The BBC Computer Literacy Project

The Backstory: A Lecture by David Allen at tNMoC

tNMoC Series 1 Episode 1
First broadcast 14th November 2013, 19:00
Duration: 01:09:14
Run software from this programme (3 programs)
Here is the surprising back story of the 1980s BBC Computer Literacy Project, a series that brought computing to countless British TV viewers, as told by David Allen, who produced the series. His talk is both fascinating and entertaining with clips from the original programmes. The 70-minute video, produced and edited by Alistair Quarterman, a TNMOC member, is of David's talk at TNMOC in November 2013

Clips from this programme

Intro and Thanks

Duration: 00:34

The Project's beginnings. Before the BBC Micro launch in 1982 (1979-1987), and it lives on today (George Osborne quote) . It included Computers, peripherals, over 100 TV Programmes, educational network, books, helpline, software, DoI & MSC support, Telesoftware and take up by 85% of schools and colleges - Horizon-When the Chips are Down

Duration: 05:07

The Initial Response: Two series for Businesses and a General Audience - The Silicon Factor (Bernard Falk and Managing The Micro (Brian Redhead)

Duration: 02:26

The Coordinated Project: The Adult Literacy Campaign (On The Move) with a huge network around the country. BBC as the stimulus followed up by hands-on support. Early days: The glued Acorn Atom. 1980 - The Sinclair ZX80 (Asa Briggs - Historian, turning points: The BBC Micro being one of those points)

Duration: 03:55

A Computer to suit use in a Television Series with a confident, unbureaucratic BBC, BBC Education Officer, strong engineering culture with broadcasting support to support any initiative - Quite different from today. Advice from John Coll about the BBC Micro and how to teach BASIC and learn problem solving: Manufacturers approached - 'On your bike'. Newbury, Tangerine, Acorn, Tansam, Sinclair. The December 1980 Specification, the contract was won by Acorn (March 1981)

Duration: 09:35

The Risks in the Project - John Radcliffe (BoM, BoD). Developments such as the Welcome Tape, User Guide, Educational Officers, NEC 30 Hour Basic; the underlying infrastructure. Roger McGough's interactive poem. Commissioned software

Duration: 04:34

Roger McGough's interactive poem. Commissioned software

Duration: 02:59

The Computer Programme (Paul Kriwaczek): Chip problems and a 3 month delay. Audience research assumes an audience of men in the 30-40s, the result quite different

Duration: 04:30

Making The Most of the Micro: Mac and John Coll (SL), the BBC Buggy

Duration: 06:13

The Government DTI ministers meets BBC Micro Computers (John McGregor, Norman Lamont, John Wakeham, Patrick Jenkin, Kenneth Baker)

Duration: 01:11

1982: Audiences of around 2 million, a real success all round : 300,00 Broadcast Support referrals; Sales to USA, Canada & Australia. Computers and software was improving all the time (Hugo Allen)

Duration: 03:15

Making the Most of the Micro Live - 2 hours (Mrs Thatcher letter); Telesoftware - sold data space (e.g. Betting shops and bank via the BBC Data service - Royalties) MEP shut down

Duration: 12:06

Making the Most of the Micro Live - 2 hour: Hackers. The Office and Patrick Titley in the Office

Duration: 06:09

Computers in Control, The Electronic Office; Industrial arm Egg test - Mac, the arm and the egg

Duration: 05:18

Micro Live: Summary of all the TV Series made including Micro Live - A montage. All this material should be available as an archive to institutions such as Bletchley's tNMoC; What next? And thanks..

Duration: 10:08

Thanks & Credits

Duration: 00:42