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George Michael got Martin Kemp EastEnders job in return for cheeky favour

Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp has revealed music legend George Michael got him the job on EastEnders in return for wearing his jumper.

Martin, 59, bagged the part of double-dealing businessman Steve Owen after Wham! icon George put him in touch with an EastEnders producer.

Careless Whisper singer George, who died on Christmas Day in 2016, was apparently a huge fan of the soap.

Martin shared the secret on his chat show ITV’s Weekend Best yesterday: “George was such an EastEnders fan. He got me the part, in EastEnders, as Steve Owen. Yeah, he pushed me through the door!

“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!'”

Martin Kemp revealed his pal George Michael got him the job on EastEnders

Weekend Best guest and fellow EastEnders actor Shane Ritchie, who played unlucky in love Alfie Moon, asked his former colleague if he obliged.

“Yeah I did yeah,” said Martin. “I sneaked it on and put it on for him and he loved it!”

Shane, 56, who played one of the soap’s best loved characters, added: “And he loved June Brown (Dot Cotton)!” as Martin replied: “He was a beautiful, beautiful man. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

Martin’s wife Shirlie, who was Wham!’s backing singer, has previously revealed their friend George used to search their home trying to get a sneak peak of the EastEnders scripts.

George Michael
George was apparently a huge fan of the BBC soap

Martin Kemp as Steve Owen in EastEnders
Martin played dodgy businessman Steve Owen

Shirlie, 58, said: “He was obsessed. He would come round and open drawers, snooping about.”

The couple have a lot to thank the music legend for after he introduced them when they expressed an interest in one another.

In 1982, Martin was the bassist in Spandau Ballet, while Shirlie was a backing vocalist for Wham!.

Martin says: “I remember being around my mum and dad’s, my back was up against the sofa because I was sitting on the floor, watching Thursday night Top Of The Pops and Wham! came on.”

Knowing how besotted Shirlie was with Martin, George decided to arrange a meeting, and when the band turned up at a theatre premiere, called him over.

George Michael got Martin Kemp EastEnders job in return for cheeky favour
Martin’s wife Shirlie was a backing singer for Wham!

Shirlie, who grew up on a council estate in Bushey, near Watford, Hertforshire, said: “I thought he might be out of my league. I left his number in my pocket for ages. George was like, ‘I just don’t understand why you’re not calling him’.

“I told him it was intimidating to call him. I mean, he was – he is – just so gorgeous.

“It was George who called Martin in the end. We were in his bedroom, and he picked up the phone, dialled the number and just gave me the phone. I was in at the deep end by then.”

Roman Kemp was George Michael's godson
Roman Kemp was George Michael’s godson

George Michael got Martin Kemp EastEnders job in return for cheeky favour

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Martin, who grew up in Islington, London said: “I really don’t think Shirlie would have called me if he hadn’t done that. We owe him everything.

“And he went on to be a massive part of our lives. He wasn’t George Michael the superstar, he was one of our best mates.”

Martin’s Weekend Best co-host is his son Roman, 28, who was George’s godson.


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