Martin Kemp reveals how his brain tumours have shaped his relationship with his kids Roman and Harley

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Kemp family. The youngest member of the clan, presenter Roman, 27, has followed in his parents’ showbiz footsteps to host the popular Capital FM breakfast show.

Meanwhile, the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! star’s older sister Harley Moon, 30, has carved out a successful career in photography and is also a songwriter.

The siblings, of course, know exactly who to turn to when it comes to advice. Their mother, Shirlie, rose to fame as a backing singer for Wham! in the early 1980s and later formed pop duo Pepsi & Shirlie, while their father, Martin, 58, was Spandau Ballet’s bassist and later played iconic EastEnders villain Steve Owen.

But despite their showbiz credentials, don’t expect any diva demands from the Kemps. The family are incredibly close, and gratitude, Martin and Roman tell OK! magazine, is important to them all.

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Fans were given an insight into the father and son’s relationship on Celebrity Gogglebox and now the duo have landed their very own ITV show, Martin & Roman’s Sunday Best!.

The venture is the perfect opportunity for the pair to get together, with Roman currently isolating with his girlfriend Anne-Sophie Flury at their London home, while his parents live in Hertfordshire. The show will be filmed in a studio, with all guests and presenters adhering to two metre social distancing rules.

Here, Martin and Roman talk creative differences and sibling rivalries…

You’re close as a family. Has it been difficult being apart during isolation?

Martin: Oh my goodness, yes, but it’s a difficult time for everybody, isn’t it? It’s the strangest thing that has ever happened in our lifetime, so it’s something we all have to get our heads around.

Roman, you’re a very busy man with radio and now a TV show. Did you learn your work ethic from your dad?

Roman: To be honest, the work ethic came from wanting to emulate my sister. She just hit the ground running straightaway. Still to this day, she’s one of the hardest working people I know. So I was always, I guess, subconsciously competing with her and I still am. We’ve just always made sure we all push each other to the max, while always remembering how lucky we are to be able to do the jobs we do.

Martin: I think that’s all part of a work ethic, when you appreciate what you are doing. I’ve always said to Ro, the best thing you can do in life is to turn your hobby into your job. If you can do that, then that is real success. I think if you grasp that, then work ethic becomes easy.

Do you ever bicker or have creative differences on work projects?

Roman: We have creative differences all the time! But we’re so close, they never turn into a bicker, they’re just an adult discussion. My dad has always taught me that even if someone puts forward an idea that isn’t quite right, you think, how do I turn it into a positive?

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As a family, do you all tell each other when you’re proud of each other?

Martin: Oh God, yeah!

Roman: My mum is definitely the person who pushes me the most. I could send a picture of myself anywhere and my dad would be like, “Oh my God, that’s brilliant!” He’s constantly complimenting my sister and me and telling us how great we are. But it takes quite a lot to impress my mum and it actually helps a little bit because it keeps me motivated. My mum is always very grounded.

Martin: [Laughs] I’ve always believed that confidence breeds confidence and makes you better. I’m not one for knocking anybody in what they do. I’d rather give them confidence and let them build from that.

Roman, your girlfriend has said the best thing about dating you is your family. How do you both feel about that?

Martin: Aww!

Roman: It’s true – that’s what she thinks. She loves how close we all are and how close she has become to them. It’s really nice. I’m so fortunate that we are so open with each other and just have a good time.

Martin, has Roman ever brought a girl home you disapproved of?

No, not at all! I think because of the way we grew up together – Roman, Harley, me and Shirlie – we were kind of like a bunch of friends. And when you have a friendship group and bring someone new in, usually they are pretty much similar to the rest of your group already. So I don’t think Roman would bring in somebody who is completely left-field.

Martin, you recovered from two brain tumours in 1995. Do you think that experience has made you and Roman closer?

Martin: When I was going through that, Roman was really young, so I’m not even sure how much he remembers. But I think
as a family, it still rubs off on you. It makes you appreciate each other because you learn that you never know what’s around the corner. We’re all learning that right now. My health battles were a long time ago, but it was a real shock and I think it stayed with me and Shirlie and, in a way, was passed down to Harley and Roman.

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How are you feeling about working together again on Martin & Roman’s Sunday Best!?

Martin: I can’t wait. Roman and I had such a great time on Gogglebox and this is taking that fun that we had and making
a show out of it. Gogglebox was Roman’s idea and it took a while for him to talk me into it. But once we shot the first one, the fun we were having was just so nice. Ro left home years ago, so it was nice to be able to see him every week.

Roman: Growing up I was always told, “Oh, your dad is the scary one off TV – the villain.” Gogglebox gave people the chance to see who he really is and showed the relationship that I have with him, so I’m just really grateful that we get to show more of that.

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Who would you really love to get on your show?

Roman: I still just love Ant and Dec. They are two of my favourite people on the planet and it was an absolute treat to see them every day in the jungle, albeit a nervous time.

Martin: I would like Ed Sheeran because you could get him to come on and have fun and all you need to give him is a tiny acoustic guitar – so he’s really cheap [laughs].

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