Ross Kemp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ross Kemp
Ross Kemp 2015.JPG
Ross Kemp during Extreme World filming.
Born Ross James Kemp
(1964-07-21) 21 July 1964 (age 51)
Barking, Essex, England
Occupation Documentary maker, Television presenter, Journalist, Author, Actor
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Rebekah Wade (m. 200209) (divorced)[1]
Renee O'Brien (m. 2012)
Children 2

Ross James Kemp (born 21 July 1964) is an English actor, author and BAFTA award-winning investigative journalist who rose to prominence in the role of Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Since 2006, Kemp has received international recognition as an investigative journalist for his critically acclaimed and award-winning documentary series.

Acting career[edit]

Early career[edit]

After training at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art Kemp received his equity card appearing at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea alongside actors John Thaw and Richard Wilson (Scottish actor). Other roles included, for example, Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom) training films and Graham Lodsworth in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale Farm (now Emmerdale). He then made guest appearances in episodes of London's Burning and Birds of a Feather. He was in a film called Playing Away in 1987 in a minor role alongside Neil Morrissey.[2]


His most famous role to date is that of hardman Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Kemp made his debut in February 1990. On-screen, Kemp, as Grant, was often at the centre of EastEnders' plots, amongst them abusive marriages to Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) and Tiffany Mitchell (Martine McCutcheon), and the "Sharongate" storyline, that saw Grant's brother Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) conduct an affair with his wife.

Kemp announced in April 1999 that he would be leaving the soap later that year after nearly a decade. His exit was aired in October 1999 when his character moved to Brazil after surviving a car crash. Kemp refused to rule out an eventual return to EastEnders, and various media reports over the next few years speculated that he would be returning to the series at some stage. In early 2005, the BBC confirmed that Kemp would be returning to EastEnders later that year after six years away. It was co-star Barbara Windsor who convinced him to go back for a brief period.[3] His first comeback lasted just a few weeks from the late autumn of 2005, but he returned for a period of three months in 2006, before departing once again in June that year. BBC bosses have left Kemp's role open for a possible future return. Kemp has won various awards for his portrayal of Grant.[4]

In December 2008, Barbara Windsor, Kemp's onscreen mother Peggy publicly called for Kemp to return to the role of Grant. In September 2009, Steve McFadden (Phil) and Danniella Westbrook (Sam), Kemp's onscreen siblings, also expressed their desire to have him back on the show.[5] Kemp has not ruled out returning to the soap again, but he said a return would not be any time soon. As of 2015, it is now nine years since his last appearance in EastEnders.

In September 2015, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, Executive Producer, EastEnders told the Radio Times TV Festival that he would "never say never" about a comeback for Grant Mitchell[6] and in January 2016 it was confirmed that Kemp would make a brief return to the show.[7]

On 17 January 2016, it was announced that Grant would return to the show for the death of his mother, Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor).

Other roles[edit]

Following his initial departure from EastEnders, Kemp moved from the BBC to ITV for a reported £1.2 million two-year deal.[8] Kemp's first role for ITV was in Hero of the Hour. During its filming, on 27 October 1999, Kemp required hospital treatment after being shot in the face when a stunt went wrong. He suffered cuts to his chest and face after safety glass shattered, and was also hit in the face by the discharge from a blank round. He was treated at the scene by paramedics, but made a full recovery.

He also starred as the lead in ITV's Christmas edition of A Christmas Carol. He took the lead roles in the television series, Without Motive and In Defence in 2000, and in 2002's Ultimate Force, where he took the role of Army Staff sergeant Henry Garvie from the British Special Air Service. He continued to appear in this role until 2006. He also gained the role of "Cirra" in the 2004 TV film, Spartacus.

In 2005, Kemp appeared in an episode of BBC's Extras and in a two-part adaptation of the Gerald Seymour novel A Line in the Sand for ITV, and he has also presented, on The Friday Night Project and appeared as a stand in host on The Paul O'Grady Show (2007; 2008).

Kemp appeared in the 4th episode of Series 14 of BBC's motoring show Top Gear. He was the "Man in Boot" of a Renault Twingo Sport being tested by Jeremy Clarkson. The test ended with Clarkson driving the car off the quayside of Belfast Harbour, after which Clarkson joked that Kemp was killed.[9]

Investigative journalism[edit]

Ross Kemp on Gangs[edit]

Main article: Ross Kemp on Gangs

The award-winning TV series Ross Kemp on Gangs, in which Kemp interviewed gang members around the world, was first broadcast in 2006. The first series featured gangs and police corruption in Brazil, Māori gangs in New Zealand, neo-Nazi skinheads in California and gangsters in London.

The second series featured "MS13" from El Salvador, neo-Nazis in Russia, football hooligans in Poland, American "Bloods" and "Crips" gangs in St. Louis, and the Numbers gang in South Africa. In May 2007, Ross Kemp on Gangs was awarded a BAFTA award for factual programming.

