Actor and TV presenter Ross Kemp visited Crickhowell on Friday the 3rd of November to discuss his new book, titled 'Take Nothing for Granted'.

The actor, famed for his role as Grant Mitchell in EastEnders, greeted an audience at The Manor Hotel in Crickhowell, hosted by independent Crickhowell bookshop, Book-ish.

Taking to the stage, Ross spoke with Emma Corfield-Walters, owner of Book-ish, sharing stories of Barbara Windsor and his life documenting gangs around the world.

"It is great to be in Crickhowell," Ross said, addressing the audience. "I used to spend a lot of time in Wales with Little Haven and Broad Haven holidays. There was a Welsh teacher who reminded me of a Welsh druid wizard. He was an art teacher. I'd find myself at the back of the class but in art, he told me I was his best student after I drew a feather. He helped me see that I wanted to act."

His stories recounted filming with people abroad, accidentally proposing to a gang lord's daughter, and finding weapons in the homes he stayed in. Despite it all, it's something he loves doing. "I love people. I find people fascinating. Every person you meet has a story and I love that."

Touching upon EastEnders, Ross discussed his strong relationship with the late Barbara Windsor. "I knew Barbara for 28 years. She was the most kind person I knew, though you didn't want to get on the wrong side of her. I remember having a script that said Grant hits Peggy. I went to the scriptwriters and said 'we can't do this. This is career suicide for me.' So I go to Barbara and I agree to tap her gently, and she said 'okay, darling.' But she loved the drama. At this point, she's been in the show about a year, she wants to make her mark. I tap her lightly and she falls back like she's been hit by all the heavy weights. She takes out all the picture frames and literally flips over the sofa. When she comes up, the crew applauds, and she winks at me. I was getting two black bags of hate mail for five months, which she loved even more. She was a dear friend to me."

He recalls that Barbara's husband, Scott Mitchell, helped come up with the title of the book. When he asked Ross to write Barbara's eulogy, Ross was uncertain, until he found something that he took as a sign from her.

"When I was asked, I thought about it. I was in my office and I reached for something right at the top of my Welsh dresser. My hand touched something, I pulled it down, and it was a card from flowers she sent to me ten years ago. I decided then I would write it."

When discussing his successful career after EastEnders, Ross said: "It was hard to leave EastEnders, but not as hard as I thought it would be."

Discussing how his book was written, and why people should read it, he said: "It isn't written chronologically. It goes from thought to thought. It's easy to read. Five pages a chapter. When you read some autobiographies, they flow for so many pages. Not mine. It's like having a conversation over a beer with me."

Ross Kemp's autobiography, Take Nothing for Granted, is out now.