Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Price of Fear - BBC Radio Serial

In July 1973, BBC Radio aired "Remains to be Seen", the first episode of The Price of Fear, a newly written radio series that featured the voice of the master of macabre - Vincent Price. 

This late-night horror anthology serial featured 30-minute tales of spine-tingling drama penned by some of the most popular authors of the day. Each episode was introduced with a shrill violin theme followed by Price's euphonious voice welcoming listeners with "Hello, there..."

John Dyas, the producer of the series, was good friends with Vincent Price and his wife Coral Browne and came up with the idea of having Price host a radio series that would echo the classic horror programs of the 1930s and 1940s. "Merely to cast Vincent as narrator would have been all too easy," says Dyas. "My intention was to make the series far more personalized, to involve Vincent in the action, to make him a participant, even a helpless onlooker of the dreadful events we would concoct for him."*

Vincent Price loved the concept and embraced the opportunity to work in radio again. Beginning in 1936, Price had a long career in the medium and was featured in nearly 1000 episodes ranging from suspense programs like Escape and Suspense, to dramas such as Lux Radio Theatre, to guest appearances in comedies such as The Jack Benny Show. Price is probably known for being the voice of The Saint between 1947-1949. 

BBC initially aired five episodes of The Price of Fear nightly in the summer of 1973 and these proved to be so popular that an additional five stories were ordered for the fall season. The series continued in 1974 and 1975 and then was brought back in 1983, this time with Price acting solely as a narrator. 

The first-episode cast gathering during a break: Mervyn Johns, William Ingram, Diana Bishop, Robin Browne, Avril Angers, Vincent Price, Clive Swift, and Michael Gwynne. 

The series was delightfully eerie and Price injected his own tongue-in-cheek humor into the narrative which made them doubly enjoyable. The stories were also unique because of the writing talent involved. Science-fiction and detective novelists like Robert Arthur, Charles Birken, William Ingram, and Stanley Ellin all helped contribute highly imaginative stories of phantom encounters, bizarre love triangles, and spooky tales of revenge. 

Listeners with keen ears will recognize the voices of some of the actors, many of whom were popular in British television. 

Below are three episodes from The Price of Fear. To listen to all 22 episodes and to read more behind-the-scenes info about this series, check out The Sound of Vincent Price website. 

Lot 132 ( 10/6/73 )

Price sells a portrait of Nathaniel Blackwell that he purchased at an auction to a friend who then ax-murders his family! Before he can regain the painting it is sold again and Vincent worries that he may not be able to track it down before another murder occurs. 

The Waxwork ( 10/13/73 )

Price recalls the time he met writer Raymond Hewson, who died under mysterious circumstances while spending the night in a Baker Street waxworks museum.

Specialty of the House ( 4/13/74 )

Vincent Price has a fondness for Lamb Amirstan, the "specialty of the house" at Sbirros, an exclusive New York restaurant. Is it just a coincidence that every time this dish is served one of the restaurant's regular customers disappears? 

* From an article by Peter Fuller, published on The Sound of Vincent Price.

This post is part of The Vincent Price Blogathon being hosted by Realweegiemidget Reviews and Cinematic Catharsis. Click here to read more articles about Vincent Price - Enjoy! 


  1. Thanks for joning this sounds a fun series .. will definitely seek it out.

  2. It sounds like you discovered some delightful treasures. Thanks for those links, they will beautifully fill up some days.

  3. These sound amazing! I'll spend some late nights listening to these in the dark. Thanks for the tip!

  4. This blogathon has introduced me to Vincent Price the radio Star.

    This series sounds right up my alley.

  5. This sounds fantastic. I will definitely have to give it a listen! While I am aware of much of Vincent's career in radio (particularly his stint as The Saint, although I haven't listened to any episodes), this is entirely new to me.