Managing Director of Pure Energy, Jason Fitzpatrick has been wearing his other hat recently as chairman of the Centre for Computing History.
Many computers and electronics props sourced from the Centre will appear in a major BBC production 'Micro Men' due to be screened this October on BBC 4. Martin Freeman (The Office) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller) star in this affectionately comic account of the Eighties race for home computer supremacy in the eighties. And actually Jason even has a small part in the film - largely due to his seventies hair style! - as David Johnson-Davies.
Micro Men gives an amusing insight into the brilliant but eccentric characters that triggered the beginning of the UK computer revolution, documenting the rivalry between Sir Clive Sinclair (Armstrong) and his former colleague Chris Curry (Freeman) as they battle to achieve domination of the growing home computer market, with Sinclair's ZX Spectrum and C5 computers pitched against Curry's BBC Micro.
A one-off drama, Micro Men is part of Electric Revolution, a season of programmes giving viewers a unique insight into how developments in technology have shaped our lives over the past 50 years.
The Centre for Computing History - based in Haverhill, Suffolk - supplied all of the computers and technical props for the programme and Jason spent a week at West Drayton filming the Acorn scenes. He said: “It was a unique experience - just watch out for me dancing at a seventies style party.” indeed!!
On a more serious note, he also designed and built from scratch the prototype BBC micro that is seen in the film. The original no longer exists, so he had to build it based on two old photos of the machine and guidance from the original designers - Steve Furber, Sophie Wilson and Chris Turner - of what was then Acorn Computers.
Yes, we know he is a very clever guy!
The Centre for Computing History has enjoyed a very busy year advising and supplying machines for a number of TV documentaries and dramas over the past year. These include other Electric Dreams episodes, Gameswipe, The Genius of Design and Games Britannia - all showing soon on the BBC.
In addition, the Centre was one of the principle stars at Channel 4’s The Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham earlier this year and took part in The Open University’s 40th anniversary celebrations at Milton Keynes.
Date : 31-08-2009