A brave new world. The Computer Programme (BBC 1982)


It’s slightly sobering to think that more than thirty years have passed since The Computer Programme was first broadcast on BBC2.

At that point in time the home computer revolution was just beginning and the BBC were keen to produce a series that introduced the concept and abilities of the modern computer to a wide audience.

The BBC obviously didn’t want to use an existing computer – and then be accused of offering free advertising – so they designed their own.

Ian McNaught-Davis was the avuncular expert and Chris Searle stood in for the viewer, asking all the obvious questions.

Chris Searle and Ian McNaught-Davis

There were ten episodes in total –

It’s Happening Now (11 January 1982)

Just One Thing After Another  (18 January 1982)

Talking to a Machine  (25 January 1982)

It’s On the Computer (1 February 1982)

The New Media  (8 February 1982)

Moving Pictures (15 February 1982)

Let’s Pretend  (22 February 1982)

The Thinking Machine  (1 March 1982)

In Control  (8 March 1982)

Things to Come  (15 March 1982)

Looking back at the series, it’s amazing to consider how far we’ve come in just a single generation. All the episodes are available on YouTube (something that would have seemed like science fiction in 1982) and the programmes are fascinating watching, both for those of us who were there at the time and also for younger people who can get a flavour of how computers used to be In the dim and distant past.


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