Micro Men

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Micro Men
Title card
GenreDocumentary drama
Created byAndrea Cornwell
Written byTony Saint
Directed bySaul Metzstein
StarringAlexander Armstrong
Martin Freeman
Theme music composerVangelis
Opening theme"Pulstar"
ComposerIlan Eshkeri
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
Executive producersElinor Day
Jamie Laurenson
ProducerAndrea Cornwell
CinematographyHubert Taczanowski
EditorIan Davies
Running time84 mins
Original release
NetworkBBC Four
Release8 October 2009 (2009-10-08)[1]

Micro Men is a 2009 one-off BBC drama television programme set in the late 1970s and the early-mid 1980s, about the rise of the British home computer market and the early fortunes of Sinclair and Acorn Computers. 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.[2]


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 1980s focusing on the race to win a grant from the BBC to become the provider of a home computer for the BBC's programming for schools.[3] Certain parts of the drama are based on historical fact while others are a dramatisation.

The main characters are ZX Spectrum creator Clive Sinclair and BBC Micro creators Chris Curry, Sophie Wilson, Steve Furber and Hermann Hauser. The real-life Wilson also makes a brief cameo as a barmaid.





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.[4] 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.[5] They also supplied other technical props, including the Sinclair C5, and Jason Fitzpatrick, director of the museum, played the part of David Johnson-Davies.[6]

The programme's titles use green lettering similar to that produced by the 1980s monitors to which BBC Microcomputers would have typically been connected.


The soundtrack uses a number of early 1980s electronica tracks:[7] Though not all tracks are limited to that decade.


It was first shown on BBC Four on 8 October 2009.


When asked about the programme in an interview for The Independent — despite being involved in the production — Sinclair himself stated: "It was a travesty of the truth. It just had no bearing on the truth. It was terrible."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Teeman, Tim (9 October 2009). "Last Night's TV". The Times. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  2. ^ Wollaston, Sam (9 October 2009). "Micro Men". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  3. ^ Arnott, Jack (8 October 2009). "Micro Men preview". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  4. ^ Lyle, Peter (7 October 2009). "Micro Men: Sir Clive Sinclair and the heyday of British computing". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Museum-piece computers programmed into TV show". Haverhill Weekly News. Cambridge Newspapers. 7 October 2009. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Syntax Era / Micro Men Trailer". Centre for Computing History. Centre for Computing History. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  7. ^ Smith, Tony (14 February 2014). "Micro Men: The story of the syntax era". www.theregister.com. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  8. ^ "Sir Clive Sinclair: Down but never out, the eternal optimist is back". The Independent. 10 January 2010. Archived from the original on 14 May 2022.

External links[edit]