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Inside the Bank of England

Series 1

Episode 1

Duration: 59 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC Two EnglandLatest broadcast: on BBC Two Northern Ireland

The Bank of England influences our mortgage repayments, prints our cash and ensures our money holds its value, but few of us know how this powerful institution works behind closed doors.

The Bank is responsible for ensuring our money holds its value and it works tirelessly to protect the economy from the threat of high inflation. With unprecedented access, this episode reveals how the Bank influences inflation by setting the UK’s interest rate. Filmed during May 2018, the process is shown step by step as Bank staff analyse the state of the UK’s finances, leading to governor Mark Carney and other senior figures making their decision.

In the lead up to this interest rate announcement, the British press is feverish with speculation on what Governor Carney and his team will decide, but inside the Bank the meticulous work of monitoring the economy must carry on unhindered by outside influence.

In the north east of England, Mauricio Armellini, one of the Bank’s ‘agents’, is charged with gathering economic intelligence from businesses and charities across the UK. And in the Bank’s formidable monetary analysis division, Becky Maule and her colleagues are preparing for the daunting task of having their economic calculations dissected by the people who make the rate decision – the powerful monetary policy committee, chaired by governor Carney.

Crunching the numbers isn’t the only challenge faced by the Bank. It also has to explain its decision to journalists and the British public. As its May judgment approaches, Gareth Ramsay and the Bank’s communications team carefully plan how they will present the Bank’s decision.

Whilst its economists and press team prepare for the interest rate announcement, the Bank doubles-down on security. To prevent sensitive information being leaked, meeting rooms are checked for bugs and important documents aren’t allowed to leave the building. If they did, there is the risk that people in the outside could use the information to make millions by betting on the financial markets – and potentially de-stabilise the entire economy.

Hyper-security informs everything the Bank does – including its responsibility for printing the country’s entire supply of bank notes. In money vaults set deep underground, chief cashier Victoria Cleland oversees the storage of billions of pounds worth of newly printed fifties, twenties, tenners and fivers – all of them ready to be pumped into the economy. Nicknamed ‘the money lady’, Victoria’s signature is on every new note that the Bank produces, including some that most people never get to see. Used to underwrite the value of Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes, ‘titans’ are the most valuable notes that the Bank produces – each of them is worth a staggering 100 million pounds.

As interest rate decision day draws closer, Carney and the monetary policy committee debate the economic data and then vote on what the interest rate should be. But with the world’s press gathering to hear the decision and scrutinise the Bank’s thinking, unexpected news about the growth of the economy threatens to undermine the Bank’s carefully considered calculations. Show less


Lesley Sharp
Rob McCabe
Executive Producer:
Liesel Evans
Executive Producer:
Rebecca North
Emily Bunt
Production Manager:
Fiona McDonald
Production Manager:
Felicity Arkell
Production Company:
Raw TV

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