Martin John Kemp is an actor and musician. He is best known for playing Steve Owen in EastEnders and for being the bassist in Spandau Ballet.
At the age of 7, he began to attend the Anna Scher Children’s Theatre drama club with his brother, Gary, and appeared in many TV shows including Jackanory, The Tomorrow People and Dixon of Dock Green.
Martin’s life changed when Steve Dagger, the manager of his brother Gary’s band The Gentry, suggested he should replace the band’s bass player. Eventually the band would be renamed Spandau Ballet. Spandau Ballet were one of the most successful bands of the 1980s, achieving ten Top 10 singles and four Top 10 albums in the UK. Their third album True topped the charts around the world.
Martin and his brother Gary returned to acting in 1990, both of them appearing to great acclaim in the British film The Krays, in which they played the notorious gangster twins, Ronald and Reginald Kray.
Martin is also patron of The Encephalitis Society and confirmed that he had controlled his epilepsy since the 1990s, as a result of having two brain tumours. Following the tumours, Kemp had a protective metal plate implanted over his brain under the scalp.
He went on to become popular for his role as villain Steve Owen in EastEnders. His character was involved in some of the soap’s highest rated storylines, such as the Saskia Duncan murder and “Who Shot Phil?”.
Martin married his wife Shirlie Holliman in 1988. Shirlie is a former backing singer of the group Wham! and one half of the 1980s pop duo Pepsi & Shirlie.
Martin’s first film as director was Stalker, starring Anna Brecon and Jane March in 2011.