RBS: Inside the Bank that Ran Out of Money (full one-hour documentary)

December 10th, 2011

A project with which I was involved…

RBS: Inside the Bank that Ran Out of Money, a one hour BBC Television documentary charting the build up to the biggest bank failure in history, was first aired across the UK on BBC2 on Monday, December 5th. The one-hour film, produced by Tony Nellany and directed by Colin Murray, received its premiere on BBC One Scotland on October 17th – on the third anniversary of the RBS collapse and £45.5 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.

I was researcher and consultant on the programme, a task that involved conducting scores of off-the-record interviews with numerous former RBS bankers, regulators, advisers, competitors, journalists/commentators, banking analysts etc; persuading a number ex-senior Royal Bank insiders and others to appear in the programme; a fair amount of desk research; and moulding the final script.

Here’s what reviewer Leo Robson said about the programme, in a review published in the Financial Times on December 10th:-

RBS: Inside the Bank That Ran Out of Money (BBC2 Monday) was [a] talking-heads voiceover documentary that laid bare a tortuous story with great clarity and concision. The villain was Sir Fred Goodwin, and those testifying to his guilt included those who had put him into power …

I’d like to thank all those who agreed to appear – who included a number of former executive and non-executive directors of RBS, some other former RBS staff, ex-executive directors of rival banks, the financial journalists Gillian Tett, Peter Thal Larsen, Jill Treanor and Daniel Gross, plus Jeroen Smit (pictured above), author of the The Perfect Prey. I’d also like to thank all my colleagues in the BBC production team for their patience and excellent programme-making skills.

I look forward to seeing whether the Financial Services Authority, which has spent some £12 million on its report on the reasons for the collapse of RBS (see preview) comes up with different reasons for the bank’s collapse than the BBC (which, I can assure you, had a much smaller budget!).

I guess we’ll find out on Monday when the FSA finally publishes its report.

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5 Comments for “RBS: Inside the Bank that Ran Out of Money (full one-hour documentary)”

  1. This is a terrific and fascinating film. I don’t believe any of those former executives even care about the damage they did to ordinary people’s lives.

  2. Dominic, Thanks. But I would disagree with your second point – I believe that some of those who we interviewed, including the likes of Cameron McPhail and Iain Robertson, do care.

  3. Hi Ian,
    Who would we talk to about acquiring/broadcasting this film online? As we are currently preparing a feature on the European Debt Crisis and would love to feature this film.
    Many thanks for a contact.
    Rebecca Ingram

  4. Rebecca – sent you an email about that. Kind regards, Ian

  5. Many thanks for your prompt response Ian.

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