Thousands of people gathered across Marlow’s High Street as former EastEnders actor and journalist Ross Kemp turned on the town’s Christmas lights.

The 55-year-old, who revealed to the Bucks Free Press that he has been living in the town for the last five years, was present at the event with his wife, his parents and children.

The popular celebrity was met with a huge round of applause when he made his way to the top of the bus, where he revealed his love for Marlow.

He said: “I first came here 25 years ago to play in a charity rugby match for a Scottish Grand Slam team and after the match, I decided to walk around Marlow and I just thought, ‘I want to live here one day.’

“I didn’t realise it would take me 20 years to afford a house here but I managed it!

“My good friend Russell Brand did the lights the year before last, I’m an ambassador at Genesis Gym and that gym has been a big part of my life.

“I love living here. Is it the history? Is it the fact that it’s attracted such famous names? Is it the fact that its architecture is so beautiful? Is it the location? The bridge? It’s all those things. It’s so beautiful.

“But overall, it’s the people.

“I couldn’t get used to people smiling at me when I first got here.

"People would come up and say hello and I thought, is it because they watch EastEnders but then I thought no, because they’re too posh to watch EastEnders.

“So, I got used to the Marlow smile after a while and I love it!”

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Ross was also very complimentary of the town’s restaurants and shops which included Marlow’s most popular toy shop, Marlow Toys.

He also revealed that when 2020 were to come around, he’ll be hoping to release two new documentaries.

The first one will be focusing on Belmarsh Prison, which is one of the UK’s most dangerous prisons (current inmates include the likes of Ian Huntley, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale), and the second documentary, called, ‘Living With…’ will see Ross meet people who are living with homelessness, young carers, online gambling and knife crime.

He said: “They’re very heavy subjects – hopefully, I’ll do a comedy soon!

“I’ve made 19 documentaries, had 15 years at Sky, now with ITV – but I’m a freelancer so you get where the work is.

“I also love being an actor and I would love to go back to acting at some point, but you’ve got to get cast first!

“So if Spielberg rings tomorrow, I won’t put the phone down on him.”

Richard Scott, Mayor of Marlow then: “It’s true that the people of Marlow make this a wonderful place to live and work, and we’re proud to be part of such a brilliant community.

“Many thanks to our sponsors for their support, and to Ross for being a fantastic guest and starting our Christmas season in such style!”