Bill Thompson (technology writer)

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Bill Thompson
Bill Thompson at the BBC Television Centre, 2012
William George Thompson

(1960-10-06) 6 October 1960 (age 63)
Jarrow, County Durham, United Kingdom
OccupationTechnology writer

William George Thompson (born 6 October 1960) is an English technology writer, best known for his weekly column in the Technology section of BBC News Online and his appearances on Digital Planet, a radio show on the BBC World Service. He is also an honorary senior visiting fellow at City University London's Journalism Department[1] and writes for BBC WebWise.


Born in Jarrow, County Durham, Thompson grew up in Corby, Northamptonshire. He graduated from St Catharine's College, Cambridge in philosophy and with a diploma in computing in 1984 and worked at Acorn Computers.[2]

He was a correspondent for the technology programme The Big Byte on BBC Radio. He began to write for The Guardian in 1990, and in 1994 went to work there (having previously worked at Pipex, the United Kingdom's first commercial Internet service provider) as head of new media, setting up the paper's website, which he argued should not be paywalled.[3] He left in 1996 to work as a freelance writer and consultant. In November 2009 he took on a role as head of partnership development for Archive Development projects at the BBC, working with Tony Ageh (formerly of The Guardian), the then Controller of Archive Development at the BBC.[4]

He acted as contributor and expert on Digital Planet from its launch as Go Digital in August 2001 to its final broadcast in March 2023. After the end of Digital Planet, in April 2023, Mitchell and Thompson returned with a new technology podcast, The Gareth and BillCast.[5]

Thompson is a trustee of the Britten Sinfonia,[6] and a former board member of the Writers' Centre Norwich.[7] In 2010, he was nominated for the Prudential Arts and Business Board Member of the year award.[8] In October 2016, Anglia Ruskin University awarded Thompson an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.[9]

He is chair of Centre for Doctoral Training advisory board and a member of the main advisory board of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton.[10]

He has two children.[11]


Thompson has also written books for children:

  • Thompson, Bill (1999). Your Own Website. Hodder Headline. ISBN 978-0340736500.
  • Thompson, Bill (2000). Your Own Chat Room. Hodder Headline. ISBN 978-0340784822.
  • Thompson, Bill (2000). Homework Busters. Belitha Press. ISBN 978-1903174142.


  1. ^ "Bill Thompson". City University London. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  2. ^ "The birth of a UK tech giant". BBC News. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  3. ^ Rusbridger, Alan (6 September 2018). Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now. Canongate Books. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-1-78689-095-5.
  4. ^ Bunz, Mercedes (2 November 2009). "Pair behind first Guardian website back together for BBC Archive". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  5. ^ "The Gareth and BillCast". Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  6. ^ "Meet the Trustees". Britten Sinfonia. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  7. ^ "About Us". Writers' Centre Norwich. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  8. ^ Carr, Katy (9 September 2010). "Why Bill Thompson is nominated for the Prudential A&B Board Member of the Year". Writers' Centre Norwich. Archived from the original on 14 September 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Bill Thompson". Anglia Ruskin University. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Bill Thompson". University of Southampton. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  11. ^ "Musical future for phones". 22 November 2004. Retrieved 4 October 2017.

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