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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 October 2005, 13:20 GMT
Kemp's EastEnders return extended
Ross Kemp
Ross Kemp is one of EastEnders' most familiar faces
Actor Ross Kemp, who recently returned to BBC One soap EastEnders, has signed up to star in the show for another three months from early next year.

Kemp, who plays hard man Grant Mitchell, returned with Steve McFadden who plays his brother Phil.

Their return boosted the soap's flagging ratings to 13 million viewers and a 52.9% audience share on Monday.

Kemp left the show in 1999 to join ITV, and had returned initially on a three-week deal.

The actors are the latest favourites to return to the soap, following Barbara Windsor and Leslie Grantham, whose character Den Watts was killed off in February.

TV ratings

McFadden made a fleeting return to the show in April after a year away and is now back for a longer run.

Mike Reid is lined up to come back as Frank Butcher in December.

EastEnders has been trailing ITV1's Coronation Street in the ratings, just ahead of Emmerdale.

In September, EastEnders drew its lowest audience in more than five years with 6.6 million viewers tuning in to one episode.

However, more than 14 million people watched the demise of Den Watts in February, in an episode marking the programme's 20th anniversary.

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