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Martin Kemp credits EastEnders for helping him overcome deep depression

Let It Shine Launch, martin kemp
(Image credit: PA Wire/PA Images)

Let It Shine judge Martin Kemp says his role in EastEnders in the '90s was crucial to his overcoming depression

Let It Shine judge Martin Kemp has hailed EastEnders and his role as Steve Owen for helping him overcome profound depression in the 1990s.

The Spandau Ballet star, who played Albert Square bad boy Steve Owen between 1998 and 2002, had suffered four years of depression after developing brain tumours.

He told The Mirror's Notebook: “Before I took the role of Steve Owen, I’d been in a terrible depression for four years after having two brain tumours. My brain was left in such a state, if I wanted to walk left I’d turn right.

“I didn’t know what I was capable of, so it was a godsend and it changed the way I was seen.

“Instead of being Martin Kemp, brain tumour - which I hated - I became Martin Kemp from Eastenders.”

Martin was less enthusiastic about his former EastEnders co-stars, who he described as 'moany'.

“Some of these people had the best job in the world, but they moaned about it all the time. I couldn’t stand it. However, EastEnders will always be special to me."

Martin, 55, is currently a judge on BBC1's new singing contest Let It Shine.

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 


An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.