Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ultimate Test of Acting

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ultimate Test of Acting

Article excerpt

Byline: By Gordon Barr

With Dirty Den coming back and Phil Mitchell leaving, it wouldn't come as a surprise to most EastEnders viewers if Grant returned to the soap.

And Ross Kemp, the actor who played him, isn't ruling it out either.

"I never say never about going back as they have left the door swinging wide open for me," says Ross, who stars in a second series of the SAS drama Ultimate Force next week. "I still admire the show and the people who work there immensely. Whether I can survive a week there making two hours of television I don't know. The sheer graft is something I'd need to consider.

"It takes four months to shoot six hours of Ultimate Force, but EastEnders is a hard grind, a television factory. I was in it for 650 hours - more than most actors do in a lifetime."

In the meantime, Ross is taking on two new challenges. "I'm doing my first job for American TV - Spartacus, starring Goran Visnjic from ER," he reveals.

"I play Chinnar, who's in charge of the gladiatorial school. It's filmed in Bulgaria and I was really pleased to be asked.

"Then I go back to the stage for the first time in eight years to play Petruchio in a tour of The Taming of the Shrew.

"Of course I'm nervous about going on the stage - it's going to be hard work and more scary than doing any stunts on Ultimate Force. But Petruchio is a great character so hopefully once I'm up and running I'll make him my own."

In Ultimate Force, Ross plays SAS soldier Henno Garvie, and for the second series he had to master a particularly tough challenge - playing rugby badly.

"I used to play rugby in the second division of the London League for Brentwood and still play occasionally," he says.

"Rugby is one of the few things in my life I've achieved something at, but in Ultimate Force I have to play it badly as my character Henno has never played before. It's very frustrating, but many of the people I play with will probably just say I'm being myself."

Ross had less trouble in another scene that many would have balked at - swimming in freezing-cold seawater at night. …

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