The Price of Oil

The Price of Oil

7 BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramas


A collection of factual dramas exploring the history of oil - and the price we pay for it

Ever since it was first drilled over 150 years ago, oil has been both a blessing and a curse. It has enabled economic growth; provided an efficient energy source; fuelled our entire infrastructure - and caused wars, pollution and global warming. These seven dramas, set between 1951 and 2045, and taking us from postwar Iran to futuristic Lancashire, examine the role oil has played in shaping our world: recounting incredible stories of wealth, power, politics and corruption.

Stand Firm, You Cads! By Jonathan Myerson tells the colourful tale of how Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh took back the nation's oil from the British, and the chaos and conflict that followed. In Looking for Billy by Nigel Williams, a private detective investigates protests against an Alaskan pipeline - and finds out what oil did to the indigenous Inupiat people. The Weapon, by Jonathan Myerson, is a tense, thrilling dramatisation of the 1973 OPEC siege, while Baby Oil, also written by Myerson, is based on real events in the propaganda campaign at the outbreak of the First Gulf War.

In Someone's Making a Killing in Nigeria by Rex Obano, a local businesswoman is caught up in the violent consequences of the Ogoni people's campaign against the oil industry. No Two Days by Joy Wilkinson is a mesmerising maze of stories about risk, passion and deep-sea oil, centred around an ambitious journalist's attempts to investigate the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. And in Tamsin Ogleby's future oil comedy Blood from Stone, a father-and-son energy company struggles with the new economics of the oil market. Is Ralph right about getting out for good? Is his dad Charlie more addict than businessman? And will we ever be able to give up oil?

Anna Maxwell Martin, Raad Rawi, Jemma Redgrave, Paul Ritter, Nicholas Le Prevost , James McArdle, Nadine Marshall, Faye Marsay, Obi Abili, David Ajala, Jude Akuwudike, and Alun Armstrong are among the casts in these enthralling dramas. Also included are two short clips in which Nicolas Kent discusses the difference between directing for radio and stage, and explains his inspiration for The Price of Oil.

Production credits
Devised by Nicolas Kent, with Jack Bradley and Jonathan Myerson
Produced by Jonquil Panting

Listening Order

Stand Firm, You Cads!
Written by Jonathan Myerson. Directed by Nicolas Kent. Pianist: Laurie O'Brien
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 26 September 2015

Looking for Billy
Written by Nigel Williams. Directed by Nicolas Kent. Inupiat translations provided by Chelsey Zibell
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 28 September 2015

The Weapon
Written by Jonathan Myerson. Directed by Jonquil Panting
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 29 September 2015

Baby Oil
Written by Jonathan Myerson. Directed by Nicolas Kent
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 30 September 2015

Someone's Making a Killing in Nigeria
Written by Rex Obano. Directed by Jonquil Panting
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 1 October 2015

No Two Days
Written by Joy Wilkinson. Directed by Nicolas Kent
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 2 October 2015

Blood from Stone
Written by Tamsin Oglesby. Directed by Jonquil Panting
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 3 October 2015

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the authors

Jonathan Meyerson

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Nigel Williams

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Rex Obano

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Joy Wilkinson

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Tamsin Oglesby

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