Robert Lindsay is one of the most recognisable faces to have appeared on British television in recent decades.
Lindsay, who turns 70 next month, is also Derby through-and-through and was born and raised in the Derbyshire town of Ilkeston.
The actor is a lifelong and proud Derby County fan and his voice can be heard on the popular ‘Steve Bloomer’s Watchin’ anthem which is played on matchdays at Pride Park Stadium.
He is, however, best known for his acting skills in front of the camera and on stage.
Lindsay’s Wikipedia page states that he is known for his stage and television work, including appearances with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in musical theatre, and his roles as the narrator on the TV adaptations of the children's television series Brambly Hedge, Wolfie Smith in Citizen Smith, Captain Pellew in Hornblower, and Ben Harper in My Family.
He has impressively also won a BAFTA, a Tony Award, and three Olivier Awards for his work.
For the older generation he is best remembered for his role in Citizen Smith, while those a little younger will undoubtedly know him as a result of his lengthy stint on My Family.
Currently, he is starring in the acclaimed drama Prism at Nottingham's Theatre Royal after a sell-out run at London’s Hampstead Theatre two years ago.
His work commitments, alongside living in London, don’t give him the opportunity to watch the Rams in action too often.
It’s fair to say, though, he will be glued to the action on Saturday as Derby, ironically given his current work location, take on local rivals Nottingham Forest at the City Ground (12:30pm kick-off).
Speaking to RamsTV in an exclusive interview conducted by RamsTV's Lead Presenter Owen Bradley last month, Lindsay said: “I don’t get to see Derby and come up to Pride Park as much as I’d like to, mainly owing to work, but I follow them all the time wherever I am.
“This work, in the theatre right now, isn’t the most convenient for Saturday afternoon’s being free to watch matches.
“The last game I saw live was the Play-Off Final against Aston Villa back in May. I don’t live too far away from Wembley, as it happens. It’s two stops on the train.”
He added: “It’s great when I do go back to see some of the old boys like Roy McFarland and it’s clear how much people love the club, which has a great tradition and history.”
Whenever Derby and Forest lock horns the occasion can provide divided loyalties across many families in the East Midlands.
Lindsay’s family is no different with members of the family supporting either the Rams or the Reds.
He explained: “My home is Ilkeston, on the other side of the Erewash. I am a Derby man through and through, an Ilkeston one actually, but I was educated in Nottingham at Clarendon College.
“You could say there are divided loyalties in the family, as some of them are Forest fans too.”
Lindsay followed in his father Norman’s footsteps by becoming a Derby County supporter.
Norman, who worked as a carpenter for Derbyshire County Council in schools, colleges and hospitals, was also a World War II veteran.
Thinking back to his youth at the Baseball Ground it evokes many happy memories for Lindsay, who in 2016 was given the Freedom of the Borough of Erewash.
“I am a Derby fan because of my dad,” he admitted.
“He was an avid Derby supporter and I remember going to see them for the first time at the Baseball Ground, I must have been about eight.
“I recall the atmosphere was incredible at the Baseball Ground. I can still remember the smell of Burton Ale and fag ends too.
“The beautiful thing is I can picture being lifted up to shoulder height and passed by gentlemen in flat caps to the front. My dad and my uncle would stand at the back, of course, all those of years ago.”
He added: “Dad was friends with Geoff Barrowcliffe, a well-known defender that used to play for the club in the 1950s and 1960s. He also knew Brian Clough quite well.
“He used to run a football club in Ilkeston along with a good friend of his, Bill Walters. Brian used to help them out now and again, presenting trophies and stuff like that.”
Derby moved to Pride Park Stadium in 1997 and Lindsay was proudly in attendance at the official opening ceremony alongside his father.
Despite Lindsay being well-known for his acting work, he wasn’t the one in the spotlight on the day.
“I had the great honour of going to Pride Park with my dad and it was really moving,” he revealed.
“He got a bit carried away and starting walking around the pitch.
“While I was well known for being on the TV, he was well known at the ground and everyone knew him! He was waving to the crowd and everything; it was so funny.”
“Pride Park is so beautiful, and I was proud to be at the opening ceremony, when the Queen was there. I couldn’t believe it. I had a Season Ticket for the first two years at Pride Park and then dad was a bit dodgy on his legs and it was difficult to get up the steps,” he added.
Lindsay has passed on his love of Derby County to his children.
His two sons Samuel and James have taken on the baton, which the father of three takes a great deal of satisfaction in.
They have particularly been impressed with the family atmosphere at Pride Park, having grown up away from the Midlands in London.
He said: “The boys have followed their dad in supporting Derby and I get emotional about it as my dad has passed on now.
“I’ve taken them to Pride Park a few times and the thing they’ve said, which I think is really good from a kids’ point of view, is how good the atmosphere is and how friendly it is too.
“We’ve been to a few London games as well and I have felt it has been what I call over-charged. Perhaps because I am well known, it made the boys feel uneasy. At Derby, though, you never get that.
“It’s lovely what they said and that it’s a family atmosphere. They love supporting Derby and they call me wherever I am after a win or a defeat.”
He added: “We live in London and people don’t greet you in the same way as they do up at home.
“My brother, Andrew, lives in the house my parents lived in and he goes to Derby matches now and again. My sister, and nieces and nephews too, are also in-and-around Derby.”
How did he become involved in ‘Steve Bloomer’s Watchin’?
“It came about because the boys that wrote it, Mark Tewson and Martyn Miller, rang me and asked me to come up and do it,” he explained.
“I took my dad with me to the recording, alongside Jim Smith and the players and he was thrilled to be there.
“I remember around the time we had a run of bad losses and dad said it was down to the song and if we stopped singing it we might win a bit!”
The song was played as part of the pre-match build up to the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final against Aston Villa back in May.
While it wasn’t enough to guide Derby to victory on the day, it remained another proud moment for the 69-year-old.
“When I heard it played at Wembley for the Aston Villa game, my kids just went ‘WOW’! They were either side of me,” he said.
“It was such a buzz. I am getting goosepimples thinking about it and when you do something you feel passionate about, for the club, it’s great.
“I’ve had a few offers to sing it live at Pride Park for a Forest game, but I don’t think it was a good idea given I’d have family in both ends, so I’ve said I would skip doing that one.”
Funnily enough, Lindsay admits he didn’t have his best Derbyshire twang on show for the official recording.
“My boys didn’t actually know about the song and then one of them found it on YouTube,” he said.
“One of my boys, my eldest, said to me: ‘Why are you singing it in a cockney accent?’
“I had a listen back and it was a bit with a cockney accent! I obviously couldn’t get my best Derbyshire one out on the day!”
Lindsay is hoping to have more time to watch his beloved Rams in the future.
He is expecting to stand down from his acting commitments to enjoy more time with his family.
Alongside that, he’s hoping to be a more regular face at Pride Park.
“I think I’m going to hang up my boots this year as an actor,” he said.
“I’ve probably done most of the things I’ve wanted to do in the business. I’m finding it now quite tough with obviously my age and the fact I have three older children, so it’s time I stayed at home a little bit.
“It would be nice to spend some time watching Derby too, get myself another Season Ticket and get up and see the lads.”