In 1979 Clive Sinclair, British inventor of the pocket calculator, frustrated by the lack of home investment in his project,the electric car, also opposes former assistant Chris Curry's ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Chris Curry
...
Hermann Hauser
...
Steve Furber
Stefan Butler ...
Roger Wilson
Colin Michael Carmichael ...
Jim Westwood
...
Nigel Searle
...
Valerie
...
Cynthia
...
Ann Sinclair
Anthony Smee ...
Norman Hewett
Michael Keating ...
Derek Holley
...
Bank Manager
Jon Glover ...
John Radcliffe
...
Sinclair Journalist
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Storyline

In 1979 Clive Sinclair, British inventor of the pocket calculator, frustrated by the lack of home investment in his project,the electric car, also opposes former assistant Chris Curry's belief that he can successfully market a micro-chip for a home computer. A parting of the ways sees Curry, in partnership with the Austrian Hermann Hauser and using whizz kid Cambridge students, set up his own, rival firm to Sinclair Radionics, Acorn. Acorn beat Sinclair to a lucrative contract supplying the BBC with machines for a computer series. From here on it is a battle for supremacy to gain the upper hand in the domestic market. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Biography | Drama

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8 October 2009 (UK)  »

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Trivia

Sophie Wilson has a cameo role as the landlady of the pub. See more »

Goofs

The archive footage used just before Chris is presenting the Acorn Atom to the press in 1980, shows a Commodore 1701 monitor, 2 Amstrad CPC464s and glimpse of a BBC Micro, all of which did not exist in the year where the scene takes place. See more »

Quotes

Clive Sinclair: Games! Games! Everywhere I go games! This is what my lifetime of achievement has been reduced to! Clive Sinclair the man who brought you Jet Set fucking Willy!
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Connections

References Micro Live (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The rise and fall of the UK computer business
8 October 2009 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Just saw this on BBC4. A very interesting take on how close the UK came to dominating the world computer development and manufacturing industry in the early 80s, only for it to all fall apart just 5 years later.

Despite some garish and unconvincing make-up, Armstrong shows he can do serious drama in his portrayal of Sir Clive Sinclair, the man who brought affordable computing to the masses. Martin Freeman is good (as always) as the confidante in Sinclair's company who, unable to understand Sinclairs bloody mindedness over what to concentrate their efforts on, leaves and sets up arch rival 'Acorn Computers' with an Austrian business partner.

The production team have done a solid job in displaying the drabness of the era. The mix of archive TV footage of the time inter-cut with this filmed TV drama works quite well. The background story of how the UK became a world leader in the home PC market, and then blew it, is a fascinating tale for anyone interested in recent history. At one point Freemans character turns to Sinclair and says 'We could have been the British IBM but you wouldn't listen to me' is very apt. Sinclairs obsession with the notorious C5 is also addressed. It does make you wonder what would have happened had there been more cohesion in the industry at the time rather than the arrogant self interest of the industry that resulted in the UK losing such a massive foothold.

A thought provoking drama that has just enough momentum to keep itself interesting despite some flaws.


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