Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

13th October 2009

Fred, Jim and Sheila

Last week BBC Four showed Micro Men, billed as a “drama-documentary” (i.e. facts with made up bits in between to make it more interesting) about the rivalry between Sinclair and Acorn for dominance of the UK’s nascent home computer market in the early 1980s.

I came to the world of computers long after this battle had been fought (Acorn had the education market sewn up, but Sinclair’s cheaper ZX Spectrum won the majority of the home users) but for a long-standing Acorn fan such as myself it was fascinating to see the events recreated, including a marvellous scene where the Acorn techies frantically work to get the prototype BBC Micro working while boss Chris Curry is stalling the BBC executives in the corridor outside.

One aspect the programme does capture perfectly is the genuine feeling of excitement that existed as affordable home computers entered people’s homes for the first time. Whether it was the Spectrum with its rubber keys and colour clash, or the BBC Micro’s occasionally-flammable power supplies and blocky Mode 2 graphics, computing has never seemed quite so exciting since.

Micro Men is available on iPlayer. Go get it!

22nd June 2009

BBC Four on Everything
Posted by at 1.15pm | Television | 1 response

Wow. Just a few days after I mention The Chaser’s War on Everything on this blog, I discover that BBC Four have picked the series up and start showing it this Tuesday.

This is just a coincidence, but it’s much better for my ego if I consider it a result of the publicity I’ve generated.

14th August 2008

Tim Leunig has it in his Sky+ planner already!
Posted by at 11.04pm | Liverpool, Television | No responses

Next week is Liverpool on the Box week on BBC Four, a week-long season of programmes showcasing Liverpool’s contribution to British television.

The highlight of Liverpool on the Box week surely comes on Tuesday, with a programme called… er, Liverpool on the Box which promises some 1985-vintage footage of Russell Harty sitting in with Billy Butler on Hold Your Plums. Carla Lane is also featured, but don’t let that put you off.

There’s also some Z Cars; a 1959-made documentary (Morning on the Streets) about post-war Liverpool; a 2008-made documentary (Tales of Twelve Cities) by Alan Bleasdale; a repeat of Trouble at the Top about the problem-plagued attempts to open a Beatles themed hotel; and much more archive-raiding goodness.

All in all, this looks quite special and well worth sellotaping over the record-protect hole of an E240 for. And it all culminates — hurrah! — with Our Day Out next Friday!