BBC2 is to unravel the dark arts of the unstable global financial markets in a series that turns eight people into City traders with£1m to invest.

Filming has just wrapped on Traders, a 3 x 60-minute series from Century Films in which people with no experience of the stock market - including a housewife, a student and an ex-marine - play the market through a specially built trading floor.

The series aims to reflect the unfolding impact of the credit crunch that this week led to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and to show its social ramifications beyond the financial markets.

Lex Van Dam, a former head of equity proprietary trading at Goldman Sachs and a fund manager at London-based GLG Partners, put the participants through their paces and has put up£1m of his own money for them to invest.

Guided by several other experienced traders, the novices will spend on the UK, US and European markets in an attempt to make a profit for Van Dam.

Unlike The Apprentice, there will be no elimination over the course of the series, though at least one of the wannabe traders is understood to have walked out because of the pressure.

“We were keen on people who could do it intellectually, but not in a self-serving way,” said series producer Anthony Phillips, adding: “It's an insight into a secretive world you never see on TV. The learning curve is steep.”

BBC head of independent commissioning for knowledge Richard Klein and independents executive producer Emma Willis commissioned the series, which BBC2 will show next year.