I brought my opinions with me and aired some of them at the meeting. I told Kemp and his crew that as Derry celebrated being the 'UK City of Culture', according to statistics two thirds of it's children were living in poverty and that West Belfast and the City were 3rd and 4th in the league of unemployment across the whole UK. Various other points were put to Kemp from other Republicans and he was asked as to whether or not he was genuine in having our voices heard.
For the briefest of seconds, as Kemp stared straight at us, I saw Grant Mitchell who had come to sort things. He then told us that he was a documentary maker, someone who wouldn't be told by Sky what to put in or leave out of his ... yes his documentaries.
It was generally accepted that Kemp was interested in broadcasting our views and that we had nothing to lose in trusting him.
A month or so later I lost over 4 and a half hours of my life as I hosted him and his crew at my home, taking them from the Hunger Strikes and the election result which cost 6 lives to the fact that the UK City of Culture was the British way of letting the natives tell the world that the city once known as Free Derry was now accepting it's place within the UK. They had gift wrapped surrender and it was eagerly accepted by so called Republicans.
I took him and his crew to the City Cemetery when he wanted to film on the Derry Walls and showed him the graves of IRA volunteers, some of whom were still in their teens when they died. Michael Meenan was only 16 when the bomb meant for a British Army sanger exploded on his lap in the back of a car, the driver a 17 year old miraculously survived.
They died, I said, to remove the British and let our people determine their own future and not as the recent Sinn Fein Mayor had the gall to tell those listening at these very graves just a month or so beforehand, so that events such as The One Big Weekend, which was held in the former Ebrington Barracks, could be claimed as being the legacy of The Struggle.
Kemp, when filming had wrapped up, asked me if I was sure I wanted everything I had said included. I told him in no uncertain terms that I did. He then told me I would likely get about only 5 minutes air time and I accepted that if I got that much then my time wasn't wasted.
Imagine my anger when last week, as I was about to take my son to Gaelic football, I got a phone call from one of Kemp's crew, Lena Ferguson. She told me that my interview wouldn't be going out, neither would the interviews of 8 others from Derry. The crux of the program will be given over to the rioting in Belfast over the Summer, she added somewhat apologetically ...
In other words the fecking Flegs.
It seems that once again the truth doesn't fit if it might undermine the peace process. And clearly the programme makers were really only interested in the sensationalism normally associated with Kemp, which he himself had assured us was a thing of the past.
I don't really blame Lena Ferguson, she seemed genuine enough. And it was her job, I suppose, to pass on the fact that Ross Kemp is still as much a documentary maker as is Dog the Bounty Hunter.
We live and learn.