Dispatches: How the Banks Won

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


Current Affairs investigation into the behaviour of Britain's banks in the aftermath of the 'credit crunch'.

I developed this film as the next narrative stage in an examination of the UK banking system that I initiated while a commissioner in the News and Current Affairs department at Channel 4. As a consequence I oversaw and directed the research, secured documentation and information not in the public domain, supervised production and structured and composed the primary script for the finished film.

The research included:
•The commissioning of CRESC – the economic and social affairs research team at Manchester University and the Open University – to work through some of the Bank’s key claims about their performance in the period after the so-called ‘credit crunch’. These claims included: levels of lending to SME’s, investment in jobs, revised procedures for dealing with exotic derivative products. The research delivered factual information which undermined many of the Banks’ key claims and informed several articles in the national press.
•The systematic questioning of key City ‘head hunters’ in order to understand current salary structures in light of the Banks’ claims that rewards packages would be less lucrative. This process delivered headline making insights into the techniques the Banks were using to tell one story in public and another in private, notably the use of share packages and salary deferment.
•The engagement of forensic accountants to work through the Banks’ latest annual reports. This work revealed the degree to which the Banks were continuing to invest in exotic derivative products – notably Credit deferrals – which had, in many respects, created the crisis and which the Banks claimed they had abandoned.
•The securing of never-before-published documents relating to the City of London’s strategies – and the consequent use of public money – for promoting Banking interests.
The film – as broadcast – was principally authored by myself, notwithstanding the broadly collegiate process by which television is generally made. For example: I decided on and pursued the film’s ‘cast’, conducted most of the interviews (three were conducted by others using my notes), structured the edit, developed the visual devices and composed the primary script (which was subsequently adapted by Will Hutton to match his personal verbal style).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherChannel Four
Media of outputTelevision Programme
SizeNetwork Broadcaster
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2010


  • Banks, investigation, current affairs

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