Ross Kemp: “I’m wetting myself at the thought of going back to EastEnders”

"I'm panicking about everything," the hard man star adds

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EastEnders fans may be relishing the prospect of a Mitchell family reunion later this year, but Walford returnee Ross Kemp is feeling apprehensive about his comeback as Grant Mitchell.

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“I’ve had sniper rounds go through the wall behind me, and I’m quite cool under fire. I’m good at dealing with things like that. But I’m wetting myself at the thought of going back to EastEnders,” says the actor in the new issue of Radio Times.

The 51-year-old star is to join screen siblings Steve McFadden (Phil) and Danniella Westbrook (Sam) to film an emotional send-off for Barbara Windsor, whose matriarch Peggy Mitchell is set to die this spring when she loses her battle with cancer.

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The upcoming scenes have been in the planning stages since last summer after Windsor told soap bosses that she wanted to close the door on EastEnders for good.

But Kemp – who is back on screens next week in Sky1 documentary Ross Kemp’s Britain – is anxious about reprising the role of hard man Grant for the first time in a decade.

“I’m panicking about everything,” he adds. “About whether I’ve lost the ability to learn all the lines. About whether I can cope with it at all…I worry about letting people down, letting myself down. That’s my biggest fear. It’s going to be like going back to sixth form.”

Speaking recently about what viewers can expect to see once Kemp dons Grant’s leather jacket once again, show boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins said: “To have the Mitchell brothers come face to face again, having to face losing their mother, is an opportunity to show Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden at their very best.

“We are all so excited finally to have Ross back on the Square – and to have Ross Kemp, Barbara Windsor, Steve McFadden, Letitia Dean and Gillian Taylforth all on screen together at the same time as Peggy makes an exit like no other. This promises to be something very special.”

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders

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And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.