The third series travelled to Kingston, Jamaica, where gangs engage in bloody turf war, Poland where football hooligans have become some of the most feared gangs in Europe, Colombia, where Kemp meets the people involved in bitter guerrilla fighting - including the most secretive of them all, the Sicarios and to East Timor where Kemp met Sacred Heart and Seven Seven, two gangs in the midst of a deadly conflict.

The fourth series returned in September 2008 for four more episodes, starting in the Los Angeles district of Compton. A famously hazardous scene was filmed in Compton when gangland junior Matt 'Malicious' Ward misfired his gun in a rival gang's neighbourhood. The show also travelled to Bulgaria to investigate Roma gangs and Neo-Nazi Skinheads, Belize where the focus was cocaine trafficking and Liverpool where Kemp met gangs in Norris Green and Croxteth.

The show has also been released on DVD.

In early 2007 Kemp published his experiences from the TV programme in book form, in 'Ross Kemp. Gangs'.

In early 2009, Ross Kemp on Gangs aired in the United States on the Investigation Discovery channel under the title "Gang Nation."

Ross Kemp in Afghanistan[edit]

On 21 January 2008, Sky broadcast the first episode of a five-part series Ross Kemp in Afghanistan, which entails Kemp following the 1st Battalion of the British Army's Royal Anglian Regiment during their deployment to Afghanistan's Helmand Province from March to August 2007. In preparation for the assignment, Kemp had to participate in military training for personal defence, including use of the SA80 assault rifle. Kemp has a personal interest in the Royal Anglians, as he is from their recruiting area, and his father served with one of the predecessor regiments of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Norfolk Regiment, in Cyprus. He has since returned to Afghanistan to film a second series of Ross Kemp in Afghanistan, which began its broadcast on Sky One on 1 February 2009, titled Ross Kemp Return to Afghanistan.

Ross Kemp: In Search of Pirates[edit]

In June 2009 his new series Ross Kemp: In Search of Pirates, debuted on Sky 1. Kemp investigates the boom in piracy on the world's oceans, travelling to some of the planet's biggest trouble spots to discover the problems faced by potential targets and those trying to protect them.

He begins in London, where he discovers the economic impact of hijackings on global trade, before joining a Royal Navy anti-piracy ship in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia.

Then he explores the impact of piracy in Nigeria, where more people are killed in raids than anywhere else in the world. He discovers the devastating effects that pirates are having on the area's fishing fleet, with almost 300 workers killed over the past few years, and how attacks on oil tankers at the port of Lagos are threatening the country's economy.

Ross Kemp: Middle East[edit]

In January and February 2010, Sky broadcast a 2-part documentary on the situation in Gaza and Israel. Ross Kemp follows Hamas to try and get a glimpse at what is sparking the violence between the two nations in some of the most politically fraught places in the world. He also examines the black market importation from Egypt into Gaza.[10]

Ross Kemp: Battle for the Amazon[edit]

In April 2010 Kemp's documentary, Battle for the Amazon, was shown on Sky 1, Kemp travelled to areas of the Amazon basin in Brazil and Ecuador, filming the practices of cattle farming, soya bean farming and oil exploration that are causing rapid de-forestation in the region.[11]

Ross Kemp: Extreme World[edit]

In February 2011 Ross Kemp: Extreme World debuted on Sky 1. In January 2014 Ross Kemp: Extreme World debuted on Sky 1 HD.

A new series of Extreme World consisting of seven episodes aired on Sky 1 from January to March in 2015.

It was confirmed back on 8th December 2015 via Ross Kemp's official twitter account that Extreme Worlds would return for a fifth series, filming began back in 2015 before having a 3 week christmas break filming restarted in January 2016.[12]

Ross Kemp: Back on the Frontline[edit]

Kemp returned to Afghanistan 10 years after the War in Afghanistan started. The show aired on Sky1 during winter 2011.


Kemp has written several books. Initially focusing on tie-ins to his various TV documentaries, 2011 saw the publication of his first fictional story, 'Devil to Pay'. A new novel, 'Moving Target', was released in summer 2012.


In 1999 Kemp was elected as Rector of the University of Glasgow as the candidate of the Glasgow University Labour Club, but resigned in 2000 after the Glasgow University Students' Representative Council passed a motion requesting him to do so.[13] Kemp was succeeded by Greg Hemphill.[14]

As an active supporter of the Labour Party he has fronted in their party political broadcasts.[15] In August 2014, Kemp was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[16]

Personal life[edit]

His mother Jean was a hairdresser and his father John was a Detective Chief Inspector in the police force. He has one brother, Darren, who is a filmmaker for the BBC. He attended Shenfield High School and the Webber Douglas Academy.[17]

On 11 June 2002 Kemp married Rebekah Wade, the then editor of The Sun. In November 2005 Wade was arrested following an alleged assault on her husband.[18] Kemp refused medical attention for a swollen lip and no action was taken.[19] In March 2009 Kemp and Wade divorced, and in October 2010, Kemp became a father to a baby boy by ex-partner Nicola Coleman who was his makeup artist.[20]

Ross Kemp married Renee O'Brien in 2012.[21] On 9 April 2015, Kemp announced via Twitter that he had become a father for the second time to a baby boy.[22]


