Martin Kemp reveals how George Michael got him his EastEnders role and even picked his soap wardrobe

10 May 2021, 14:34

By Giorgina Hamilton

Martin Kemp has revealed George Michael was instrumental in getting him his role as Steve Owen in Eastenders in 1998 – ans demanded he wear one of his jumpers on screen in return.

Martin Kemp says George Michael landed him his famous role of soap opera EastEnders.

The Spandau Ballet, 59, star told viewers of his ITV weekend show that George not only got him his part on the show but insisted on dictating his wardrobe choices in return.

See more: 8 times George Michael stunned strangers with private acts of charity

Speaking on his show Martin and Roman's Weekend Best on Saturday (May 8) said the 'Careless Whisper' singer was a huge fan of EastEnders and 'loved' it that Martin 'snuck' on the the star's jumpers into a scene.

Martin Kemp says George Michael landed him his famous role of soap opera EastEnders. Pictured on set in 1998.
Martin Kemp says George Michael landed him his famous role of soap opera EastEnders. Pictured on set in 1998. Picture: PA Images
"George was such an EastEnders fan," Martin Kemp said. The singer pictured in 2005.
"George was such an EastEnders fan," Martin Kemp said. The singer pictured in 2005. Picture: Getty

"George was such an EastEnders fan," Martin Kemp said.

"He got me the part, in EastEnders, as Steve Owen. Yeah, he pushed me through the door!" he told his son Roman Kemp and guests Sui Ruffell and ex-Eastenders actor Shane Richie.

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"Then he said to me, 'One thing I want in return... here's one of my jumpers, sneak it on one day, you have to wear it in one of the scenes!'"

Shane Richie asked: "Did you actually do it?" with Martin replying: "Yeah I did yeah, I sneaked it on and put it on for him and he loved it!"

Martin Kemp and George Michael were lifelong friends. Martin pictured with Andrew Ridgeley in 2019.
Martin Kemp and George Michael were lifelong friends. Martin pictured with Andrew Ridgeley in 2019. Picture: Getty

Shane then went onto reveal more about how much George Michael liked the soap: "And he loved June Brown (Dot Cotton)!"

Martin Kemp then said: "He was a beautiful, beautiful man. I can't speak highly enough of him."

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George Michael also famously set up Martin and his wife Shirlie Kemp (née Holliman) who starred in Wham! with George and Andrew Ridgeley in the 1980s, with George even chaperoning their first date.

Speaking on The One Show in October 2020, Martin and Shirlie Kemp said that George had helped them so much in his lifetime.

Speaking on The One Show in October 2020, Martin and Shirlie Kemp said that George had helped them so much in his lifetime. The Kemp family (pictured L to R): Martin Kemp, Harley Moon Kemp, Shirlie Holliman and Roman Kemp
Speaking on The One Show in October 2020, Martin and Shirlie Kemp said that George had helped them so much in his lifetime. The Kemp family (pictured L to R): Martin Kemp, Harley Moon Kemp, Shirlie Holliman and Roman Kemp. Picture: Getty

Martin said: "He had a big hand in all our life to be honest. Putting us together. He was the guy that made the phone call to me to get Shirlie to come out [on the night of their first date].

"He dialled the numbers on the telephone. He got me the job in EastEnders," explained Martin.

See more: George Michael behind the scenes: Pictures of the off-duty star in his early years

"He looked after us in more ways that you can ever imagine."

The three were great friends up until George Michael's untimely death on December 25, 2016.