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ZX Spectrum vs BBC Micro: the TV drama

BBC4 to portray Sinclair/Curry rivalry.

BBC4 is making an "affectionately comic" TV drama celebrating the central rivalry in British home computing in the 1980s: between Sir Clive Sinclair, creator of the ZX Spectrum, and his former colleague Chris Curry who went on to design the BBC Micro.

The (very clever, if you ask us) working title for the 90-minute film is Syntax Era. It will star Alexander Armstrong of comedy duo Armstrong and Miller as Uncle Clive, and The Office's Martin Freeman as Curry.

Extra nostalgic value will be extracted by the use of archive footage from the time, including clips from the likes of John Craven's Newsround, according to The Guardian's report.

Although the gaming battle for the UK's households in the eighties was really fought between the Spectrum and US import the Commodore 64, it was Sinclair and Curry's easy-to-program computers which hooked a generation of British boys on computing and spear-headed the particularly early and prolific growth of the UK videogame industry.

The cheap and flexible Spectrum flooded British homes, while Curry's sturdy, establishment-approved slab of a machine could be found in virtually every school in the nation.

"Those of us who lived through the 1980s will remember the sense of excitement when gadgets and technology started to appear in our homes, but not many of us will know the fascinating stories behind their arrival," said BBC4 controller Richard Klein.

"Alexander Armstrong and Martin Freeman are excellent choices to portray Sir Clive Sinclair and Chris Curry at a time when battling to have the UK's most-loved home computer was their number one priority."