Year Group Award Won Film/television series
1996 National Television Awards Most Popular Actor Nominated EastEnders
1997 National Television Awards Most Popular Actor Nominated EastEnders
1999 British Soap Awards Best Actor Won EastEnders
British Soap Awards Villain of the Year Nominated
British Soap Awards Best Storyline (for Tiffany discovers Grants affair with her mum) Won
Inside Soap Awards Best Actor Won
Inside Soap Awards Villain of the Year Nominated
TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Soap Actor Won
National Television Awards Most Popular Actor Nominated
2006 British Soap Awards Best Actor Won EastEnders
British Soap Awards Best Storyline (for The Mitchells' Return) Nominated
British Soap Awards Spectacular Scene of the year (for Phil's Close Shave) Nominated
Inside Soap Awards Best Actor Nominated
Inside Soap Awards Sexiest Male Nominated
Inside Soap Awards Best Storyline (for The Mitchells' Return) Nominated
TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Soap Actor Nominated
TV Quick and Choice Awards Best Soap Storyline (for The Mitchells' Return) Nominated
National Television Awards Most Popular Actor Nominated
2006 BAFTA Awards Best Factual Series Won Ross Kemp on Gangs
2008 AIB Media Excellence Awards International TV Personality Won Ross Kemp in Afghanistan
2009 BAFTA Awards Best Factual Series Nominated Ross Kemp in Afghanistan
2009 BAFTA Awards Current Affairs Nominated Ross Kemp: A Kenya Special
2014 Asian Media Awards Best Investigation[23] Won Extreme World: India



Year Show Role Notes
1985–86 Emmerdale Graham Lodsworth 32 Episodes
1988 London's Burning Liver Salts 1 episode: 1.3
1989 Birds of a Feather Detective Inspector Monk 1 episode: Shift
1990 The Chief PC Dennis Scovell 3 episodes: 1.2, 1.3 & 1.5
1990–99, 2005–06, 2016 EastEnders Grant Mitchell Series regular
1993 Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time Grant Mitchell
1998 City Central Dilly Dally 1 episode: Nothing Like a Dame
EastEnders: The Mitchells – Naked Truths Grant Mitchell Spin-off video
2000 Hero of the Hour Richie Liddle
In Defence Sam Lucas 4 part series
A Christmas Carol Eddie Scrooge
2000–2001 Without Motive DC Jack Mowbray Series regular
2001 A Line in the Sand Gavin Hughes/Frank Perry Screened on ITV1 in 2004
2002 The Paper Round Accused Man
2002 The Hard Slope ANPR Traffic cop
2002–2006 Ultimate Force Staff Sgt. Henry 'Henno' Garvie Series regular
2003 The Crooked Man Harry Fielding
2004 Spartacus Cinna
2005 Extras Himself 1 episode: 1.2
2007 Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind Trooper No. 2 Voice role
2009 10 Minute Tales Liam 1 episode: The Running of the Deer
2011 That Sunday Night Show Himself Guest Panelist


Year Film Role Notes
1987 Playing Away Sonny
2011 Quick Slip Me a Bride Trevor Nominated: Golden Globe



  1. ^ Ross Kemp granted quickie divorce
  2. ^ "Ross Kemp – Awards". IMDB. 
  3. ^ Soaps – News – Ross Kemp finally lured back to 'EastEnders' – Digital Spy
  4. ^
  5. ^ Westbrook, McFadden: 'We'd love Grant back'
  6. ^ Grant Mitchell back on EastEnders? "Never say never"
  7. ^ "Ross Kemp returning to EastEnders for Barbara Windsor's exit". BBC News. 18 January 2016. 
  8. ^ KEMP IN £1.2M ITV DEAL - Broadcast Commissioning Forum
  9. ^ Video: Top Gear Season 14 Episode 4
  10. ^ Ross Kemp Middle East: Gaza
  11. ^ Ross Kemp Battle For The Amazon
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Kemp quits university post". United Kingdom: BBC. 8 November 2000. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  14. ^ "Vanunu elected university rector". United Kingdom: BBC. 16 December 2004. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  15. ^ Niall Firth (4 May 2010). "It's Colin Firth vs Ross Kemp as parties unveil their celebrity backers for final week". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2015-01-28. 
  16. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  17. ^ "Kemp to return to Albert Square". Manchester Evening News. 23 May 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  18. ^ Laville, Sandra; Wells, Matt; Dodd, Vikram (4 November 2005). "The editor, the actor, the (ex) cabinet minister and a night behind bars". The Guardian (London). 
  19. ^ "Editor free after Kemp 'assault'". BBC News. 3 November 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2007. 
  20. ^ "BABY JOY! Former EastEnders star Ross Kemp becomes a dad - now". 2010-11-08. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  21. ^ Wilson, Benji. "Ross Kemp: confronting danger". Reader's Digest. Reader's Digest. Retrieved 2014-11-24. 
  22. ^ "Ross Kemp becomes a dad for the second time". Hello! Magazine. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  23. ^

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Richard Wilson
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Greg Hemphill