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HE'S fearlessly faced violent gangsters and explored dangerous territories across the world – but TV tough guy Ross Kemp is preparing to take on his toughest challenge yet.
His career spanning more than three decades has seen Ross, 58, turn from soap actor to hit documentary-maker and presenter.
Now he's set to delight fans by making an epic return to the BBC where he'll host the second series of Bridge of Lies.
It follows a stonking debut hosting his very own quiz show in a surprise career twist.
But proving he's still determined to push himself out of his comfort zone, the EastEnders legend has joined forces to tackle the global plastic pandemic with "James Bond-style" technology created by Lyfecycle.
Ex-rugby player Ross will reveal the unique "self-destructing" cups in front of 82,000 rugby fans at Twickenham on Saturday, saying "it's like something out of 007".
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Speaking to The Sun about landing a second series of Bridge of Lies, Ross said: "It's something I never expected to do but I really enjoy it. When you get post-50 you should do the things you really enjoy in life.
"Sometimes I've done stuff that I didn't really want to do at points in my life, but now I'm diving around the world, doing a gameshow and making documentaries. Variety is the spice of life."
Lyfecycle uses a one-of-a-kind self-destructing plastic technology, built into the cups used by fans attending matches at Twickenham.
"My generation will be looked back on in history as the plastic generation and that's something I'd like to attempt to overturn in my lifetime," 58-year-old Ross told The Sun.
It's a campaign close to the TV star's heart, who added: "I don't want to leave a legacy for my grandchildren, should I ever have some, is that all we did was destroy the planet.
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"I'm not an anti-plastic single warrior, but Saturday will help create more awareness about Lyfecycle's game-changing technology.
"It's a great way for supporters to come together and help the environment by effectively having a good time."
Rugby fans will be encouraged to dispose of the cups in dedicated bins around the stadium so that they can be recycled.
But if a cup escapes into nature, the unique Lyfecycle technology means it will self-destruct on land within two years leaving no microplastics or toxins behind.
The cups collected are recycled through partnerships with recyclers and community partners to create limited-edition kicking tees and benches for youth rugby clubs used to inspire the next generation through grassroots rugby.
Ross – best known as Grant Mitchell in EastEnders – is now calling for sports stadiums around the world to put the power in the hands of the fans – and join the fight against plastic pollution.
On Saturday he'll speak to fans watching England vs South Africa about how every drink in the stadium helps to protect the oceans – and how Lyfecycle technology could stop 450 million tonnes of plastic from reaching oceans by 2040.
Ross said: "I've been making diving programmes for the past couple of years in and around British waters and the amount of plastic and dumping that goes on is staggering.
"In the ocean, you see fish with plastic stuck around them. We've seen seals with those things that go around beers round their necks or fins.
Unless you dive a lot you probably look out at the sea and think it's clean, but it's not and it's getting worse.
"Admittedly there's been a lot of ignorance in the last 40 years.
"But we have to start listening to the planet and if there's any technology we can use to aid and abet and to claw our way back then we should grab it with both hands.
Ross Kemp is one of Britain’s most recognisable TV stars, both from his iconic role as Grant Mitchell in EastEnders and from 90 documentaries on everything from shipwrecks to the NHS frontline during the COVID pandemic.
A passionate England rugby fan, he’s also a long-time campaigner against plastic pollution, having starred in the hard-hitting ‘The Trash Isles’ documentary backed by the Plastic Ocean Foundation and Al Gore as far back as 2017.
Ross Kemp says, "As a rugby fan, I couldn’t be prouder to be involved with Lyfecycle and Twickenham, where fan power is helping to change the world for the better. Small changes really are making a big difference here.
"This campaign allows rugby fans to proudly play their part in the battle against plastic pollution and to give something back to the next generation."
Lyfecycle spokesman added: Liepa Olsauskaite: "Plastic pollution is still out of control, and change is not happening fast enough – which is where Lyfecycle’s self-destructing technology and visionary partners like Twickenham come in.
"We are delighted that rugby fans at Twickenham have engaged so strongly with this campaign. We have to act now: if we continue down our current path, 450 million further tonnes of plastic will reach the oceans by 2040."
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Nils Braude, Managing Director of Twickenham Experience said: "We’re very proud to work with Lyfecycle to raise awareness of this issue – if other stadiums follow in our footsteps, the potential benefits for our planet could be enormous.
"For our fans, this is simply a win-win: they’re able to enjoy themselves, enjoy a drink in a free Lyfecycle cup, and at the same time, contribute to saving the oceans from plastic pollution.”
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