Ross Kemp

Ross Kemp

Ross Kemp during Extreme World filming.
Born Ross Kemp
(1964-07-21) 21 July 1964
Barking, London, England
Occupation Actor
Investigative journalist
Years active 1985–present
Spouse(s) Rebekah Wade (m. 200209) (divorced)[1]
Renee O'Brien (m. 2012)
Children 2

Ross Kemp (born 21 July 1964) is an English actor, author and BAFTA award-winning 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 an investigative journalist for his critically acclaimed and award-winning documentary series.

Acting career

Early career

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 getting a minor role in the 1987 film Playing Away alongside Neil Morrissey.[2]


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 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. Kemp has won various awards for his portrayal of Grant.[4]

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. [5] He later filmed a further three weeks and returned again for brief stints from 4 July to 9 September 2016.

Other roles

Following his initial departure from EastEnders, Kemp moved from the BBC to ITV for a reported £1.2 million two-year deal.[6] 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.[7]


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 in 2000 after the Glasgow University Students' Representative Council passed a motion requesting him to do so.[8] Kemp was succeeded by Greg Hemphill.[9]

In 2011, he wrote an article in The Sun (United Kingdom) outlining his opposition to the Alternative vote in the United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum, 2011[10]

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.[11]

Personal life

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.[12]

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.[13] Kemp refused medical attention for a swollen lip and no action was taken.[14] 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.[15]

Kemp married Renee O'Brien in 2012.[16] On 9 April 2015, Kemp announced via Twitter that he had become a father for the second time to a baby boy.[17]


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[18] Won Extreme World: India



Year Show Role Notes
1985–86 Emmerdale Graham Lodsworth Recurring: 32 Episodes
1988 London's Burning Liver Salts Guest: 1 Episode
1989 Birds of a Feather Detective Inspector Monk
1990 The Chief PC Dennis Scovell Guest: 3 Episodes
1990–99, 2005–06, 2016 EastEnders Grant Mitchell Series Regular
1993 Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time Crossover Spin-off
1998 City Central Dilly Dally Guest: 1 Episode
EastEnders: The Mitchells – Naked Truths Grant Mitchell Spin-off Video
2000 In Defence Sam Lucas Guest: 4 Episodes
A Christmas Carol Eddie Scrooge TV Movie (Lead Role)
2000–2001 Without Motive DC Jack Mowbray Series Regular
2002–2006 Ultimate Force Staff Sgt. Henry 'Henno' Garvie
2004–2009 Ross Kemp on Gangs Himself Journalist
2005 Extras Himself Guest: 1 Episode
2007 Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind Trooper No. 2 TV Movie (Voiceover Role)
2008–2012 Ross Kemp in Afghanistan Himself Journalist
2009 10 Minute Tales Liam Guest: 1 Episode
Top Gear Himself
Ross Kemp in Search of Pirates Journalist
2010 Ross Kemp: Battle for the Amazon
2011 That Sunday Night Show Guest Panelist
2011–present Ross Kemp: Extreme World Journalist
2016 Ross Kemp's Britain


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


  1. "Ross Kemp granted quickie divorce". Digital Spy. 6 March 2009.
  2. "Ross Kemp – Awards". IMDB.
  3. "Ross Kemp finally lured back to 'EastEnders'". Digital Spy. 21 May 2005.
  5. "Ross Kemp returning to EastEnders for Barbara Windsor's exit". BBC News. 18 January 2016.
  6. "KEMP IN£1.2M ITV DEAL".
  7. Video: Top Gear Season 14 Episode 4
  8. "Kemp quits university post". United Kingdom: BBC. 8 November 2000. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  9. "Vanunu elected university rector". United Kingdom: BBC. 16 December 2004. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  10. "World fights for OUR democracy, not AV". 2011-04-26. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  11. "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 7 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  12. "Kemp to return to Albert Square". Manchester Evening News. 23 May 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  13. 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.
  14. "Editor free after Kemp 'assault'". BBC News. 3 November 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2007.
  15. "BABY JOY! Former EastEnders star Ross Kemp becomes a dad – now". 8 November 2010. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  16. Wilson, Benji. "Ross Kemp: confronting danger". Reader's Digest. Reader's Digest. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
  17. "Ross Kemp becomes a dad for the second time". Hello! Magazine. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ross Kemp.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Richard Wilson
Rector of the University of Glasgow
Succeeded by
Greg Hemphill
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