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Gregg Wallace and Cherry Healey get exclusive access to some of the largest food factories in Britain to reveal the secrets behind food production on an epic scale.

Genres: Cooking/Food | Discovery/Science
Station: BBC Two (UK)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: Running
Start: 2015-05-05

Inside the Factory Air Dates


S02E06 - Shoes Air Date: 30 August 2016 20:00 -

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Documentary series. Gregg Wallace joins a human production line in the largest sports shoe factory in the UK to see how they produce three and a half thousand pairs of trainers every 24 hours by sewing 32 million individual stiches and using 140 miles of thread. Meanwhile, Cherry Healey gets hands on in a tannery to help them process thousands of rawhides into finished leather for the nation's shoes, and finds out how a ballet shoe company painstakingly turns 37,000 square meters of satin into a quarter of a million ballet shoes - some of which only last for one performance. She also gets to design her own court shoes at Cordwainers College in London. And historian Ruth Goodman reveals how, when the sewing machine was first introduced into shoe factories in the mid 19th century, traditional shoemakers went on strike, rebelling against joining a restrictive production line. She also traces the surprising origins of the humble trainer.


S03E01 - Tea Bags Air Date: 18 July 2017 20:00 -

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Gregg Wallace receives a load of tea leaves from Kenya and follows their journey through the factory that produces one quarter of all the tea we drink in Britain. Gregg turns his 20-tonne batch into 6.9 million bags. Along the way, he discovers that there can be up to 20 different teas in your bag and that the recipe for the blend is altered every day, measured against a standard created in 1978.

Meanwhile, Cherry Healey discovers the secrets of the tea leaf in an African tea-processing plant. She learns that 40% of each leaf is made up of chemicals called polyphenols. She is surprised to find that white, green and black tea are all made from the same leaves. She also discovers that the bag surrounding your tea is not ordinary paper, but a highly engineered fabric made up of hemp, wood and polypropylene. She watches as a 60-kilometre-long roll is produced. And she gets some scientific tips on making the best possible cup of tea with a tea bag.

Historian Ruth Goodman investigates tea adulteration. In the 19th century, there were eight separate factories in London which existed solely to dry and recolour used tea leaves. She discovers that it was 'honest' John Hornim who put that right and ensured we could trust our tea. She also finds that in the military during the Second World War, armoured divisions had to leave the safety of their tanks to brew up - a habit that resulted in many casualties. She climbs on board a modern-day tank to make a cup of tea with a boiling vessel, the innovation that solved this problem.


S03E02 - Pasta Air Date: 25 July 2017 20:00 -

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Gregg Wallace is in Italy, hitching a lift on a train carrying over a thousand tonnes of wheat to the largest dried pasta factory in the world. It produces 60% of all pasta made in Italy and supplies 3,000 tonnes to the UK each year. Gregg traces the journey the wheat takes through a seven-storey mill and into the production zone where it is mixed with water, pushed through moulds and turned into spaghetti. Along the way, he discovers that the perfect string of spaghetti is 25 centimetres long and examines the technology that allows them to produce 150,000 kilometres of it each day - enough to stretch round the earth almost four times.

Meanwhile, Cherry Healey discovers why the best pasta is made with durum wheat. This is a hard wheat that, when it is milled, turns into the granular yellow flour known as semolina, which translates as semi-milled. This is the essential basis of pasta as it retains its shape and texture when cooked. She also helps to harvest 15 tonnes of tomatoes, turning them into 3,000 litres of pasta sauce. Along the way, Cherry is surprised to hear that the British habit of pairing spaghetti with bolognese outrages many Italians. She learns why different shapes of pasta are ideally paired with different sauces and promises in future she will serve her spaghetti with a more suitable topping, like carbonara.

Historian Ruth Goodman discovers that pasta arrived in Britain much earlier than we imagined. She heads to the British Library to look at a manuscript from 1390. It is a cookbook written for King Richard II which contains a recipe for something called lozyns. Ruth cooks up a batch and is convinced that this an early version of lasagne. She also navigates the streets of Soho armed with a 1958 restaurant guide to find out how we first fell in love with Italian food.


S03E03 - Biscuits Air Date: 01 August 2017 20:00 -

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Gregg Wallace is in London at Europe's largest biscuit factory, where they produce 80 million biscuits every day. He follows the production of chocolate digestives, from the arrival of 28 tonnes of flour right through to dispatch. Along the way, he discovers that the biscuits are shaped by a bronze roller costing up to ten thousand pounds, and that the chocolate is added to the bottom not the top of the biscuits, meaning we are all eating them the wrong way up.

Meanwhile, Cherry Healey is on the trail of that chocolate. At the refinery in Manchester, she learns that it is transported in heated lorries kept at 50C to stop it solidifying on its way to the factory. She also discovers that this is the most expensive ingredient, at around £2,000 per tonne. And she is in Nottingham University's sensory lab, where she finds scientific proof that dunking your biscuit improves its flavour and that tea is the best liquid to dunk in. Cherry takes to the streets to see if that stacks up in the real world.

Historian Ruth Goodman investigates the link between biscuits and digestion. She finds references in Samuel Pepys's diary to biscuits being a cure for flatulence and digestive discomfort and discovers that in Victorian times it was thought that biscuits could cure everything from typhoid to scarlet fever. She also takes a look at an antique biscuit baked at the beginning of the 20th century - one of Huntley and Palmer's notorious army biscuits. These dry hard biscuits were supplied as rations to five million British soldiers on the front line in the First World War.

Inside the Factory Actors

Gregg Wallace(Gregg Wallace)

Ruth Goodman(Ruth Goodman)

Cherry Healey(Cherry Healey)



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