The Computer Programme

1982, Technology  -   22 Comments
Ratings: 8.55/10 from 20 users.

The Computer ProgrammeThis BBC documentary from 1982 tries to bring people closer to the - back then - just emerging micro computers by showing how computers already helped out creating a more efficient society.

This documentary gives a unique insight into 70s and 80s technology, as well as into peoples fears, hopes and images of how the role of the computer might influence the future.

Each programme would normally start with either Serle or McNaught-Davis introducing a real life situation where computers are being (or could be) applied - examples included the office, a car factory and the British Library.

This would form the theme which would underpin the demonstrations shown on the programme.

The theme music to the programme was Kraftwerk's Computer World, taken from their 1981 album of the same name.

The opening titles was an animation of an owl - the mascot (and logo) of the BBC Microcomputer system - flying into a domestic living room.

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22 Comments / User Reviews

Leave a Reply to christopher.miller Cancel reply

  1. john smith

    I am 56 and remember those days well.The computer certainly has changed the way people communicate.In those days people were social and went out more to meet others, these days even kids can't ride a bicycle and are unable to have meaningful conversations because of the computer that they seem to be addicted to.We all us them of course( I am IT technician any case) but soon we woll not be able to do anything without them, and I worry what will happen in the future when everything is connected -cars, home. TV, work, shopping etc and someone turns it off.It also means that we as a society have become to judge privacy as a thing of the past and are willing to let the whole world know our every movement and thoughts.I don't think this is going in the right direction, and concerns me what this will bring in the future when we have no option but to connected to the''cloud'' which is just a way for those who want to, to snoop on our every move.

  2. Rampage

    Great Show! What a wonderful history lesson!

  3. Kateye70

    Don't be disappointed! It was a lot of 'hurry up and wait' for the new technology.

    I went to a printing industry trade show in 1981, and there was a booth showing the latest and greatest--a graphics tablet and art program, running about $1.6 million US. 1981 dollars. I drooled. At the time, it was only available to the research department at MIT, but was there to showcase the 'future'.

    Now, I have an iPad with graphics apps, a pressure-sensitive stylus and much more besides. It only took 30 years to get here. I spent years wishing to have such a device, and waiting for the costs to come down.

    Still, I can't wait to see what's coming next. Hope I'm still around for it!

  4. Godsclaws

    I must say I'm a bit disappointed in a way that I grew up with technology already being awesome. I would have liked to experience what others are saying about the old computers, writing basic and watching how technology grew and being wowed by it. That would be cool but then again Im so GLAD I've been born into this age where computers are easy and complex, fun and fustrating.

  5. Jo McKay

    just for the trip, watch the first...if u need something to put you to sleep, watch more.... ah the first laptop?...a compac 386 (that's MB mind :) - and I thought wow, I'll never run out of space.

  6. Igor Lysy

    The love for computers drew us all here, only 10 years ago most people where scared to open the computer case, today girls flaunt their ability to fix computers to pick up guys....

    Where am I going with this?

  7. Jake

    Ahhhh that was a very great trip back to the future... that just recall me how long I'd pass working on my Coco 64 to write a 300 lines of basic programming just to finally hear a very synthesized anthem of the United States. Great doc really good... I actually was almost crying when I saw the first tape... the exact ancestor of the Iomega Zip drive.

  8. Wayne

    50 Mhz Cray computer. LOL! That sure became antiquated in a hurry. Ah the good old days in the 80's when everyone was to be a computer expert. These days most peope are point and click slaves who rely on the few peope who still remember how to work under the hood of the computer.
    Computers freeing up humanity to persue more creative activities. Well, that never happened. Apparently we will need fewer humans and the best way to do that is to put better computers in weapons to kill off the excess society.
    The Cybermen work covertly to destroy humanity and K9 wastes time playing in mazes.

  9. Yavanna

    10 PRINT "Great Doc!"
    20 GOTO 10

    This was like a huge trip down memory lane for me..... It did get very repetitive in the examples given.... such as the washing machine.

    Probably not much point in people watching the entire 4 hours in my opinion unless like me you are from the dark ages of the ZX81, BBC Micro (and yuk C64) in which case this is like a historical doc. It is however very interesting in terms that it is prophetic. There is one pundit (I didnt catch his name) who mentions a few times the phrase "global village." Virtually everything he predicted has come to pass and in my opinion he was modest in his predictions.

    1. Guest

      This is off-topic, but I love your post-name! Did you get it from 'The Silmarillion', or does it happen to be your real name, too?

  10. Luke

    about as useful as watching ad advert for a model T ford

  11. Anthony

    It all looked so promising and then Bill gates came along and said hey you guys don't need to know this stuff, just look at my pretty windows click click click. And we've been lumbered with it ever since lol.

    1. Kelly Elton

      yeah but it went from being a scattered mess, to a standardized industry, which is a much healthier environment for consumers and developers. The information is out there for people if they want to learn, in huge abundance none the less.

  12. christopher.miller

    The programming theory explained in some of these episodes is still 100% relevant to today's programming theory, The "IF left is > right THEN swap" sequence used to compare the weights and have the right being the heaviest to the left smallest gave me some good insight on the programming I am studying myself.

  13. magarac

    Really makes you wonder what computers will be like 30 years from now.

    1. Miniclip100

      Indeed, i think we will have computers in our heads like google glasses. Its gona be awesome we are living in the future

  14. QueenBee

    Great documentary!

    It's amazing how much of what they predicted came about so quickly. My favorite: "So what can you do with this machine? For example, this one has games on it..."

  15. tigerpred

    ONLY 30 years ago

  16. pont

    He's a bit avid. He's like a child in front of that computer.

  17. DeathSSghosT

    what!!! only 2 comments? well what ever, i love stuff about computers. i really hope they talk about AI. thanks Vlatko, this site kept me sane while i was on intensive probation. and now this place is helping me while i look for a job. oh yeah, if ne1 knows of some work in tucson az, hit me up, seriously. well thanks again Vlatko

  18. Tyler_Trip


  19. Tyler_Trip

    Looks pretty interesting, ill give it a go.