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Rogue Trader

Year: 1999
Production Co: Newmarket
Director: James Dearden
Producer: David Frost
Writer: James Dearden/Ed Whitley/Nick Leeson
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Anna Friel
As I write this, Nick Leeson, the man whose unchecked gambling led to the 1995 collapse of Barings Bank, is a corporate speaker and has (if you can believe it) written a book on coping with stress.

He probably knows about it more than most, as he looks at himself in a mirror in Rogue Trader - portrayed by Ewan McGregor - and says 'I, Nicholas Leeson, have lost fifty million quid... IN ONE DAY!!'

If you were at all interested in the story at the time Rogue Trader is essential viewing, and McGregor gives Leeson a brilliant personality, a blue collar British boy who likes a good time and has enough financial nous to impress his superiors without them asking too many questions.

When he's sent to Singapore and starts to fill the company coffers with incredible amounts of money, they're even less inclined to question him, but before long the wheels start to fall off. Nick covers up a small loss with creative accounting, then does it again, and before long the snowball has grown big and fast enough to bankrupt one of Europe's oldest and most respected financial institutions – which as history tells us, it did.

Interesting from a technical viewpoint as it distils the labyrinthine world of financial trading, and makes it dramatically breakneck. We feel every stab of agony through the heart along with Leeson thanks to McGregor's inhabiting the character so well as things go from bad to worse.

The project was born from an interview David Frost conducted with Leeson while in prison, who serves as an executive producer.

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