‘It’s a s***hole’ says Gordon Ramsay of Banbury’s Bretch Hill

Born Famous, Bretch Hill teenager George and Jack Ramsay NNL-190608-111752001
Born Famous, Bretch Hill teenager George and Jack Ramsay NNL-190608-111752001

Banbury’s Bretch Hill estate was a s***hole, according to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

But his son Jack found friends on the hill and left having forged real affection for his friend George and estate residents who gave him somewhere to sleep.

Jack and Gordon Ramsay NNL-190608-110808001

Jack and Gordon Ramsay NNL-190608-110808001

Jack, educated at Dulwich College, one of Britain’s top private schools, left his luxurious homes in London and Los Angeles to spend a week on the estate where his now-famous Dad spent some of his youth.

Shadowing homeless, jobless George - a victim of family breakdown - he visits the maisonettes where Gordon and his sister lived and Bradley Arcade where his grandparents ran a newsagent’s shop.

“I often wonder what it would have been like if I hadn’t been Dad’s son; I didn’t do anything to deserve my upbringing” he says in the programme.

Before Jack departs through the impressive electric gates of home, Gordon tells his son: “Bretch Hill is a tough neighbourhood. No one wants to visit it but it was the making of me. You’ll hate it there.”

Jack Ramsay NNL-190608-111549001

Jack Ramsay NNL-190608-111549001

Jack joins George who is living on £57.90 universal credit, sofa surfing. He gives up his spot on friend Sian’s sofa to Jack who gets his first experience of simply not having a proper bed to sleep in.

He visits the deserted youth club, the Hill - formerly the Willy Freund club where Gordon Ramsay spent much time and says he felt happier there than at home. Currently there is no youth club for the young of Bretch Hill.

Jack’s experiences on the estate are interspersed with footage of Gordon’s recollections. The famous chef recalls how his brother first smokes drugs on Bretch Hill and then goes on to be a heroin addict of 25 years.

His parents returned to Scotland leaving Gordon and his sister in a maisonette.

Wroxton House chef, Bretch Hill teenager George and Jack Ramsay at George's trial shift NNL-190608-111612001

Wroxton House chef, Bretch Hill teenager George and Jack Ramsay at George's trial shift NNL-190608-111612001

“It was the first time I had a sense of seurity and responsibility for paying the rent,” he says. “It takes you up or it takes you down and if it takes you down you stay down a long time.”

Gordon, who spent his last year of school doing a foundation course in catering at Banbury college, gets to reunite with his pastry chef, Norma John over the internet.

As part of his Banbury experience Jack accompanies George to a recruitment agency and to a trial as a kitchen porter at the Wroxton House Hotel. George is overjoyed to get the job.

Back in LA, Jack reflects on his time on Bretch Hill. “It was amazing. Everyone was really welcoming - I felt I fitted in.

Jack Ramsay who spent a week on Banbury's Bretch Hill

Jack Ramsay who spent a week on Banbury's Bretch Hill

“It was emotional at times.

He tells his father: “I don’t believe you’d make it out if you went there now.”

His father - using the colourful language he has become famous for - hotly denies it.

“It depends on your determination,” says Gordon who says an individual needs to have the hunger to advance in order to get out.

But Jack has taken in the changes in social provision and has genuinely empathised with his companion George.

“There is no council housing and he feels he’s not worth much,” he says to camera.

Jack Ramsay spent a week on Bretch Hill where his father Gordon lived as a teenager NNL-190608-112304001

Jack Ramsay spent a week on Bretch Hill where his father Gordon lived as a teenager NNL-190608-112304001

“Hunger isn’t the only part of the recipe you need. If you put him (Gordon) there now I think he would be part of the lost generation.”

The Ramsay episode was the first in a series of four Born Famous programmes. It can be seen on 4 On Demand.

Future episodes follow other ‘famous’ children including Mel B’s daughter Phoenix Chi, Paul Ince’s daughter Ria and Lady (Michelle) Mone’s daughter Bethany.

Jack Ramsay and George NNL-190608-111535001

Jack Ramsay and George NNL-190608-111535001

Jack Ramsay NNL-190608-112116001

Jack Ramsay NNL-190608-112116001