As fans of former EastEnders star Ross Kemp will most likely know, he’s back on our screens on Monday with a new series of Ross Kemp: Extreme World, which airs on Sky1 at 9pm.
And ahead of the new series, Ross has told TV Biz that of all the war-torn and dangerous areas of the world that he’s visited while filming for the show, he found Glasgow to be by far one of the “toughest places”.
Which is going some, given that he’s been on the front lines in Afghanistan, and spent time with deadly drug lords and gang members…
However, Ross revealed that in one scene for the new series, he met with an alcoholic who pulled off his own toes and put them in a jar!
Of the shocking incident, Ross said, “The man who came to the door looked like he was about to die. He was my age, 47.
“He said he couldn’t get out to claim his money and said, ‘I pulled my toes off’…
“I said, ‘Excuse me?’ He said, ‘Aye, they are over there in the jar by the telly.’
“He brings it over to me, pulls out a big toe… the bone is still sticking out the back of it.
“He told me they had been giving him so much pain — the circulation had gone because of the alcohol.
“He did show us his feet but that’s not on the programme. The toes were bad enough.”
Ross went on to say that the man’s fridge contained only a pack of sausages and burgers, and that his microwave was “glued together” with congealed, fly-studded fat.
The man also had the Samaritans’ phone number scrawled on the wall behind a door.
However, Ross added, “It’s not about having a go at Glasgow. It’s about looking at the UK in general, how much money we spend on welfare — £100billion a year.
“Yet in some areas of the country poverty levels are on a par with those of the developing world.
“We still have 3.6million kids living in poverty — Tony Blair missed out on his promise by nearly four million.”
But of course, the horrors of the most poverty stricken areas of Glasgow aren’t the only shocking scenes that we’ll see, and Ross added, “In Tanzania, we saw the explosion of albinos being killed for their bones, as people believe that their body parts can be used in potions which will help them find gold.
“In Kenya, this old lady was killed, she was beaten and set on fire in the name of witchcraft.
“Witchcraft has been there since before Christianity and Islam — who are we tell them that it is wrong?
“When I went to a leper colony in Eastern Africa, I got really upset.
“It was the only place where the albinos can find sanctuary and that upset me, mainly because they hadn’t been fed for four days and the guy who ran the place was as fat as me on chocolate cake.
”When we went to a gold mine, there were kids as young as seven operating it. There are lots of things that upset you.”
However, modest Ross – who we’ll also see dodging bullets yet again this series – reckons he isn’t at all brave to have journeyed to some of the world’s most dangerous places.
He said, “There is nothing brave about it. I never think about the fact that I’m putting my life on the line.
“It’s not like I go out there without thinking about it, it is all calculated risks.
“I do like my life and I do have a family to look after.”
Well, personally, I class what Ross does as brave, to wit, the paper adds, “When he entered one of Venezuela’s most notorious prisons, he found a jail controlled by the inmates, where yard-long plastic tables were covered with crack cocaine.”
Of that, Ross said, “Everyone was selling crack, there were pigs coming through, women having sex with blokes, girls having tattoos done, people being pierced… all in the prison.
“And there were definitely people dead in the hammocks, people naked on the floor who didn’t look alive.”
Don’t miss the new series of Ross Kemp: Extreme World, which as mentioned, starts on Sky1 on Monday at 9pm.