Roman Kemp: 'I have Bart Simpson's face tattooed on my leg'

The Capital FM breakfast presenter and son of Martin Kemp recounts his lifelong love of The Simpsons and Friends

Growing up, I couldn’t stop watching The Simpsons. I first saw it when I was seven when I went to visit my cousin at uncle Gary’s house. He has this beautiful cottage in the Cotswolds, a very nice place, but when you’re a kid, it was the most boring place on earth because he didn’t have a working TV. Luckily, my cousin had just bought a VHS player that he managed to hook up to an old screen, and he showed me how it worked with a tape of the Simpsons.

He played the episode where Homer and Ned got married in Las Vegas, and I was hooked from that moment on. I just found it so funny, and I loved Homer especially. I couldn’t stop doing the impressions of the characters, and I bought all of the VHS series of it I could find.

When it was on TV, I wouldn’t miss it. Every single day I’d come home from school, have my dinner early and watch it. Now that it’s all on Disney+, I regularly rewatch my favourite episodes.

The Simpsons
The Simpsons: ‘I became so obsessed with the show, I even wanted my parents to change my name to Bart.’ Photograph: Fox

I still think Homer and Ned getting married in Vegas is one of my favourites and as I grew to love Bart as I went into my teenage years, I became so obsessed with the show, I even wanted my parents to change my name to Bart at one point.

I’m such a fan that I’ve got a tattoo of Bart’s face on my leg. There’s an episode where he drinks the super squishy, and I was going to get that, but then I thought I should just do the outline of the classic Bart face. It’s one of my most recent tattoos out of the 20 or so that I have.

The show has been a constant in my life – it’s always been there for me, it’s my comfort and where I learned so much humour. The Simpsons, Friends and the movies of Jim Carrey were the three things that really shaped my childhood.

Being a guest voice on the Simpsons is the No 1 thing I’d love to do. The other day, my colleagues at Capital surprised me with an interview with Nancy Cartwright, who is the voice of Bart Simpson, and I was so starstruck. She was phenomenal, giving us bits of Bart’s voice and Nelson and Martin. To say that I’ve interviewed Bart is just the most insane thing.

Roman Kemp
Roman Kemp as a child, with his mother Shirlie Holliman and sister Harley Moon. Photograph: Handout
Friends: ‘My favourite is Ross, although I’m probably more like Chandler, with the bad jokes.’ Photograph: NBC/NBC via Getty Images

Other than The Simpsons, Friends helped me to grow up. There’s a lot of adult humour in there that I was exposed to, even when I was really young. Me, my sister and my mum would watch it together, and we must have seen every episode at least three times by now – we can quote it all. My dad hates Friends; he never used to say why, he just doesn’t seem to get it.

My favourite friend is Ross, though I’m probably more like Chandler, with the bad jokes. Interviewing one of their cast members is the next thing on my wishlist.

Martin & Roman’s Weekend Best is on ITV on Saturdays and Sundays at 8.30am.


As told to Ammar Kalia

The GuardianTramp

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