Pure Gold:

Martin Kemp; ac­tor, singer, hearthrob. And he’s com­ing to Great Yar­mouth

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE -

He has been adored as the bass player bass in one of Bri­tain’s big­gest pop bands – and feared on screen as a mur­der­ous East End vil­lain.

But it will be the up­beat ver­sion of Martin Kemp who rides into Great Yar­mouth race­course on a wave of 1980s mu­si­cal nos­tal­gia.

When the thunder of hooves dies out af­ter the last race of Ladies’ Night on Wed­nes­day July

17, he will spin up the sounds of the era when he and Span­dau Bal­let were top­ping the charts with their new ro­man­tic hits.

Martin said his Back to the 80s DJ set was “the most fun ever” and would be a cel­e­bra­tion of “great songs and new sounds” to “re-live the best time of our lives”.

For him, it meant six al­bums sell­ing more than 25mil­lion copies, 10 top-10 sin­gles in­clud­ing Gold, True, and Through the Bar­ri­cades, be­fore Span­dau split in the early 90s af­ter a roy­al­ties dis­pute, and then re­united in 2009 with a sell-out world tour and new al­bum.

Asked about the high­lights of the Span­dau years, he said: “So many high­lights from num­ber 1 records and Live Aid to get­ting back to­gether in 2009! It was quite a journey!”

While many pop stars’ ca­reers fiz­zle out af­ter a brief bub­ble in

the charts, Martin con­tin­ues to sparkle – thanks to the many strings to his show­biz bow.

Mu­si­cian, stage and screen ac­tor, au­thor, direc­tor and tal­ent show judge, the 58-year-old’s life re­mains busy.

Martin, born in Islington, London ,on Oc­to­ber 10, 1961, was sent to a lo­cal drama club aged seven with brother Gary – when his mum thought it would help over­come child­hood shy­ness. It worked.

Af­ter the ex­cesses of Span­dau’s hey­days, he found movie ac­claim as no­to­ri­ous gang­ster Reg­gie Kray – along­side brother Gary as Ron­nie. Martin said it was his favourite act­ing role: “That story was a leg­end where I grew up so the re­spon­si­bil­ity to do it jus­tice was im­mense.”

His TV fame was topped as East En­ders baddie Steve Owen, who fea­tured in top story lines in­clud­ing ‘Who Killed Phil?’ be­fore his own char­ac­ter was killed off in 2002.

Martin also re­called a spell liv­ing in a Nor­folk ho­tel while film­ing the six-part TV se­ries Grow­ing Rich, by Death of a She Devil au­thor Fay Wel­don in 1992, when he played the devil dou­bling as a suave chauf­feur. It was set in a fic­tional East Anglia vil­lage and Martin loved his stay in the county.

He and wife, Wham! back­ing singer Shirley, whom he mar­ried in 1988, have a ra­dio DJ son Ro­man and a pho­tog­ra­pher/ film­maker daugh­ter ,Har­ley Moon. His ap­pre­ci­a­tion of life and fam­ily was height­ened by hav­ing two brain tu­mours re­moved in the late 1990s.

But he has bounced back and is as busy as ever, hav­ing di­rected two fea­ture films (hor­ror/ thriller

Stalker in 2011 and crime drama

Top Dog in 2014), and en­joyed stage roles as record pro­ducer Sam Philips in the Mil­lion Dol­lar Quar­tet mu­si­cal, Cap­tain Hook in

Peter Pan at the world’s big­gest panto in Wem­b­ley Arena in 2017, and Billy Flynn in

Chicago in 2018.

He came third in Celebrity Big Brother in 2012 – won by Julian Clary. Martin’s com­bi­na­tion of mu­si­cal­ity and stage pres­ence saw him as a judge on the Let It Shine TV tal­ent se­ries seek­ing a cast for the mu­si­cal fea­tur­ing the songs of Take That.

Last year he ap­peared on Bear Grylls’ Celebrity Is­land, los­ing two stone and learn­ing to savour his food and fam­ily life even more af­ter ev­ery­thing was stripped away.

Martin says he en­joys act­ing and mu­sic equally, adding: “I like to look at en­ter­tain­ment as one big bub­ble... and ev­ery­thing inside that are my hob­bies!”

Great Yar­mouth Race­course direc­tor Glenn Tubby said: “I re­mem­ber Span­dau Bal­let very well from the 80s when I was at school so it’s ex­cit­ing to have Martin booked for Ladies’ Nights to play some of the best tracks from that iconic era.

“Ladies’ Night is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity each year and Martin is now our third celebrity DJ fol­low­ing on from Sara Cox and Me­lanie C.”

Ladies’ Night and Martin Kemp’s Back to the 80s DJ set are on Wed­nes­day July 17. Gates open 3.30pm. There are seven races from 5.35pm to 8.40pm. For tick­ets and more in­for­ma­tion see great­yarmouthra­ce­course.co.uk or call 01493 842527.

ABOVE: Martin Kemp – still a favourite “I like to look at en­ter­tain­ment as one big bub­ble... and ev­ery­thing inside that are my hob­bies!”

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