Ross Kemp returns with Extreme World, but laments: I’m still Grant to lots of people

The former soap star is off to Texas as the sixth series of Extreme World begins on Sunday, but he remains fond of the role he'll never escape

Since leaving EastEnders, Ross Kemp has become one of Britain’s top documentary-makers, but people still call him ‘Grant’ when they see him on the street.

Apart from a brief reappearance in the BBC soap when his on-screen mum Peggy passed away last year, it’s been over a decade since Ross was last seen in Albert Square.

In recent years, he has become known for his hard-hitting documentaries, but some people will always think of him as the Walford hardman.

“Lots of people still call me Grant when they see me,” said Ross. “I’m not too bothered as long as it’s all positive. I’ve realised there’s no point in getting sensitive about these things.

“I’m very positive about my past,” he continued. “People who do soaps and are then rude about them after they’ve left are out of order if you ask me. They should be thankful they had a job in the first place, because not many actors get that opportunity. I’ve a lot to thank EastEnders for and I’ll always endorse it because I still think it’s a great soap. I still watch it when I can.”

Ross will be reporting on the simmering race tensions in Texas in the first episode of a new six-part series of Bafta-winning Extreme World this week, before heading to Madagascar, the Philippines, the West Bank, Libya and Naples later in the six-part series.

With six very different films, Ross has promised that this series will be the best ever, but it’s tinged with sadness because it will also be the final run of Extreme World.

“It was Sky’s decision,” he explained. “I’m not going to stop making documentaries though. It’s taken us several years to get where we are and I’m not going to stop now because I think we’re quite good at it.

“I’ve been all over the world with this team of people and we trust each other. When you meet dangerous people you have to show no fear and know that you’ll back each other up, because if you show vulnerability they’ll bully you.

“We’ve been Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya… not many people have got those stamps on their passport. The only place we’d like to do that we haven’t been yet is Yemen, so maybe that will be the next one!”

Extreme World returns to Sky 1 on Sunday, July 9 at 9pm

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