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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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Saul Metzstein

Writer:

Tony Saint
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alexander Armstrong ... Clive Sinclair
Martin Freeman ... Chris Curry
Edward Baker-Duly ... Hermann Hauser
Sam Phillips ... Steve Furber
Stefan Butler Stefan Butler ... Roger Wilson
Colin Michael Carmichael ... Jim Westwood
Derek Riddell ... Nigel Searle
Rhona Croker Rhona Croker ... Valerie
Amy Beth Hayes ... Cynthia
Nicola Harrison ... Ann Sinclair
Anthony Smee Anthony Smee ... Norman Hewett
Michael Keating Michael Keating ... Derek Holley
Peter Davison ... Bank Manager
Jon Glover ... John Radcliffe
Theo Barklem-Biggs ... 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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Genres:

Biography | Drama

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 2009 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Syntax Era See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2015 Sir Clive Sinclair has re-launched a modernized version of the ZX Spectrum called the Sinclair Spectrum Vega. The computer has fewer buttons than the original, but will run thousands of retro games. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end, Sir Clive is driving in his C5 as two trucks pass. The truck with the Compaq logo on the side is shown to have a modern HP logo on its rear. HP and Compaq did not merge until 2002. 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! Apparently there's even a game now about me trying to get a knighthood, for Christ's sake!
See more »

Connections

Features Newsround (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The rise and fall of the UK computer business
8 October 2009 | by trevorwombleSee 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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