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Ross James Kemp (born 21 July 1964)[2] is an English actor, author and investigative journalist. He rose to prominence in the role of Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Since 2004, Kemp has received international recognition as a journalist for the BAFTA Award-winning documentary series Ross Kemp on Gangs.

Ross Kemp
Ross Kemp 2015.JPG
Kemp during Extreme World filming
Ross James Kemp

(1964-07-21) 21 July 1964 (age 55)
Barking, Essex, England
Investigative journalist
Years active1985–present
Rebekah Wade
(m. 2002; div. 2009)
Renee O'Brien (m. 2012)

Acting careerEdit

Early careerEdit

After training at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, Kemp received his Equity card when appearing alongside John Thaw and Richard Wilson at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea.

He went on to feature in training films for the Ministry of Defence and the ITV soap opera Emmerdale Farm (now Emmerdale) as Graham Lodsworth. Guest appearances in London's Burning and Birds of a Feather followed, before he had a minor role in the 1987 film Playing Away alongside Neil Morrissey.[3]

In 1990 Kemp appeared in an edition of the Anglia Television police drama The Chief. The episode, entitled Call Sign Bravo, saw Kemp play the role of Police Constable Dennis Scovell.


Kemp's best-known role to date is that of hardman Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Making his debut in February 1990, his character was often at the centre of major storylines, including abusive marriages to Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) and Tiffany Mitchell (Martine McCutcheon), as well as the "Sharongate" storyline, which saw brother Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) having an affair with Grant's 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 return 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.[4] 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.

Kemp has won various awards for his portrayal of Grant.[5]

In January 2016 it was confirmed that Kemp would make a brief return to the show for the death of Grant's on-screen mother, Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor), appearing in three episodes from 13 to 17 May.[6] He later filmed a further three weeks and returned again for brief stints from 4 July to 9 September 2016.

Other rolesEdit

Following his initial departure from EastEnders, Kemp moved from the BBC to ITV for a reported £1.2 million two-year deal.[7] 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, and 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 played Army Staff sergeant Henry Garvie from the British Special Air Service. He continued to appear in this role until 2006. He also played "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. 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 had been killed.[8]

Investigative journalistEdit

In 2004 Kemp filmed Ross Kemp on Gangs, a documentary series exploring the impact of modern gang culture in the UK and around the world.[9] He followed this up with the documentaries Ross Kemp in Afghanistan, Ross Kemp in Search of Pirates, Ross Kemp: Battle for the Amazon and Ross Kemp: Extreme World.


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 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 the following year after the Glasgow University Students' Representative Council passed a motion requesting him to do so.[10] Kemp was succeeded by Scottish actor Greg Hemphill.[11]

In 2011, he wrote an article in The Sun outlining his opposition to the alternative vote in the 2011 referendum on the subject.[12]

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.[13]

In June 2017, Kemp endorsed the Labour Party at the 2017 UK general election, and took part in campaigning for Labour candidates.[14][15][16]

Personal lifeEdit

Kemp's 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. Kemp 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 with his partner, Nicola Coleman, who was his makeup artist.[20]

Kemp married Australian 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]

On 28 September 2017, Ross announced that he had become a father again for the third and fourth time with twin baby girls.[citation needed]


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
1987 The Moneymen Dealer TV Movie
1988 London's Burning Liver Salts Episode: "Series 1, Episode 3"
1989 Birds of a Feather Detective Inspector Monk Episode: "Shift"
Screen Two Police Officer Episode: "The Picnic"
1990 The Chief PC Dennis Scovell Episodes: "Daydreamer" & "Call Sign Bravo"
The Manageress Defender Episode: "A Match for Anyone"
1990–99, 2005–06, 2016 EastEnders Grant Mitchell 1,008 episodes
1993 Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time 2 episodes
1998 EastEnders: The Mitchells – Naked Truths VHS special
City Central Dilly Dally Episode: "Nothing Like a Dame"
2000 Hero of the Hour Richie Liddle TV Movie
In Defence Sam Lucas 4 episodes
A Christmas Carol Eddie Scrooge TV Movie
2000–2001 Without Motive DC Jack Mowbray 12 episodes
2002–2006 Ultimate Force Staff Sgt. Henry 'Henno' Garvie 21 episodes
2003 The Crooked Man Harry Fielding TV Movie
2004 Spartacus Cinna TV Movie
A Line in the Sand Gavin Hughes / Frank Parry 2 episodes
2005 Extras Himself Episode: "Ross Kemp & Vinnie Jones"
2007 Robbie the Reindeer Trooper No. 2 Episode: "Close Encounters of the Herd Kind"
2009 10 Minute Tales Liam Episode: "The Running of the Deer"
Top Gear Man in Boot Episode: "Series 14, Episode 4"
2011 That Sunday Night Show Himself
2017 All Round to Mrs Brown's Himself


Year Show Channel Notes
1999 Ross Kemp: Alive in Alaska BBC One
2004–2009 Ross Kemp on Gangs Sky One Series 1—4; 20 episodes
2008–2012 Ross Kemp in Afghanistan Series 1—4; 18 episodes
2009 Ross Kemp in Search of Pirates 3 episodes
Ross Kemp: Behind the Story 3 episodes
2010 Ross Kemp: Battle for the Amazon 2 episodes
2011–2017 Ross Kemp: Extreme World Series 1—6; 36 episodes
2016 Ross Kemp's Britain 3 episodes
2017 Ross Kemp Behind Bars: Inside Barlinnie ITV
2018 Ross Kemp & the Armed Police


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


Year Title Role Notes
2018 Ross Kemp Extreme Tales Live Himself Dates: 6, 10 and 14 February


  1. ^ "Ross Kemp granted quickie divorce". Digital Spy. 6 March 2009.
  2. ^ "ON THIS DAY: July 21". Swindon Advertiser. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Ross Kemp – Awards". IMDB.
  4. ^ "Ross Kemp finally lured back to 'EastEnders'". Digital Spy. 21 May 2005.
  5. ^ "Ross Kemp".
  6. ^ "Ross Kemp returning to EastEnders for Barbara Windsor's exit". BBC News. 18 January 2016.
  7. ^ "KEMP IN£1.2M ITV DEAL".
  8. ^ Video: Top Gear Season 14 Episode 4
  9. ^ "Ross Kemp on Gangs (TV Series 2006– )".
  10. ^ "Kemp quits university post". United Kingdom: BBC. 8 November 2000. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  11. ^ "Vanunu elected university rector". United Kingdom: BBC. 16 December 2004. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  12. ^ "World fights for OUR democracy, not AV". The Sun. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". The Guardian. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Ross Kemp adds muscle to Labour campaign". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  15. ^ Seddon, Sean (5 June 2017). "See Ross Kemp campaigning for Sunderland Labour candidate ahead of general election". Evening Chronicle. Wolverhampton. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  16. ^ Allison, David (5 June 2017). "TV star Ross Kemp in Sunderland to back Labour candidate ahead of election". Sunderland: Sunderland Echo. Retrieved 14 June 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  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". 8 November 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  21. ^ Wilson, Benji. "Ross Kemp: confronting danger". Reader's Digest. Reader's Digest. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Ross Kemp becomes a dad for the second time". Hello! Magazine. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  23. ^ [1]

External linksEdit

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