New BBC drama Industry steps inside the lewd world of London banking, with sex and scandal aplenty

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Industry is a scandalous new series from Lena Dunham on BBC Two that follows a group of graduates navigating the cutthroat world of banking together – with all the dividends, drugs and drama you’d expect. 

From money laundering to burnout and a pervasive culture of sexism, London’s banking scene is hardly known for its warm and fuzzy vibes.

And now a new co-production between the BBC and HBO is lifting the lid on the cutthroat world of high finance – as seen through the eyes of an ambitious group of graduates. 

The new trailer for Industry, a series that is co-directed by Lena Dunham, is released today, revealing a potent fusion of sex, drugs and wounded egos (oh and there’s a little trading in the mix, too).

Here’s everything you need to know about a pacey and eminently watchable new show that packs its punch in the entertainment stakes:

What is Industry all about?

Industry gives a graduate's view on the cutthroat world of investment banking

Whether it’s punishing, 100-hour work weeks or seedy tales of suit-filled strip clubs, we’ve long held a fascination with the murky realm of investment banking. 

While many big City brands are now working to modernise their image, London’s square mile remains one of the last bastions of a die-hard work ethic that hits power-hungry graduates the hardest.

Industry rinses every last inch of drama from this obsession, with a look at what high finance looks like to a group of high-flying new recruits in their 20s. 

For all their shiny handbags and designer suits, the world these graduates experience is far from gilded. In fact – landing at the sharp end of one of the most competitive industries on the planet – their experience is more akin to a hazing routine than an actual graduate programme. 

Performance-enhancing drugs are rife, as is toilet sex, trading floor bullying and a constant, gruelling expectation to be better than all the rest. 

The graduate group, led by a young Black woman, Harper Stern (Myha’la Herrold), comes face-to-face with all the more toxic elements of international finance, including endemic sexism. Together they experience this frenetic new way of life from an outsider’s perspective as they battle for a limited number of permanent positions.

How is Lena Dunham involved in Industry?

Lena Dunham
Girls creator Lena Dunham is co-directing the show

A series filmed in London and Cardiff may seem like an unlikely fit for Girls creator Dunham, who is also executive producer for Industry.

Then again, the drama also echoes the edgy, youth-driven themes explored in Girls. And, as a breakout writer and director herself, Dunham is no stranger to kind of the original talent that Industry gives voice to.

As well as its rising star cast, Industry is written by two new British screenwriters,  Mickey Down and Konrad Kay. Dunham, who has directed multiple episodes of Girls, is joined by Ed Lilly, Tinge Krishnan and Mary Nighy in the director’s seat.

“The scripts for Industry have an energy and direction that comes from their firsthand experience of the trading floor, and their ear for sharp dialogue immediately captured our attention,” Jane Tranter of Bad Wolf, the production company behind the show, tells Variety

“We’re excited to be making their first TV drama series with HBO, who are never afraid to make bold decisions and support new talent.”

Who stars in Industry?

Myha’la Herrold leads a rising star cast

The ensemble cast behind Industry comprises a powerhouse of up-and-coming names from the world of TV and film. 

You may recognise the show’s lead Herrold (who plays Harper, above) from 2019 drama The Tattooed Heart. She’s joined by cast members Marisa Abela, who is a rising star of Sky series Cobra, and Harry Lawtey, who also appears in Netflix adventure show The Letter For The King.

David Jonsson from the thriller Deep State, Nabhaan Rizwan, last seen in BBC drama Informer, and Freya Mavor of The ABC Murders also star.

Industry’s group of bright young things is completed by Will Tudor (Olyvar in Game Of Thrones), Conor MacNeill (Death And Nightingales) and Ken Leung (Marvel’s Inhumans).

Is there a trailer for Industry?

There sure is – and it’s brimming with “adult themes”. Get a feel for what lies ahead, below.

When does Industry air on TV?

Industry premieres on HBO in the States on Monday 9 November. It’ll come to UK TV at around the same time, on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. We’ll let you know as soon as a date is confirmed.

May the trading floor drama commence… 

Images: BBC/Bad Wolf Productions/Amanda Searle

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.