Ivor Carriage Works with his mates but when it closed down they had nowhere to exercise their skills. Incredibly skilled craftsmen were effectively put on the scrapheap. Building the rocket is a way of keeping them going. They find they can work together and pool all their skills into getting it into the air."

Filming on location brought back poignant memories for Robson. "We've filmed the series in Newcastle using some talented local and Welsh crews. Some scenes were filmed overlooking the Swan Hunter shipyards in Wallsend. I was there from the age of 16 to 21 and it was very emotional to come back. They are pulling down the shipyards, dismantling the cranes around where we filmed. As a setting, it's very atmospheric. We also filmed at my dad's old colliery, Ellington, which was one of the last to be closed down. My dad was a miner and it was a very tough job, working in dangerous environments. It was strange to be there with a film crew."

His character in Rocket Man pays homage to one of the area's industrial greats, George Stephenson. "Geordies were given the nickname after Stephenson, who built a rocket and also a train called the Puffing Billy. His son Robert built the high level bridge across the Tyne in 1847, which is absolutely beautiful, and his father's train travelled across it. I am a huge fan of engineering and I want Rocket Man to celebrate Stephenson's work and make science popular again."

Launching rockets on the beach were just some of the challenging moments on set. "There is a scene where George goes out to sea to rescue the rocket. I was literally dumped in the middle of the North Sea with the rocket and when I looked around the filming boat had moved off, leaving me bobbing up and down. I just hoped they would come back for me!

"In between scenes I dried out so I had to have a bucket of sea water thrown over me for continuity. It was freezing but it's all part of the glamour of filming! But the special effects scenes with all the flames and sparks were great fun, and we were pretty lucky on the beach launch days, because the weather was good."

Robson went straight from finishing Rocket Man to Manchester to film Northern Lights, a series spin-off from ITV1's festive hit Christmas Lights. He will then return to Newcastle for a fourth series of Wire int he Blood, alongside new co-star Simone Lahbib. One of British TV's best-loved actors, his previous roles include Beaten, Like Father Like Son, Soldier Soldier, Casualty, Unconditional Love, Trust, Touching Evil, Close and True, Blind Ambition, The Last Musketeer, Reckless, Grafters and Take Me.

Says Robson: "I'm probably working too hard at the moment but I feel very lucky to be involved with good scripts and good people. I work long hours but it means that I get to either go home at weekends, or Taylor and my wife Vanya come up to Northumberland, which is very important for us."