The industry comes to HBO this November and tells the story of a series of new hires at a London investment bank in the world after the global financial crash. The show, which begins on Monday 9th November on HBO and on 10th November on the BBC, was created by Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, who both have experience working for an investment bank before being inspired by their experiences to create this new show.
In his speech to Washington Newsday, Down said: “Me and Konrad have been writing together for six years. We met at the university. We both had a fairly short career in finance before we decided to write together.
“We were working with the Bad Wolf production company on another project when their CEO, Jane Tranter, found out that two people who used to work in finance were working for them. She said, ‘Have you ever tried to do a show about it? And we told her we had [but it]was just disastrous, considering how bad it was.
And she said, “And she said, ‘Have you ever thought of writing about your experiences? Did you ever think about writing about the people at the bottom?’, and that was the kind of key that unlocked the program.
Down himself worked in the department where we see Gus (played by David Jonsson) working in the first episode of Industry, which he described as “the quieter, nighttime culture, mergers and acquisitions part of the business.
This experience has led directly to what the show looks like, with a more diverse cast than audiences can expect from a financial industry often portrayed on television and film as “male, pale and stale”.
“You would expect these places to be full of heterosexual white men [but]in my experience, these places are quite different… they are international places, and then people from all over the world come to them. So they are a little bit more multicultural than you might think.
The show is also one of the first financial dramas to focus on gay characters. Kay said about it: “In my experience, homosexuality in banking is like professional sports from everywhere, because it is one of the few places that is still a little bit in decline in terms of the number of people who feel comfortable outside.
Although they worked in finance, they also brought in a consultant from Morgan Stanley to ensure that the jargon-laden dialogue was correct. Kay explained, “For me and Mickey, it was very important that everything that happened on a numerical level was absolutely spot-on, so we basically used this guy as a kind of back-up.
“For me and Mickey, it was very important that a financial professional could watch this show. Even if it’s just a tiny percentage of the audience, they can say, ‘Oh wow, a little sensational, a little exaggerated, but the essence of the world is almost completely right’.
The couple also made the decision not to spoon-feed the audience when it comes to the industry’s use of financial jargon – there’s no Margot Robbie in the bathtub here explaining any tricky terminology.
Explaining why this was important to her, Down said, “If we had gotten away with it, we would have had an even more obscure language! We always thought that as long as you could understand the emotions behind what was happening, people would leave the technical language to you.
“We also thought that we never wanted to talk down to the audience. We also thought that listeners prefer to feel like they need to catch up a little more than they feel like they’re being spoon-fed.
With all these efforts being made to keep the industry as close as possible to the real industry, HBO viewers may be surprised that the show was not filmed on a real trading floor in London’s financial district, but in Wales, near the place where HBO filmed a very different show, which will be broadcast on the same night on the station this fall: His Dark Materials.
“The production company Bad Wolf, which produced the show, has its own studio space in Wales, where it also filmed Discovery of Witches and His Dark Materials,” Kay explained. “So we had this huge, basically airplane hangar-sized room, and we spent a considerable part of our budget building a kind of trading floor on a perfect replica scale.
“Me, Mickey and the production designer were obsessed with trying to make it so that retail floors were very dirty places with very full desks, food everywhere and always full containers.