Micro Men

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Micro Men
Micro Men.png
Micro Men title card.
Genre Documentary drama
Created by Andrea Cornwell
Written by Tony Saint
Directed by Saul Metzstein
Starring Alexander Armstrong
Martin Freeman
Theme music composer Vangelis
Opening theme "Pulstar" by Vangelis
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Elinor Day
Jamie Laurenson
Producer(s) Andrea Cornwell
Cinematography Hubert Taczanowski
Editor(s) Ian Davies
Running time 84 mins
Original network BBC Four
Original release 8 October 2009[1]
External links
Website www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n5b92

Micro Men, working title Syntax Era[2] is a one-off BBC drama television show set in the late 1970s and the early-mid 1980s, about the rise of the British home computer market. It focuses on the rivalry between Sir Clive Sinclair (played by Alexander Armstrong), who developed the ZX Spectrum, and Chris Curry (played by Martin Freeman), the man behind the BBC Micro.[3]


The drama is centred on two of the leading players and their respective companies in the home computer market of the late 1970s and early 80s focusing on the race to become the provider of a home computer for the BBC's programming for schools.[4] Certain parts of the drama are based on historical fact whilst others are dramatisation and a version of events at the time.

Production and release[edit]

The programme was created by independent production company Darlow Smithson and was written by Tony Saint, directed by Saul Metzstein and produced by Andrea Cornwell.[5] It was produced as a BBC Drama, shot in the UK, with some scenes shot in and around the colleges of Cambridge on 15 July 2009. Computers were supplied by The Centre for Computing History, then in Haverhill.[6] They also supplied other technical props, including the Sinclair C5, and Jason Fitzpatrick, director of the museum, played the part of David Johnson-Davies.[7]

The programme's working title was Syntax Era.[8]

The programme's opening title theme is "Pulstar" from the 1976 album Albedo 0.39 by Vangelis.

It was first shown on the UK channel BBC Four on 8 October 2009.


Cameo appearances[edit]

Sophie Wilson, part of the Acorn development team (as Roger Wilson), played the part of the pub landlady calling time[9] (around 1h 21m).

Chris Serle and Ian McNaught-Davis also make cameo appearances through use of stock footage from The Computer Programme which was woven into certain scenes.

Jim Westwood can be seen reading a magazine behind Martin Freeman in WH Smith.


When asked about the show in an interview for The Independent Clive Sinclair replied "It was a travesty of the truth. It just had no bearing on the truth. It was terrible."[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Teeman, Tim (9 October 2009). "Last Night's TV". The Times. The Times. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  2. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1459467/releaseinfo#akas
  3. ^ Sam Wollaston (9 October 2009). "Micro Men". The Guardian. London: The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Arnott, Jack (8 October 2009). "Micro Men preview". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Lyle, Peter (7 October 2009). "Micro Men: Sir Clive Sinclair and the heyday of British computing". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Museum-piece computers programmed into TV show". Haverhill Weekly News. Cambridge Newspapers. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Syntax Era / Micro Men Trailer". Centre for Computing History. Centre for Computing History. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "British Comedy Guide: Micro Men". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Williams, Chris (8 October 2009). "BBC4's Micro Men: an interview and review". Drobe. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Sir Clive Sinclair: Down but never out, the eternal optimist is back". The Independent. 10 January 2010. 

External links[edit]