ENTERTAINMENT
16/04/2020 12:52 BST | Updated 16/04/2020 13:38 BST

Ross Kemp Defends His Controversial ITV Documentary On Coronavirus

Many were unimpressed that the former EastEnders star could film in a hospital where patients' families are not allowed to visit.

Ross Kemp has spoken out in defence of his upcoming documentary about coronavirus.

The former EastEnders star recently announced that he was filming a new programme in a Milton Keynes, focussing on the NHS staff members working to help those who have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

During filming, Ross has been photographed wearing personal protective equipment, which has been criticised by many because of a national shortage of PPE.

The documentary has also been criticised for allowing Ross into hospital wards where patients are dying, something relatives are not currently permitted to do.

Addressing the controversy during Thursday’s Good Morning Britain, Ross explained that he “understood” why families may be upset.

They are being separated for the reason the NHS don’t want to spread the virus any further than they can possibly help it,” he said.

“We were only in for a very short period of time, and we went in there with the NHS’s blessing and with the blessing of the hospital staff because they want to tell their story, and hopefully by telling that story we will reassure the public, particularly those who are suffering at the moment because their loved ones are in hospital.”

Sharing his intention behind the upcoming documentary, Ross continued: “The film is about trying to show in just 48 hours how all the staff of the NHS are doing such sterling work on our behalf, how they are saving lives.

“But it’s also an opportunity for them to talk to us, to tell us what their concerns are, what their fears are, and how they are overcoming them, and also to say what we can do to help them do their job better and also what we should be doing to help beat it.

“There are some really important pieces of information that only frontline staff can really explain properly, and that is the point of the film – it’s to reassure people who are understandably concerned and worried and slightly angry about what is going on at the moment.” 

ITV
Ross Kemp during his Good Morning Britain interview

Earlier this week, the Milton Keynes hospital where the documentary is being filmed defended their decision to allow production to go ahead in a lengthy statement.

There is a lot of anxiety and confusion both about the NHS’ ability to meet the pressures of Covid-19 and the type of care that is being offered to those that have the virus,” they said.

“After discussions with NHS England, we believed it was important to give a mainstream media outlet controlled access to the hospital so that the public could be informed and reassured about the response of hospitals to Covid-19.”

They added: “At a time when there is anxiety nationally about the spread of Covid-19 and the NHS’s ability to respond to the pressures the virus will bring, we felt it was important to give a true account on the work being done in hospitals and in community settings, and the measures being taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We hope that the programme will help to reinforce the message that it is important for members of the public to stay at home and protect the NHS.”

The first part of Ross Kemp On The NHS airs tonight at 8.30pm on ITV, while Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 6am.