The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FEATURE -

Martin (far left) and Gary (far right) in Span­dau Bal­let in 1985; the band sold mil­lions of records in the 1980s – be­fore be­com­ing em­broiled in a bit­ter court bat­tle over roy­al­ties, a rift that has fi­nally been healed says. Thank­fully, sur­geons man­aged to re­move much of the growth. He looks as fit as a flea, with an easy wit that sug­gests he doesn’t take life too se­ri­ously, whereas his brother is slighter and fairer with a brain that never stops.

We’re here be­cause Gary and Martin are about to present their first doc­u­men­tary se­ries, Gangs Of Bri­tain. It sees them travel to Brit- ain’s big­gest cities to ex­plore gang cul­ture past and present. While Gary ex­am­ines gang cul­ture in the 19th cen­tury, Martin takes a look at the mod­ern-day crim­i­nal un­der­world.

Tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ters. Pop stars. Writ­ers. Soap stars. Movie stars. Is there any­thing to which the Kemp brothers can’t turn their hands? ‘DIY,’ an­swers Gary. Their dad Frank was a tal­ented handy­man. De­spite work­ing long hours as a printer, money was tight and he suf­fered a ner­vous break­down when Gary was just six. ‘I was younger so it didn’t hit me as hard as it hit Gary,’ says Martin.

The boys were both with their par­ents when they died four years ago. Their 77-year- old mother was re­cov­er­ing from a heart op­er­a­tion when her hus­band, 79, suf­fered a mas­sive heart at­tack. Gary was with him at the time and has writ­ten mov­ingly about re­mov­ing his fa­ther’s false teeth to give him the kiss of life. He wishes he hadn’t now. ‘I kept him go­ing when it was al­ready too late,’ he says. ‘Then we had to tell our mum. They’d never done any­thing sep­a­rately in their lives. She didn’t want to stay. She said, “Ev­ery­thing’s OK. I have no re­grets. Ev­ery­thing’s per­fect.” She didn’t say, “I’m go­ing to give up now,” but that’s ba­si­cally what she did. She was so de­voted to my dad. They had a joint funeral.’

But a birth and res­ur­rec­tion of sorts fol­lowed death. Within a month of their par­ents’ funeral, Gary’s son Kit was born and the brothers were in re­hearsals with Span­dau Bal­let. It was the first time that the group had played to­gether since the five boys, who’d been friends since they were barely out of short trousers, faced one an­other in a bit­ter and costly court bat­tle for roy­al­ties in 1999. ‘It was a big thing for all of us to get back to­gether,’ says Gary. ‘It wasn’t nice to live through that time when we weren’t talk­ing. When the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion came it was bril­liant. As far as the band is con­cerned I’d say I’ve changed. I hope I’m more laid-back.’

He looks at his brother. ‘You are,’ says Martin. ‘Def­i­nitely.’

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