In San Francisco they’re known somewhat dismissively as “tech bros” but in London this decade’s answer to the Eighties City boys have received a warmer welcome.
Spend time at any bar or — ahem — “breakout zone” near Shoreditch’s Silicon Roundabout and you’ll find yourself elbow-to-elbow with developers hard at work on the latest multi-million-pound app.
It’s not just an industry change, it’s cultural one, and one so significant that it’s inspired comedy writer of the moment, Jon Brown (Fresh Meat, Misfits, Babylon), to pen your new favourite show.
Channel 4’s Loaded (Monday, 10pm) is a dramedy about four friends who’ve just sold their video game start-up for a vast sum and are now adjusting to their new lives as millionaire techpreneurs — with some difficulty.
Gordon Geeko is the new Gordon Gekko and Loaded is to the London zeitgeist as Sex and the City was to NYC’s Nineties singles scene: fresh, funny and rooted in characters who feel instantly familiar.
“I’m definitely Samantha!” says its star Samuel Anderson with a Brummie guffaw. Raised in the Hockley area of Birmingham by a Jamaican father and an Irish mother, Anderson has lived in north-west London for nearly 20 years but hasn’t lost his accent.
His face will already be familiar to TV viewers as Danny Pink in Doctor Who and to theatregoers as an original History Boy, but in Loaded he at last has a part which makes full use of his natural charisma.
He plays Leon, the business development director and all-round hype man at Idyl Hands, which he co-runs with fretful Josh (Yonderland’s Jim Howick), newly-sober creative Watto (Uncle’s Nick Helm) and coding geek Ewan (Babylon’s Jonny Sweet).
Happily, Anderson says the group’s on-set dynamic soon came to mirror that of their characters.
“Good lads, man. From the first day, it was like: ‘Right, shall we go to lunch?’ And there was a pub around the corner.”
Who’s the funny one? With all this comic talent about, it’s hard to say. “Nick is the comedian. He knows how to construct a joke. Jim is non-stop.
"He’s that guy that you would have been thrown out the class with all the time because you couldn’t stop laughing… And Jonny is deadly, man. So funny, so smart. He’s like Hugh Grant on crack. I was the least funny. You can remember all of my jokes, that’s how few I made.”
Actors are usually keen to point out how different they are from their characters but Anderson freely admits the similarities between himself and pep-talking party-starter Leon.
There’s the dapper dress sense, for a start. When the Loaded costume designer suggested Anderson flick through photography book Return of the Rude Boy for inspiration he was only mildly surprised to find his own image within.
“It was from maybe three, four years ago? I was wearing a straw hat and a blue tartan jacket, kind of like this,” he says, pulling out the tie he’s chosen for today.
Anderson can also appreciate a flash set of wheels but says driving the Ferrari that the Idyl Hands boys zip around in wasn’t actually all that enjoyable.
“The pressure they put me under! It was all, like: ‘This is a quarter of a million pound car, blah, blah, blah’. I’ve driven faster in my Polo!”
"Though it is good to tick it off the bucket list, he says. “Then you just kind of realise, you really should change your bucket list from the one you had when you were a child.”
Most of Anderson’s mates are people he grew up with, jazz musicians (he plays the trumpet) or fellow actors (he remains tight with James Corden and the other History Boys), but there are also a few real-life tech bros in the mix.
“I know a couple of people who have come up with ideas for apps that haven’t done particularly well. One friend had an office that was hustle and bustle but not really quite like this.”
His own interaction with tech mostly involves railing at Airbnb — “I’ve just been taken off it! For no good reason!” — and feeling as conflicted about ride-share apps as the next young Londoner.
“Uber’s like a drug dealer. First one’s free, the next one’s cheap and after that, you just can’t help yourself.” He insists he’s no slave to his phone, however. He’s too self-disciplined for that mess.
“That’s not my displacement activity. I won’t allow it. I’ll just suffer the awkward moment of being alone without reaching for your phone.”
In fact, Anderson’s Fonz-like cool remains undisturbed on all topics except one: the success of Loaded.
“I’m terrified, because I think it’s an absolute solid bit of work,” he says, sitting up suddenly and shuffling to the edge of his seat.
“I’ve never had this feeling about a job. I’ve never had this little panic, fear thing. It’s like, I know it’s really good, but will people like it?”
Loaded starts next Monday on Channel 4 at 10pm