Ross Kemp, the British actor who rose to fame on Eastenders before going on to become a BAFTA award-winning investigative journalist, says he is not returning to the soap for its 30th anniversary episode. Kemp, 50, says he cannot join his on-screen mother Peggy (Barbara Windsor) because of prior filming commitments.

Ross KempRoss Kemp is now a BAFTA winning journalist

"I can't join her [Windsor]. It's just about space in my diary," Kemp - who played hard-man Grant Mitchell - told the Gloucester Citizen.

"I would never rule out going back to EastEnders, I owe it a heck of a lot. I think it's a great show," he added.

Recent speculation had suggested Kemp was planning a surprise return to Albert Square for a reunion with Barbara Windsor and Steve McFadden, who plays his brother Phil Mitchell.

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Windsor is already confirmed for the soap's 30th anniversary episode, set to air in February.

"I am absolutely thrilled that Peggy has been included in the celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of EastEnders," the actress said, "What an incredible achievement for all the production, cast and crew, past and present."

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In December, it was reported that Eastenders programme chief Dominic Treadwell was in talk with Kemp for a potential comeback.

"The 30th anniversary is going to be one of the biggest events ever in the soap," a source told the Daily Star on Sunday at the time.

"With Barbara having already agreed to return the next name on Dom's list is Ross."

"He would love nothing more than to bring Peggy back to Albert Square with both her boys"

The EastEnders live week of episodes starts on Monday February 16, 2015. The identity of Lucy Beale's killer will finally be revealed.