Is Cleaning Up On Netflix Based On A True Story?

Viewers have been gripped by the 2019 ITV drama after it arrived on Netflix this month.
Sheridan Smith in Cleaning Up
Sheridan Smith in Cleaning Up

If you’ve recently stumbled across Cleaning Up for the first time, you’ve probably been left wondering if the Sheridan Smith drama is based on a real story.

The six-part TV show first premiered in 2019, but has experienced a resurgence after arriving on Netflix at the beginning of this month, even overtaking Ripley and creeping up behind The Gentlemen on the UK’s most watched chart.

The show follows Sheridan’s character Sam, who plays a struggling single mum with a gambling problem who gains access to insider stock market information through her cleaning job at a London finance company.

The Bafta winner’s performance has left viewers wondering if the show is perhaps based on a true story.

Here’s what we know…

Is Cleaning Up based on a real story?

The show is not based on a real story, but it is inspired by a film that was steeped in truth.

Writer Mark Marlow previously revealed that he was inspired to write the series after watching the iconic 1987 film Wall Street starring Michael Douglas, which is a fictionalised account of the real events and people of Wall Street in the 1980s.

In an interview with Digital Spy, Cleaning Up writer Mark explained that it was one very specific moment in the Oliver Stone film that sparked the idea for his own show.

“I was searching for an idea and I was lying on the sofa one day where I was watching Wall Street with my wife Holly and there was a scene where Charlie Sheen has been given the task of finding some inside information by Gordon Gekko,” Mark explained.

“And, in this scene, he breaks into an office, he rifles through a filing cabinet, he finds some inside information. I just happened to notice in the background there was some cleaners. And I just instantly thought, ‘If they work in that office, surrounded by inside information, why couldn’t they just do that?’”

Wall Street co-writer Stanley Weiser previously revealed to the LA Times that the film’s iconic protagonist was an “amalgam of disgraced arbitrageur Ivan Boesky, corporate raider Carl Icahn, and his lesser-known art-collecting compatriot Asher Edelman”.

He continued: “Add a dash of Michael Ovitz and a heaping portion of, yes, my good friend and esteemed colleague Stone (who came up with the character’s name) ― and there you have the rough draft of ‘Gekko the Great.’”

After Cleaning Up premiered back in 2019, the show did come under some fire from some viewers after they spotted plot holes.

Cleaning Up is available to watch on Netflix now.


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