Evan Davis to look inside the City
BBC documentaries explore the impact of the economic downturn
As Britain reportedly hovers on the brink of a recession, the BBC will explore two significant aspects of the credit crunch in a range of programmes examining the City and how it operates, and the impact of the crisis and resulting rising debt in the UK.
On BBC Two, the City Season will open the doors to this notoriously secretive world at a time when all eyes are on the market and questions are being asked about how it functions and who is accountable, while four films on BBC One will explore how the crisis is affecting people's daily lives.
In Evan Davis In The City (working title), the BBC's former Economics Editor gets to grips with the crisis in global finance.
The first episode will look at banking, exploring what exactly a bank is supposed to do and discovering what happens when that basic banking model collapses.
In the second film, Evan tackles risk management, and meets the hedge fund managers who stand accused of selling the City short as well as the politicians and regulators who are now once again trying to rein in the Square Mile's excesses.
In the final programme, Evan will examine the root cause of the current panic: with the world's biggest financial bubble just burst he explores the reasons why, asking what makes prices get so out of line, who is responsible and what can be done about it.
Traders (working title), filmed in the middle of the summer just as the world's financial markets were in turmoil, set eight men and women with no experience of working in the City a unique challenge.
Backed by a leading hedge fund manager, they are given up to 1 million dollars to invest in the world's stock markets.
After intensive training, can this cross section of British society master the roller coaster job of the trader?
A revealing insight into the hidden world of the hedge funder, Traders shows from the inside how the financial markets affect all our lives.
The Money Programme unit is contributing four films to the City season.
Everyone thinks they know Sir Alan from The Apprentice. In The Real Alan Sugar, Fiona Bruce tells the story of his rise from running a stall selling boiled beetroot to multi-millionaire electronics and property businessman and entrepreneur.
She gains an exclusive insight into his world at work and at home and spends time with the man who is never afraid to speak his mind. It's a fascinating story including the rise of Amstrad and his controversial days at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Speculators (working title) takes a look at the shadowy but anonymous City figures that are often blamed for the unexpected prices in fuel recently experienced.
Was this in any way caused by commodity speculators?
The Money Programme investigates whether rocketing fuel bills really were caused by the activities of a few traders or not.
In all of the crazy stories that have come out of the city in the last weeks, Fast Bucks tells one of the most extraordinary.
In October, Porsche/VW briefly became the richest company in the world as its share price rocketed.
The film unpicks the events and explores many of the themes that have been common to this crash: shorting, hedge funds and wildly yo-yoing share prices.
Bill Gates: How A Geek Changed The World is an updated version of the film that was first broadcast in the week that Bill Gates stepped down from full time involvement with Microsoft.
Fiona Bruce examines the fortunes of Microsoft as it faces up to competition from internet-based companies.
And the programme talks about Gates the man, the businessman and the philanthropist with a who's who of his friends, colleagues and rivals.
At the same time, four programmes on BBC One will explore the impact of the crisis and resulting debt.
Filmed over six months, Repossession, Repossession, Repossession (working title) tells the stories of three families each facing the very real threat of losing their homes.
As latest reports suggest more than 500,000 households could be at risk of repossession in the coming year, the film offers a timely insight into how Britain's debt culture and housing slump have combined to devastating effect for thousands of homeowners.
Going Under and Going Bust (working titles) provide intimate portraits of families struggling to cope with personal debts as the credit crunch unfolds.
Going Under follows a family of six in Derby who bought their council house five years ago when paying a mortgage was cheaper than paying rent.
Since then they have gradually struggled to make the books balance, and all solutions landed them deeper in debt.
Over nine months the programme follows Melvyn and Tracy's emotional roller coaster as they fight to keep everything they have worked so hard for: their car, their home, their sanity and their family together.
Going Bust picks up three families where Going Under left off – just as they accept that bankruptcy is the only real option.
The film follows them through arguments, recriminations, tears and tantrums as they struggle with the emotional burden of admitting they can't cope, and battle through the bureaucracy of bankruptcy.
Finally, a new episode of Skint revisits Vernon Burgess after two previous series followed his attempts to get his life on track after spending time in prison, in psychiatric care and homeless.
Vernon has moved into a new flat on the outskirts of Birmingham and sells the Big Issue to supplement his benefits.
However, his earnings can't cover his increasing debts and so Vernon must both change his spending habits and find new ways to generate income.
Traders, Repossession, Repossession, Repossession, Going Under, Going Bust and Skint were commissioned by Richard Klein, Head of Independent Commissioning for Knowledge.
Evan Davies In The City was commissioned by Clive Edwards, Commissioning Editor, News, and Dominic Crossley-Holland, Executive Producer, commissioned the Money programmes.
Richard Klein, Head of Independent Commissioning, said: "Documentary can play an important role in taking us into worlds we don't usually have access to and giving a personal face to issues of global concern.
"During the week of Sheffield Documentary Festival, I'm pleased to announce this series of films that looks at the impact of the recent economic down turn from two different view points.
"At an unprecedented time in history, these programmes will bring to light the background and possible causes of the recent economic crisis, as well as highlighting the potential impact for Britons."
BBC Learning also aims to empower people to make better financial decisions and understand how to manage money better via its re-launched adult skills website, raw, at bbc.co.uk/raw.
Presented by BBC One presenter Dominic Littlewood and financial expert and TV and radio presenter Jasmine Birtles, raw money will use everyday life scenarios as routes into the content for users such as setting up home or starting a family to facing redundancy or planning for retirement.
Users will also be able to access useful tools such as a budget calculator and a money personality quiz to help plan, understand risk and manage their personal finances better.
Notes to Editors
The City Season (BBC Two) and debt programmes (BBC One) will be shown in early 2009.
Emma Willis is the BBC Executive Producer overseeing the City Season.
Evan Davis In The City (working title, 3 x 60-minutes) is a BBC Vision production. The Executive Producer is Lucy Hetherington, and the Series Producer is Simon Finch.
Traders (working title, 3 x 60-minutes) is a Century Films production. The Executive Producer for the BBC is Emma Willis, and for Century it is Ruth Pitt. Anthony Philipson is the Series Producer.
The Money Programmes are BBC Vision productions. The Executive Producer is Dominic Crossley-Holland and the Series Producer is Michael Tuft.
Charlotte Moore is the BBC Executive Producer overseeing the debt programmes.
Repossession, Repossession, Repossession (working title, 1 x 50-minutes), is made by betty. The Producer/Director is Gillian Pachter and Executive Producer for betty is David Wise.
Going Under and Going Bust (working titles, both 1 x 50-minutes) are produced by True Vision TV by BAFTA-winning film-makers Brian Woods, Deborah Shipley and Katy Sheppard.
Skint (1 x 40-minutes) is a BBC Vision production. The Executive Producer is Julian Mercer, and Series Producer is Chris Hutchins.
In early 2009, the raw literacy site will be re-launched as an adult skills website raw, skills for everyday life at bbc.co.uk/raw.
Building on the earlier adult literacy campaign, raw is broadening out to include a wide range of adult skills – numeracy, ICT, workplace skills, literacy and financial capability.
Highly interactive, the website will use entertainment and immersive content to attract the millions of UK adults who want to improve their skills.
Former England cricketer Phil Tufnell will be the main presenter of raw.