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Ross Kemp Heads Inside Britain's Most Notorious Prison Nicknamed 'HMP Hellmarsh'

Ross Kemp Heads Inside Britain's Most Notorious Prison Nicknamed 'HMP Hellmarsh'

Ross Kemp is set to go behind bars in a gritty new documentary airing next week.

The EastEnders hard man, best known for playing leather jacket-wearing womaniser Grant Mitchell, will meet some of Britain's most infamous prisoners including terrorists and serial killers in ITV's Welcome to Belmarsh With Ross Kemp.

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Kemp, 55, has carved out a successful career in crime docs since leaving the world of soaps - including Sky One's Ross Kemp On Gangs.

But his latest venture may just be his most daring yet as he goes inside the notorious south-east London jail that's been nicknamed 'Hellmarsh' by insiders.

Over the years, it has been home to the likes of Soham killer Ian Huntley, black cab rapist John Worboys and hate preacher Anjem Choudary among others.

The notorious jail has been nicknamed 'HMP Hellmarsh' (Credit: PA)
The notorious jail has been nicknamed 'HMP Hellmarsh' (Credit: PA)
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Adrian Knight, head of prisoner safety at HMP Belmarsh, said: "We will take anyone. We've had war criminals in here for genocide. There's not one prisoner in the country that we won't take.

"We've got 17 convicted terrorists, 187 murderers, prisoners that have killed three or four people."

Kicking off on Thursday 9th January, the two-part series promises "a sharp insight into the harsh realities of life behind bars at arguably the country's most notorious jail".

Cameras gained full access to the Thamesmead prison for the first time, following Kemp over six months to find out what life is really like inside the maximum security lock-up that has housed some of the country's most dangerous - and infamous - convicts.

Kemp has carved out a successful career as an investigative journalist (Credit: ITV)
Kemp has carved out a successful career as an investigative journalist (Credit: ITV)

The dad-of-four sees how staff cope with high-profile inmates, extremists and common criminals living side by side, and it sounds like seriously compelling viewing.

Staff at Belmarsh say a sharp rise in gang crime outside the walls has led to a spike in violence and serious containment issues for the prison - putting both staff and inmates at risk.

When it opened in 1991, HMP Belmarsh was the first male prison to be built in London for over 100 years. A new breed of 'super-max jail', it was designed to take criminals considered a threat to national security, including IRA terrorists.

We can't wait to see what ITV's latest doc has in store (Credit: ITV)
We can't wait to see what ITV's latest doc has in store (Credit: ITV)

It has its own guard dog unit, a bomb-proof tunnel linking it to Woolwich Crown Court - and a so-called 'prison within a prison' with its own 20ft-high concrete wall and with doors opened remotely by central control.

Previous occupants have included KGB agents, train robber Ronnie Biggs and Charles Bronson - and Ross interviews one prisoner, Muhammad Asif Hafeez, known as the Sultan, who might look unassuming but is in fact the alleged mastermind of a drug-smuggling empire.

In one episode, the jail goes into lockdown as a protest unfolds outside the walls, because of a high-profile prisoner inside.

Belmarsh was the first 'super-max jail' when it was first built (Credit: ITV)
Belmarsh was the first 'super-max jail' when it was first built (Credit: ITV)

In conclusion, this is one doc you won't want to miss.

Begins Thursday 9th January at 9pm on ITV

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: True Crime, TV News, Eastenders, Prisons

Unity Blott

Unity Blott is the Editor at Tyla and joined the team in April 2019. You can contact her on [email protected]

 

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