After documentaries in some of the world’s most dangerous locations, the TV hardman is taking a well-deserved cruise (Picture: PA/Getty)
In this weekend’s 60 Seconds, we catch up with Ross to find out about his latest gig and – of course- also threw in a few Eastenders questions.
Giving talks on a Cunard cruise seems like quite a cushy gig…
Yeah! For a change! Hopefully I get some time to look at the beautiful ocean. I’ve been to Alaska before but I was stuck in a bivouac shelter on my own for 14 hours with a .375 Winchester rifle.
Only you could say that!
In a way it was my introduction into making documentaries because the team that I worked with on that… when I came up with the idea of making Gangs for Sky, I went back to that production company and co-produced the first three or four series with them and Extreme Worlds and the Afghan thing.
The Gangs show was your idea, then?
Blood gang member Bloodhound(Picture: David McNew/Getty Images)
Yeah, yeah. I bumped into a guy who’d been shot 27 times who was in the Bloods in the early 90s, a guy called Bloodhound.
There was a documentary about America’s obsession with firearms, called Lethal Attraction, which is still on YouTube – and it gave me the idea of making a documentary about gangs and I knew someone at Sky…
How did they get insurance to send one of television’s most-loved stars into that sort of danger?
I don’t think I’m one of television’s most-loved stars, for a start. And I don’t think I was insured. The stuff I’m doing next I’m not insured and it’s just as dangerous.
I don’t think it’s reckless because we think about what we’re doing but there’s always the unknown. And that’s always appealed to me.
What’s been the most dangerous moment: gangs, Afghanistan, pirates…?
Afghanistan was the most lethal place Ross visited (Picture: PA)
I would have to say, if bullets are whizzing past your head three or four times before eight o’clock in the morning and that process carries on day in and day out for over a month and you carry on doing it, you go back year after year, then I’d have to say that Afghanistan was the most lethal place I’ve ever been to.
But I am getting older so maybe I deserve a bit of time on the Queen Elizabeth, hopefully see a whale or two…
Have you ever said no to anything? In terms of doing dangerous things?
I said no to things when I was younger. In terms of work, rarely have I ever said no. Afghanistan was probably as dangerous as I want to get at my age.
What else is coming up for you?
There’s a new series of Bridge Of Lies coming out. And there’s what I’m doing now, which I don’t think has been announced but it’s a series for Sky History.
Are you actually a hard man? You’re from the East End… well, Barking.
Can’t hard men enjoy a bit of yoga? (Picture: BBC Picture Archives)
Not really. I’m still boxing at 59 and enjoying it and I do a bit of yoga. What was the question?
Are you a hard man?
Not at all. I’ve met a few who really want to be and they end up in a lot of trouble.
Do you still watch EastEnders?
I didn’t watch it when I was in it. It would be a bit like being a coal miner and coming home and looking at the coal scuttle.
I catch the odd episode to see who’s gone back and I’m good friends with Scott Mitchell, Barbara Windsor’s widower, and he’s an agent and has clients in the show so he lets me know what’s what.
Ross is still good friends with Barbara Windsor’s widow Scott Mitchell (Picture: David M. Benett/Getty Images)
Are you still mates with anyone in it?
Do you know how long ago I left?
I went back for three days then for two weeks and I haven’t touched it since.
We were friends when we were working with each other.
When I do bump into people everyone’s great but they’ve got their lives and you work so hard there that you want to spend time with your real family when you’re out and I want to spend time with my real family.
Ross Kemp prefers time with his own family nowadays (Picture: Shutterstock)
Would you go back?
You never say never but you have to be asked first. I’ve always been thankful that I’ve found pretty interesting and diverse work.
Do you keep in touch with the Chipping Norton set?
Who the hell are they?
When you lived in the Cotswolds with (ex-wife, former Sun editor) Rebekah Wade?
I’m not even sure who they are, mate.
We imagined you and Lord Cameron hanging out, because they’re friends, aren’t they, Rebekah and him?
[Laughs] Well, you imagined wrong. Chipping Norton set? I wouldn’t even know where Chipping Norton is!
Ross Kemp will be joining luxury cruise line Cunard as an Insight Speaker aboard a ten-night Alaska voyage on Queen Elizabeth in September.
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