One for the computer history geeks

Micro Men was an entertaining drama broadcast on BBC4 last week, based around the real story of the rivalry between the eccentric British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair, and Chris Curry, who once worked for him and went on to found Acorn Computers.  It’s set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when home computers were in their infancy and many people (including, to judge from the programme) Clive Sinclair himself, doubted whether they would ever achieve widespread use.

The portrayal of Sinclair is unflattering: he is shown as short-tempered even to the extent of getting into a brawl in the pub with Curry: presumably to establish the period when it’s set, the music playing in the background is Say, Say, Say, recorded by Paul McCartney and an ambitious young Michael Jackson in 1983.  Oh – and I wonder whether Sinclair really smoked constantly, as he does in the programme.

You can still watch the programme on i-player for a few days,


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One Response to “One for the computer history geeks”

  1. Peter Says:

    I loved this programme – it brought back really fond memories of my time at Acorn in the 1980’s – unfortunately I arrived after all the money had gone and the Company was taken over by Olivetti. Looking back the real story of Acorn was never about how many BBC’s it sold vs Sinclairs Spectrums, it about the lack of available investment funding for technology businesses. That Acorn was unable to raise sufficient capital on the back of its ARM 32 bit RISC chip to create a globally dominant business was evident of the shortermism still evident today in the City. At that time Microsoft had not even brought out Windows and was using 8 bit MS-DOS in IBM PC’s – so Acorn led the world by a mile.
    As a TV programme it was great comedy and well acted, as a story it represents a tragedy,and one that continues.

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