Before filming for the Channel 4 series could begin at Brixton prison in south London, Fortress Technology installed one of its conveyor-based Vector metal detector units.
The metal detector was supplied to TV production company One Potato, Two Potato, in order to check cakes emerging from what became known as the ‘Bad Boy Bakery’.
The detector helped to ensure the cakes complied with food hygiene and safety standards before being sold outside the prison.
Kimberley Sangster, Production Manager at One Potato, Two Potato, said: “It’s a very complicated security process making a TV series inside a prison. Fortress gave us a reliable piece of equipment that played a vital role in the overall premise of the show.”
Phil Brown, sales director at Fortress Technology, said: “Our Vector conveyor systems are built to perform in the harshest of environments. But we never expected to be asked to install one in an inner London prison and certainly not for a television show!”
The detector uses a range of belt sizes using heavy duty or plastic modular belting. It also has a selection of reject mechanisms.
During the four-part documentary Ramsay taught inmates to produce cakes − such as lemon treacle slices − with the aim of selling them to retail and catering outlets and forming a new business.
The first episode of Gordon Behind Bars saw viewing an audience of 3.7M.
In an interview with Channel 4, Ramsay said: “This isn't just a ‘let's go and cook along with Gordon in prison’ thing. The idea came from the fact that there are about 80,000 inmates across the country now.
"It was about getting them doing something with their time, giving something back, and also getting job-ready. The biggest problem is the re-offending percentages, people just go round and round in the system.”
Cooking in a prison brought special challenges, he added. “If someone wanted a knife or a peeler or a spatula or a plastic scraper, you'd have to go to the shadow board on the wall, take out what you wanted, sign for it, give them a number.
They weren’t allowed to have more than two utensils out at any one time. When one thing went missing, it was bedlam, the place would be on lockdown, everyone would be searched, and you’ve lost half a day.”
So did Ramsay lose his temper in prison? “I had to walk on eggshells, because it was very fragile, insecure, awkward temperaments that I was dealing with. Every time something went wrong, you could tell it was going to kick off,” he said.
“They did push my buttons, and I did get upset, because there’s only so much you can take before you get to boiling point. And I did end up letting rip in the end.”