The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble. Copyright: BBC.

The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble

BBC Radio 4 comedy drama. 1 episode in 2009. Stars Hugh Quarshie, Sam O'Mahony, Damian Lynch, Darren Hart and Stephanie Flanders.

Press Clippings

One of BBC Radio 4's afternoon plays last week (broadcast too late for publication) was the very funny satire on market forces, The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble, by the Irish novelist and musician Julian Gough.

The play is based on a short story of the same name, which was the first short story ever published in the Financial Times. It takes the form of an encounter between our hero and a Somali economist, Dr Ibrahim Bihi, who has made and lost his fortune in the goat market.

As a destitute war refugee, Bihi was inspired to send his last remaining goat out to her death on an airport runway, so as to claim twice her value from the airport manager. Before long, everyone was doing it, leading to a boom in goat trading, and eventually in goat futures trading, at least until the market 'corrected' itself.

It's now too late to download the play from the BBC website, but you can still read the original short story on Gough's website (

Eithne Tynan, Sunday Tribune, 24th May 2009

Who saw the crash coming? Well, careful readers of the FT would have recieved some warning. I refer not to the work of Gillian Tett or Martin Wolf - although both can claim some credit - but to this short story by Julian Gough, an Irish novelist based, which was published in the FT. Gough's account of the inflation of goat-prices in Somalia and their impact on the global economy now seems eerily like an allegorical warning of what was to befall us.

Mr Gough has now been rewarded - either for his literary flair or his economic insights - by having his story dramatised on BBC Radio 4. The Hollywood movie goes into production next year, although the part of the goat is yet to be cast.

Gideon Rachman, The Financial Times, 20th May 2009

When the Financial Times decided to run its first piece of short fiction, it chose The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble, a story of economic intrigue in Africa by Julian Gough. The BBC has just turned the story into a delightful radio play.

The New York Times, 19th May 2009

It's a Radio 4 play that's on now and it's brill. Funny - I laughed out loud in so many places. And you really have to listen if you don't work in banking or have an economics degree, but do want to learn about securitisation, futures and hedge funds... and have a laugh. Finally a comedy that works!! The actors are brilliant, too.

Janice Okoh, Why Don't You Write About Me?, 18th May 2009

A delightful and informative satirical explanation of the current economic crisis. Brings home the utter folly of the past few years!

Musickna, Opera Blog, 17th May 2009

Bearing in mind the topical nature of this play, I'm not surprised it's a last-minute affair: at time of writing, the cast was to be confirmed. What we do know is that it's an adaptation of a Julian Gough story depicting an encounter between a young, Irish orphan, Jude, and a Somali with a degree in market economics. The economist explains how he lost a fortune in the "virtual goat market". What ensues is a humorous appraisal of the glories and the hazards of market forces.

Jod Mitchell, The Telegraph, 15th May 2009

Stephanie Flanders Blog

You don't get many plays about goats. Or economics. So when they asked me to star in a radio play about a giant speculative goat bubble, how could I say no? The only catch was that I had to play myself.

Stephanie Flanders, BBC Blogs, 15th May 2009