Many of you will be familiar with the BBC’s many series of programs covering the microcomputer, as it was then commonly called, throughout the 1980’s. Classics such “The Computer Program”, “Making the Most of the Micro” and “Microlive” became compulsive viewing for anyone who had a passing interest in computers. Ian Mcnaught-Davis, Chris Searle and Fred Harris were the faces of the computing revolution that was sweeping the UK. What isn’t so well known is that these programs were a direct result of a program first shown on ITV in 1979, “The Mighty Micro”.
The Mighty Micro TV series was written and presented by Dr Christopher Evans, a noted computer scientist who worked at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, London. It was based the book he had written with the same name, exploring the microcomputer and it’s predicted the impact on the future of society. By examining the world as it was in the late 1970’s, Dr Evans made a number of predictions about where he saw computing and mankind in the year 2000 – many of which he get either spot on or at least very close, albeit a few years later than predicted.
Watching the six-part series on YouTube or reading his book today is a fascinating experience, it’s incredible just how far-sighted he was – the viewer of the same programs in 1979 must have either been amazed or scared at what was being predicted to happen in just a few short years.
Sadly Christopher Evans died of cancer before the series was completed, the last of the six episodes are presented by his producer as a tribute to him. It’s a shame he never got to even see how much he predicted has become commonplace, even trivial for us today. I can’t do justice to this series in this short article but if you want to read more about it and the author then this article gives a fascinating insight.
His book, The Mighty Micro, can be found cheaply on Amazon. I paid just over £1 for it delivered – well worth it for a fascinating and well-written read.
If you would like to watch the TV shows, the links to them on YouTube are below.
Episode 1 – The Coming of the Microprocessor
Episode 2 – Of Machines and Money
Episode 3 – The Political Revolution
Episode 4 – The Introverted Society
Episode 5 – The Intelligent Machine
Episode 6 – All Our Tomorrows