The truth behind Micro Men

I cut my teeth on 8 bit home micros back in the 80’s and was more than chuffed to be able to catch BBC’s Micro Men programme last night.

Here is the official BBC description

Affectionately comic drama about the British home computer boom of the early 1980s.

Legendary inventor Clive Sinclair battles it out with ex-employee Chris Curry, founder of Acorn Computers, for dominance in the fledgling market.

The rivalry comes to a head when the BBC announce their Computer Literacy Project, with the stated aim of putting a micro in every school in Britain. When Acorn wins the contract, Sinclair is furious, and determines to outsell the BBC Micro with his ZX Spectrum computer.

Home computing arrives in Britain in a big way, but is the country big enough for both men?

Clive Sinclair was played, brilliantly, by Alexander Armstrong and Chris Curry by Martin Freeman. However, I was particularly excited to see Steve Furber included (played by Sam Phillips).

Micro Men - Steve Furber on the very right

Micro Men - Steve Furber on the very right

In a magical twist that would make many geeks salivate, I’ve met Mr (or rather, Professor) Furber as I’m good friends with his daughter. So, after last nights show I thought I’d ask her what he thought of it and how accurate it really was.

They got his character wrong – in real life he’s not a chain smoker or someone who eats Chinese food with wire clippers. Although he did describe it all as  “a jolly romp”!

He also wasn’t personally responsible for wire wrapping all those joints, and if he was he’d like to point out that he wouldn’t use a soldering iron!

Not that he told his daughter a great deal about the show (she’s not sure if he had any involvement in it) – he only told her it was happening on Tuesday in a ‘you might want to watch this…’ way! But he says the major facts are true although, sadly, Hermann cut the wire about 3 hours before the BBC people arrived rather than 3 seconds, so there was some dramatization.

Who’d have thought it?

Posted by David Artiss

Enterprise Happiness Engineer for the WordPress VIP team at Automattic. Gamer, film lover and general fan of all things Marvel, Star Trek and Star Wars. Failed comedian. Writer for The Big Tech Question. World's Greatest Grandma.

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