Ross James Kemp (born 21 July 1964) is a BAFTA award-winning English actor, author and 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 Ross Kemp on Gangs.
His first credited television appearance was in 1986, playing 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.
His most famous role to date was his award-winning portrayal of hardman Grant Mitchell in the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders. Kemp debuted as hard-man Grant along with Steve McFadden, who played Grant's brother Phil Mitchell, in February 1990. On-screen, Kemp, as Grant, was often at the centre of EastEnders' plots, amongst them marrying Sharon Watts, played by Letitia Dean, daughter of "Dirty" Den Watts, before divorcing, after Sharon had an affair with Phil, and subsequently setting fire to their home. He married Tiffany Mitchell played by Martine McCutcheon, fathering a daughter in a rocky and sometimes violent marriage that ended when Tiffany was run over and killed by Grant's stepfather Frank Butcher following an argument.
Kemp left EastEnders in 1999, on a storyline that had Grant hijacking a drug deal which ended in him crashing his getaway car into the River Thames and presumed dead until a week later when he was seen with daughter Courtney at the airport getting on a plane to Brazil. He then moved from the BBC to ITV for a reported £1.2 million.
In the same year he won the award for Best Actor at The British Soap Awards.
Kemp, himself, refused to rule out an eventual return to EastEnders, and, almost from the beginning, there were countless media reports that he would be returning to the series.
Star of the television series, Without Motive, and, In Defence, in 2000, he continued to play to type in the 2002 series, Ultimate Force, where he took the role of tough-talking Staff Sergent Henry (Henno) Garvie in the British Special Air Service. He continued to star in this role until 2006. He also gained the role of "Cirra" in the 2004 TV film, Spartacus.
In 2005, Kemp starred in an episode of Extras, as an exaggerated version of himself. Playing on his reputation for "hard" roles (such as Grant Mitchell), Kemp starred as a posturing version of himself who had landed a role as Horatio Nelson in a television historical drama, but was in reality timid.
In 2005, he starred in a two-part adaptation of the Gerald Seymour novel A Line In The Sand for ITV.
Kemp's break from EastEnders lasted three months before he returned — this time, Grant was joined by his wife, Carla, and daughter Courtney. His comeback lasted three months before Grant and Courtney fled to Portugal after he fell out with Carla.
BBC bosses have left Kemp's role open for a possible future return, but no plans for another comeback were announced at the time of his latest exit, and none have been announced since.
During his return to Eastenders he won the Best Actor award at the 2006 British Soap Awards and was also nominated in the same category at the Inside Soap Awards and TV Quick and Choice Awards.He was also nominated in the category of "Most Popular Actor" at the 2006 National Television Awards.
In April 2008 Kemp's agent announced that they were in negotiations with Grenada Television to produce a one-off Christmas musical special loosely based on Kemp's Eastenders character entitled "Mitchell: You Muppet!"
In an interview with Paul O'Grady in late 2007, Kemp said he would like to return to the square someday.
In 2006, Kemp featured in the series, Ross Kemp on Gangs, in which he interviewed gang members around the world. In the first series, the show featured gangs and police corruption in Brazil, Maori gangs in New Zealand, neo-Nazi skinheads in California, and gangsters in London. The second series featured gangs, including "MS13" from El Salvador, neo-Nazis in Russia, skinheads in Poland, American "Bloods" and "Crips" 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. September 2008 saw Kemp return to his ever popular Sky1 show Ross Kemp on Gangs. It started in California, Compton and featured a total of four shows.
In early 2007 Kemp also released his book 'Ross Kemp. Gangs' in which he retold his past show experiences in form of a book. Other Ross Kemp on Gangs paraphernalia includes his DVD series of Ross Kemp on Gangs which features his series and exclusive extras from the series
His mother Jean was a hairdresser and his father John a DCI in the police force,he also has a brother named Darren who is a film maker for the BBC.
On November 3, 2005, it was reported that Wade had been arrested that morning following an alleged assault on her husband. Wade was later released without charge and no further action is to be taken. Kemp refused medical attention for a swollen lip.
Kemp is a fan of West Ham United FC.
Tough Cookie; Award-Winning Documentary Maker Ross Kemp Is Back with a New Series Which Highlights Intense Human Suffering. Prepare to Be Shocked, the Former EastEnder Tells Susan Griffin
Feb 20, 2011; BAR a brief reappearance in EastEnders a few years ago, it's been more than 11 years since Ross Kemp last squared up on screen as...
Interview: Ross Kemp - Don't Take Me for Granted; Former EastEnders Hardman Ross Kemp Talks about Life after Soap, and Reveals His Inner Worries That His New Project Might Flop. by Karen Hockney
Mar 04, 2000; Ross Kemp found fame as soap's toughest hardman - the type you don't tangle with if you know what's good for you. But he quit...