Ross Kemp is facing a fierce backlash after he announced his latest hard-hitting documentary will see him in a NHS hospital documenting staff fighting on the coronavirus frontline.
The documentary maker and former EastEnders star is often praised for his fearless style while exploring various issues, but many feel he has missed the mark with his latest project, which one fan labelled “disgusting”.
Kemp took to Twitter to announce the project, entitled Ross Kemp: On the NHS Frontline on Friday (10 April).
He posted a video of himself outside Milton Keynes University Hospital saying: “My team and I have been embedded in Milton Keynes hospital to tell the story of COVID-19 to show you the sacrifices that NHS staff are making on our behalf.”
We’ve been filming on the frontline with @NHSuk staff as they deal with the coronavirus pandemic and we’ve been following the patients who are fighting Covid-19. First episode of Ross Kemp: On the NHS Frontline airs next Thursday 8.30 @itv. Please watch #COVIDー19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/PlW96pnyPX
— Ross Kemp (@RossKemp) April 10, 2020
He captioned the post: “We’ve been filming on the frontline with @NHSuk staff as they deal with the coronavirus pandemic and we’ve been following the patients who are fighting COVID-19.”
He then posted a second tweet of himself inside the hospital wearing personal protective equipment.
It was captioned: “I’ve just been fitted for PPE and we’re about to go into an intensive care unit at Milton Keynes Hospital to witness the incredible efforts of medics treating COVID-19 patients. Please note we won’t be depleting the hospital’s PPE stock.”
But the posts were met with a very negative response, with many pointing out people were dying without loved ones being able to visit, while Kemp and a film crew were permitted access.
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One wrote: “Mate, this is disgusting. Why you in there with film crew n that when family members can't visit their loved ones??
“You're allowed in there but my mate can't see his dying mum??”
Another sarcastically put: “Is that my family coming to see me before I die, no no that’s just Ross Kemp and a camera crew, gonna film this if you don’t mind.”
Another tweeted: “Wow mate, ur really not getting it at all. I have enjoyed all your documentaries but this, ur work is not essential.
“NHS rushed off their feet but having a tv star and film crew going about the wards distracting them for whatever channel this is for to make money. Let them get on.”
One follower called it a “very, very bad” idea: “I think the whole country knows what an incredible effort is being done in these places & by the #NHS as a whole.
“If I was lying in ICU, you with a camera is the very last thing I’d want to see, especially as family are forbidden. Bad idea Ross! Very very bad!”
But the 55-year-old had backing from the hospital, with its official Twitter account tweeting the project had been “risk assessed” and agreed to with NHS England.
We have agreed to give to @RossKemp & a small crew access to capture the amazing efforts of NHS staff in response to #COVID19
This access has been risk assessed & agreed in discussion w/@NHSEngland. We believe it’s in the public interest to show them how hospitals are preparing https://t.co/MyHkZEuvI9
— Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS FT (@MKHospital) April 10, 2020
“This access has been risk assessed & agreed in discussion w/@NHSEngland. We believe it’s in the public interest to show them how hospitals are preparing.
“We are spending minimal time in high risk areas & are ensuring the crew are wearing full PPE, as per national guidelines.
“As @RossKemp says, they are replacing any PPE used. We hope this show will provide the general public with vital info & reassurance.”
Ross Kemp: On the NHS Frontline will air 16 April at 8.30pm on ITV