Ross Kemp found 'majority happy' in NI

Published Tuesday, 21 January 2014
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Despite filming summer riots in Northern Ireland for his Extreme World series, Ross Kemp says he found the majority of people were "happy" with progress made since the Good Friday Agreement.

Ross Kemp found 'majority happy' in NI
Ross Kemp talks to This Morning about his documentary making experiences. (© Ken McKay)

With nearly 60 documentaries under his belt, the former EastEnders 'hardman' is now well used to visiting some of the most dangerous places around the globe.

In July, he took to the streets of Belfast to speak to loyalist marchers, nationalist protestors, and senior police during violence which broke out over the Twelfth.

The scenes will be aired during a six-episode run which also looks at shocking situations like the extent of sex trafficking in India or crack cocaine addiction in Rio.

"I think it's always important, in the six programmes that we make, that we make one that's home based," Ross told This Morning.

"So this year we go to Northern Ireland during marching season - mainly to look at what's happened since the Good Friday Agreement 15 years on."

There are still elements of society there that are not happy with what's happening, but the majority - by far - are happy and that's a good thing.

Ross Kemp, on NI

But it was in Papua New Guinea where Ross and his crew found themselves particularly at risk - ordered to the ground at gunpoint by a gang who tried to rob them, undeterred by the cameras.

Still sipping from a bottle of water, the documentary maker challenged his attackers, grabbing the barrel of one of the guns being pointed at him and demanding: "Are you going to kill me?"

"What the hell are you doing?" an incredulous Phillip Schofield exclaimed, on viewing the scenes.

"If you'd gone down on the floor, God knows what would have happened. In that second, I took the decision that if we'd gone down, we might not have got up again," Ross explained.

"We do hostile environment training and obviously I was listening that day in class. In fact, we got a great interview ..."

As for events in India, Ross admits it is a very hard watch - especially as a parent.

Child sex trafficking is a major problem in the country and as the team filmed undercover in brothels, they came across girls they believe may have been aged just 10 or 11.

"It's hard to get the exact ages ... They were very, very young. They actually give some of them hormones to make them look older," Ross said.

Even he found it hard to contain his emotions when one 27-year-old trafficker admitted on camera to killing at least 400 girls to cover his tracks.

My translator was obviously hearing what he was saying before I was getting it. She's a criminologist as well as a translator and she started wailing, tears were falling down her face ...

Ross Kemp

"Our job is to bring a balanced, informative documentary," Ross said.

"But if you see the interview, you can see what's going through my head. And at a certain point, particularly when he was trying to feel sorry for himself ... Any person with a family ...

"I wanted to hit. I don't know what I wanted to do. It was very emotional."

The documentary maker insists that while it is natural to judge people based on their actions, you cannot do that during the filming process.

"I'll always judge a murderer who's killed 400 people," Phillip interjected.

"I know, you do. But while you're making a documentary about explaining the situation, you have to understand where he's come from - what's caused him to be in the situation he's in."

Asking about the footage, Phillip asked: "That tape ... Do the police want to see it? Was there anyone who said: "We'd like to see this recording"?"

"No," Ross said.

The Northern Ireland episode of Extreme World is due to air on Sky 1 on Tuesday 4 February.

Ross Kemp has also been speaking to UTV for a more in-depth look at his experiences in Belfast, with the interview due to be aired following the episode, when The Magazine returns on 14 February.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Linda in NI wrote (372 days ago):
If the majority of people are happy why do sin fein waste money on public enquiries into the past
William in newtownards Northern ireland wrote (373 days ago):
I'm so relieved that an actor from outside of Northern ireland is able to give such an informed and knowledgeable option. What a relief.
pip in belfast wrote (373 days ago):
hopefully it shows the truth then people wont be able to hide behind false facts and there lying propaganda spouting politicians usual abhorrent rhetoric
Belfast in Belfast wrote (373 days ago):
Unless you've already seen it Steve, which I doubt, then you're judging something based on your own prejudices. Not like anyone in NI to do that now is it???
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (373 days ago):
Yeah, Steve. Because on the day of filming Ross Kemp was subjected to UFOs and amateur Shaolin Monk fanatics with ceremonial swords attacking the PSNI it's a biased documentary. Run away and hide, Steve. The sky is falling and everyone has it in for Orange Kultur, so they do.....
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