Michael Ellacott is the father of Robin and her three brothers, Stephen, Martin and Jonathan. Michael is married to Linda, and they live in Masham, where they raised their family. He has a chocolate Labrador called Rowntree. (Rowntree is the name of a local company in Yorkshire that produces sweets, including chocolate. Now owned by Nestle, Rowntree created the Kit Kat, Aero, Smarties and Rolo candies.)
The only physical description we have of him in the books mentions that he wears glasses, probably reading glasses, as they’re positioned “halfway down his nose.” 1 We think the actor cast in the role of Michael Ellacott, Paul Butterworth, looks exactly like Robin’s dad should look:
In The Silkworm, Michael sleeps in the living-room armchair while Robin, Matthew and Linda watch a television interview of Michael Fancourt.2
We don’t see much of Robin’s father in Troubled Blood. When Robin’s niece is born, she receives a photo from Linda with Michael beaming at the new baby3, and when Robin is home for Christmas, he asks her if she’s okay after receiving an unwelcome text from Morris.
“‘You all right, love?’ Michael Ellacott asked his daughter.
‘Fine,’ said Robin, crouching to fuss Rowntree to hide her sudden rush of tears. ‘It’s all fine.’” 4
In The Ink Black Heart, Cormoran asks Robin what her father does for a living and she reveals that he is a professor of sheep medicine and the editor of a magazine called Sheep Management. Strike finds this very amusing. Michael chose to study veterinary science at Durham University after his brother inherited the family farm.5
1: The Silkworm, Chapter 32
2: The Silkworm, Chapter 34
3: Troubled Blood, Chapter 23
4: Troubled Blood, Chapter 30
5. The Ink Black Heart, Chapter 1