Ross Kemp has said the coronavirus crisis has been like “a reset button” and helped to show what is important in life.
The former EastEnders star and documentary maker will celebrate the efforts of the UK public to help others in the series Britain’s Volunteer Army.
He told the PA news agency: “I was more of a pessimist when I was 20 and more of an optimist at 50, and I’m in the fortunate position to have travelled to a lot of the world.
I think maybe what this pandemic has done... has made us all a bit more realistic about our outlooks and what is important to us in lifeRoss Kemp
“You can go to a favela in Rio or you can walk through the village in the Congo, and people have nothing.
“Their main concern is making sure they see the sun come up the next morning and they have something to fill their belly – and they can be happier than some of the richest and most affluent people I’ve met in the finest restaurants in London. So it is relative.
“And I think maybe what this pandemic has done, has made us all a bit more realistic about our outlooks and what is important to us in life.
“And maybe we’ll all be a bit more considerate to others and to ourselves and understand that whether you’ve got a 4.3 or a 2.5 engine in your car, it’s not the most important thing. The love of your family and the fact that they’re healthy is far more important.
“It’s been sort of like a reset button, hasn’t it? It has for me, anyway. I’m very lucky that I’ve worked in the area that I have for a number of years now, where I do get to see people who are in very, very hard situations, and that makes me all the more appreciative of living where I live and having the things I have.”
He added: “I used to live in a flat in Peckham – if I were in that flat right now, particularly because it was always too hot, I’d have bounced off the walls by now!”
Kemp also discussed his own experience of filming inside a hospital as NHS staff battled the pandemic.
He added: “Definitely for me, it was being that close to it, when I was in the hospital, and also seeing the generosity and spirit that I saw from the volunteers.
“It’s made me understand… well I’m pretty familiar with it, but how vulnerable we are in terms of our lives, and what’s more important to us. Is it having a flash car or three holidays a year? Or is it just having the love of your close ones, the people who mean something to you.
“And I think I would rather spend the summer in the garden with my family and we know that we’re all healthy, than flog my guts just so I can have an extra holiday or a bigger car.”
Britain’s Volunteer Army is on BBC One on Monday, May 18.