Anglo-Persian Oil (later BP) was specially formed to exploit the 60-year oil concession to drill for oil, which was signed in 1901 by the then Shah of Persia. Prompted by Winston Churchill, the British Government bought 51% of the company's shares. Persian oil soon became Britain's "single largest overseas asset".
But in 1951, newly-elected Prime Minister Mossadegh declared the concession "immoral", unilaterally cancelled it, and on 1st May successfully passed a law which nationalised Anglo-Persian - and all the oil. There are riots, demonstrations, and a blockade of shipping. And in the great oil refinery on the island of Abadan, a shocked British ex-pat community struggle to understand the new world which has just arrived...
Anna Maxwell Martin, Raad Rawi and Luke Treadaway star in the first of a season of factual dramas exploring the history of oil - and the price we've paid for it.