Ross Kemp returns to TV drama: 'I was more nervous than first day on EastEnders'

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15: Ross Kemp attends the ITV Palooza 2022 on November 15, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Ross Kemp is nervous about his TV drama return. (Getty Images)

Ross Kemp is heading back to TV drama for his first major role since leaving EastEnders, but says he feels more daunted than on his first day in Albert Square.

The actor is best known for his iconic role as Grant Mitchell in the BBC soap, which he starred in between 1990 and 2006 including a six-year break, and briefly returned in 2016 for screen mum Peggy's (Dame Barbara Windsor) funeral scenes.

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But apart from one episode of Nothing To Declare in 2020, Kemp has turned away from acting in recent years, concentrating instead on gritty documentaries such as Ross Kemp On Gangs and his gameshow Bridge Of Lies.

From left: Steve McFadden (Phil), Pam St Clement (Pat), Ross Kemp (Grant), Shaun Williamson (Barry), and Tony Caunter (Roy). (Getty)
Steve McFadden (Phil), Pam St Clement (Pat), Ross Kemp (Grant), Shaun Williamson (Barry), and Tony Caunter (Roy) in EastEnders. (Getty)

Kemp's newly-announced role in Channel 5 drama Blindspot will see him on the opposite side of the law from his EastEnders days, as he plays Detective Tony Warden.

Tough guy Kemp admitted to feeling incredibly nervous about his return to acting, telling The Sun: "My first day on set (at Blindspot) was Saturday evening and I was just as nervous as I was, in fact more nervous, than when I first walked on to the set of EastEnders in 1989.

"I was extremely nervous and didn’t sleep very much the night before."

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Speaking about his return to drama, he added: "For me going back to acting is so important. It is the first time in 15 years apart from going back to EastEnders for Barbara leaving."

Ross Kemp is exploring the notorious Belmarsh in his latest documentary. (TwoFour/ITV)
Lately, Ross Kemp has been hosting gritty documentaries. (TwoFour/ITV)

Blindspot will air later this year and centres on a disabled woman who believes she has witnessed the run up to a murder on CCTV of a housing estate, but when she reports it finds that corrupt police are keen to cover it up.

Channel 5 had also announced an extensive slate of other new shows involving big name stars, including Kemp's former EastEnders co-star Larry Lamb who will star in drama The Inheritance with Rob James-Collier and Gaynor Faye.

Other newly announced shows include Ruby Wax Castaway where the presenter is marooned on an island, a secrets of the universe documentary series with Tim Peake, and a show about the history of London's East End with Jay Blades.