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Ross Kemp more nervous about EastEnders return than war zone visit

Published 13/05/2016

Kemp left the BBC soap to make a series of documentaries investigating gang violence, the war in Afghanistan and troubles in the Middle East
Kemp left the BBC soap to make a series of documentaries investigating gang violence, the war in Afghanistan and troubles in the Middle East

Ross Kemp may have faced an Islamic State sniper, but he is more nervous about his EastEnders comeback.

The actor was last seen in Walford as hardman Grant Mitchell 10 years ago.

He left the BBC soap to make a series of documentaries investigating gang violence, the war in Afghanistan and troubles in the Middle East - including an upcoming special on Syria and Iraq.

Speaking with hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes on ITV's This Morning, Kemp revealed his latest brush with danger.

"High-velocity sniper rounds, we think he was a Chechnyan sniper fighting for Isis," he explained.

"We don't have any close protection, we use local people on the ground, and local intelligence that they give us.

"Of course that worry is there, I've got a family and everything, but also it's my job now and I absolutely adore it, I love it. It's something that gives me an element of freedom to my life as well which I probably never had when I was acting.

"So to be able to mix them both, it's been a very interesting year so far!"

Kemp, 51, will return to Albert Square on Friday evening as soap fans prepare to say goodbye to his on-screen mother Peggy Mitchell, played by Dame Barbara Windsor.

Peggy has recently learned that her breast cancer has returned. It will ultimately prove fatal.

Kemp said it was "bizarre" that he was more nervous of returning to Albert Square than to a war zone.

He explained: "First scene, first morning, three days in after coming straight back from Mozambique, jet lagged, really scared, really nervous.

"'Cause when I first joined it, 20 years ago, there was no expectation and of course as you get older there is more expectation placed upon your shoulders and I didn't want to let people down, particularly Barbara."

He joked his EastEnders stint could force him into therapy.

"I've had a tough year, started off in Columbia then went to Iraq and Syria, then went to Mozambique, just come back from Mongolia and I'm off on my travels again very soon," he said.

"To sandwich that between Walford I thought was a bridge too far and I haven't finished it yet cause I've got to go back for another three weeks to finish off the story line after Barbara leaves.

"So it's been an interesting year - I think I'll be in therapy by the summer!"

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