The Man Who Broke Britain, BBC2

by | Dec 9, 2004 | All, Reviews

What was it about?

No, it wasn’t a biography of Tony Blair. This bloke was a fictional City trader whose dodgy dealings broke a UK investment bank, just as terrorists attacks in Saudi Arabia were sending the price of oil rocketing.

What to say if you liked it

A chilling wake-up call to the new threat of financial terrorism, and the effects it could have on all our lives.

What to say if you didn’t like it.

Yet more unconvincing post-9/11 scaremongering.

What was good about it

• The accomplished drama-documentary style – you could hardly tell it wasn’t real.

• The brave attempt to explain derivatives trading (basically it’s gambling with other peoples’ money).

• The neat twist at the end – Saudi-born trader Samir wasn’t a terrorist after all, and the real crook was his Brit boss.

• Brilliant use of actual footage of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, proving that their speeches really are designed to mean almost anything you want them to.

What was bad about it

• Terrorism or not, the bank’s collapse didn’t actually break Britain’s economy, leaving the BBC guilty of serious exaggeration in the show’s trailers.

• It was too long – they could have told the story in 60 minutes, not 90, just by cutting those endless shots of City skyscrapers (the ‘outward ripple of doom’ special effect was great though).

• The neat twist at the end – another example of timid controversy-avoidance in the run-up to the BBC’s charter review?

• Presumably David Blunkett will now use the ‘proven’ threat of finance-terrorism to pass a law giving traffic wardens access to our bank accounts.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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