The secret of my success: Tony Robinson

Tony Robinson played Baldrick in Blackadder and the Sheriff of Nottingham in Maid Marian and her Merry Men, which he also wrote. He is also the author of 16 children's books. His latest series, Time Team, features a three-day live dig this weekend.

Survival above all has helped me on the road to success, and it started aged 12 with my first job as one of Fagin's gang in Oliver Twist. One day the boy playing the Artful Dodger bunked off and I was asked to replace him. After grabbing this opportunity I ended up in West End theatre and films.

At 17, I went to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and did three years of bumming round from community to fringe theatre.

The part of Baldrick was offered to me because every comic actor had turned it down. My career took off in an extraordinary way after that.

I love storytelling and writing, and I ended up writing and performing in Maid Marian. Richard Curtis taught me a lot about writing and I admire his determination in setting up Comic Relief. I found making and presenting documentaries for Comic Relief in Africa very rewarding. I also enjoy presenting, which thanks to my archaeologist friend Mick Aston I've been able to do on Time Team.

Having success later in life has given me a perspective on the things that are important. If it all packed up tomorrow I could go on to do something else and it wouldn't bother me.

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