Ten years on from the global financial crash of 2008, a new BBC documentary will deliver a dramatic account of one single day, 7th October 2008, when the Royal Bank of Scotland collapsed and almost took the entire UK banking system down with it.
The Bank That Almost Broke Britain, broadcast on Tuesday 2nd October on BBC Two at 21.00, tells the extraordinary story of how a small Scottish bank – the Royal Bank of Scotland – grew to become the biggest in the world, before collapsing and triggering the largest financial bail-out in British history.
The documentary follows the spectacular rise and shocking fall of the bank, with revealing recollections from those who were on the inside at the time, including then Chancellor Alistair Darling, former Business Minister Baroness Shriti Vadera, ex-RBS Chairman Sir George Mathewson and Governor of the Bank of England at the time, Mervyn King.
The Bank That Almost Broke Britain also explores the truth behind the story of Sir Fred Goodwin, who in less than six years rose from an unknown accountant to overseeing the extraordinary growth of RBS as its CEO.
Viewers will hear of RBS’s lavish spending under Goodwin, with a private company jet and the bank’s spectacular new £350m headquarters on the outskirts of Edinburgh – featuring never-seen-before footage of its opening party, attended by the Queen.
Less than three years later, Goodwin’s bank was on its knees and those charged with protecting the British economy were faced with a stark ultimatum – save RBS or risk the country’s banking system being taken down by its collapse.
The documentary reveals how the Government had just 24 hours to come up with a plan, with the nation’s economy at stake, and asks how much of the political turmoil we experience today can be directly traced back to the bail-out of the banks.
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