I could rob a bank. I could rob two banks, if I wanted. But I don't because the risk outweighs the reward. Prison seems grim and I'm not all that bothered about being rich.

I can separate all the men I know into two categories: alphas and betas. Leaders and followers, if you will.

Inside Men's warehouse manager John Coniston (played brilliantly by Steven Mackintosh) is a beta, but in order to orchestrate a heist he has to become an alpha.

Trailer for Inside Men

That's basically where this story began for me. How do I fundamentally change a man's personality? How do I use his weakness as his strength?

How do I get him to do something that just plain isn't in him?

There was some skepticism when I first pitched the idea. Heists had gone out of fashion, both in reality and in drama.

Growing up and watching TV in the late 1970s, every other week some hairy geezer was pulling a pair of nylon tights over his face and walking into a bank with a sawn-off shotgun.

If you wanted to become a millionaire overnight, armed robbery was pretty much your only option. By the time the early 1990s rolled around, credit cards and the national lottery had given criminals an easier option.

It took a couple of meetings to convince everyone that this wasn't going to be about the money. Inside Men isn't just a story about a robbery, it's about what it means to be a modern man.

Chris (Ashley Walters), Marcus (Warren Brown) and John (Steven Mackintosh) make plans

Whilst researching this drama I found out that there's something like £45 billion worth of cash in the UK. Sitting in vaults, down the backs of sofas, and chinking around in our pockets.

We may think of ourselves as a cashless society, but it's still out there. And it's not worth any less.

I often use dual timelines when structuring a story. I did something similar on Worried About The Boy, flicking between 1981 and 1986. Maybe I just like to keep the audience on their toes.

With Inside Men, opening with the heist allowed me to get straight into two stories that impacted on one another. How did they plan it? And will they get away with it?

The scenes in the vault were filmed in a decommissioned Bank of England building in Bristol.

The vault door weighed four tonnes and you just can't recreate stuff like that.

I went on set one day and held one of the shotguns, pulled on a mask, and stared at the cages of bank notes. Suddenly it didn't seem so easy.

Tony Basgallop is the writer of Inside Men.

Inside Men continues on BBC One and BBC One HD on Thursdays at 9pm. For all programme times, please see the episode guide.

Read a BBC TV blog interview with Boy George, on Worried About The Boy - also written by Tony Basgallop.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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  • Comment number 39. Posted by Maz

    on 4 Mar 2012 01:56

    I would like to hear Tony's take on what he was trying to achieve. Please see following thread.

    http://www.seenit.co.uk/inside-men-what-was-that-ending-about/0218045/

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  • Comment number 38. Posted by R_Stanbridge

    on 1 Mar 2012 12:28

    Just hope there is a 2nd series to explain what becomes of everyone. Apart from that such a brilliant 1st series !

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  • Comment number 37. Posted by Kevj

    on 26 Feb 2012 16:29

    I enjoyed it precisely because it wasn't a 'hollywood' ending as such; it was clear (to me) by the beginning of ep.4 the motivation of John. If felt like the whole thing (for John) was a 'personal dare'; an opportunity to prove to himself that the one thing he was deemed 'Good for' was protecting the Money in his charge.

    And given the dismissive attitude we saw from his Bosses, it was a huge "There, see, it can be stolen" mind-set that drove John. Once he'd achieved it, he was satisfied...and to hell with the consequences!

    He wasn't interested in anything else in his life; not his job, his colleagues, his family. He only cared about 'achieving' that which (to others) couldn't be done, and by the person you'd least expect to mastermind it. :)

    More please!

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  • Comment number 36. Posted by Centumvir

    on 25 Feb 2012 11:29

    I'm disappointed that some people here are disappointed. Some endings are definite and foreseen and so get accused of being obvious. Other endings are much less obvious, they are what likely happened after what we have seen, and left open to the viewer to mull over and discuss. I love coming away from films that cause us to think about what possibly happened, because we reflect on the film. The ending was in keeping with the refreshing drama that 'Inside Men' managed to be throughout its run, with viewer interest maintained by moving back and forth from month to month, character to character, and so on. Really good writing that found just the right actors to deliver it convincingly.

    I don't recall holes in the plot. This story focused on the robbers, and police were no more than marginal, and that only because Chris goes to them. I've watched plenty of crime dramas focusing on the police, with the criminals they are trying to discover merely marginal. A film like 'Inside Man' intercuts between robbers and police. See, there is no one way to tell different stories. It's only 'not shown' because the writer needs to stress others things, and trusts you to be intelligent enough to think it through. If you're not accustomed to that, then relish the invitation to think.

    Having had Chris in the last episode give him two options, Marcus ends up making a typical Marcus-choice and its predictable doltishness is amusing. His girlfriend Gina is also led by her character to go along with that. Finally, John makes his point. It is a witty and thoughtful point. Likely to get imprisonment, but on the other hand because returning to the money-store with almost all the money on board, quite possibly a mild sentence. His workplace rival shown up for what she is.

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  • Comment number 35. Posted by stephenandrew

    on 25 Feb 2012 08:16

    Thought it was great, except like many others I felt it needed a part 5, or else part 4 needed to be more rounded, it felt like the writer was not quite sure how to finish. I understand it was designed to leave us to think..... and I still am but it feels rather unsatisfying.
    Of course the ending was always going to be difficult, but now I am really frustrated, I think it needs a sort of post script episode in a couple months time,
    How about that?

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  • Comment number 34. Posted by hazelzoia

    on 24 Feb 2012 21:04

    Last night's episode drove me mad-I just didn't get it and have spent all day trying to work the ending out. Found this site which was helpful but I still don't get it.
    Would like an answer from the writer please!

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  • Comment number 33. Posted by pamhec

    on 24 Feb 2012 18:21

    It would be interesting and informative to hear what the writer of this series thinks about these comments!

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  • Comment number 32. Posted by webwiz

    on 24 Feb 2012 17:26

    This plot had more holes than a guyere cheese. The biggest one is the absence of the police, who had been informed of the heist by Chris, during the robbery and immediately afterwards. Chris had told them the names of the conspirators. The only theory I can think of is that the police missed the heist because it was postponed and Chris did not know the revised date, but surely with £172,000,000 at risk they would have had a permanent watch; and that they did not immediately arrest John because they wanted him to lead them to the money, but then they did not follow him to the money! And what on earth was Chris doing going to the money rendevouz on his own? Was he not a police informer? I think Tony was so eager to construct an ending that enabled the alpha beta thing that he forgot to make it credible. Personally I found the flashback format irritating, but then I always do. It adds nothing to the experience for me. The trick of showing the characters without masks in the rerun so that the viewer could identify them was interesting but also confusing, and unnecessary because the villains might well have worn some form of ID so that they could identify one another.

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  • Comment number 31. Posted by John Connor

    on 24 Feb 2012 16:43

    Disappointed in the ending! Feel cheated after spending 4 hours on what promised to be first rate drama. Pace of first three episodes was a bit slow but forgivable but in conclusion the whole thing could have been done in one hour with this ending.

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  • Comment number 30. Posted by FiremanSam76

    on 24 Feb 2012 14:41

    No more episodes or series "confused". As Patrick rightly pointed out, it was more a story about John and his anxiety and how he wanted to become the alpha male. A bit Jekyll and Hyde if you like. I was too looking for a better conclusion, but then realised that it was more about the individual characters and their lives than the heist. Good writing, a bit of a change from the usual predictable endings we see with most dramas.

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