Wonderful news that will gladden the heart of any ageing geek – the BBC has put a selection of clips and full length programmes from its pioneering popular science show Tomorrow’s World online. For anyone born after 1990, or who lives outside the UK, Tomorrow’s World was an early evening show in which the presenters paraded a range of gadgets and innovations that they predicted were going to change the way in which we lived our lives.
They got it right sometimes too. The show had the first UK TV outing of the CD, camcorder and the LaserDisc – a fore-runner of the DVD. Part of the show’s undoubted appeal was its presenters. Throughout the 70s it was helmed by ex Spitfire pilot Raymond Baxter, think eccentric uncle who spent all day in a shed doing unspeakable things with cables. By the 80s though, and very aware of the fact that ‘ a lot of people only watched the show while waiting for Top of the Pops,’ the presenters got younger and hipper. Cue arguably the UK’s first geek babe Maggie Philbin.
Philbin had cut her TV teeth as one of Noel’s sidekick’s on Saturday morning kid’s show Swap Show (she later went on to marry co-host Keith Chegwin – but that’s another story) but it was as the foil to some very quirky male presenters like Kieran Prendville that she was given her chance to really shine.
The archive has a load of clips which should keep you entertained for most of the day The two to watch first though are jumpsuit-clad Philbin in action in a Christmas special from 1982 here and an astonishing clip from 1969 in which a London businessman trials the first home computer. Suffice to say he enjoys using it but his four year old kid kicks him off it – no change there then