Magic Micro Mission (ITV, 1983)
You might have realised by now that I do find TV shows about computing from the early-80s rather interesting, almost a decade before Gamesmaster and the like, because it shows just how far we’ve come over the years. These have included Chip In and Murphy’s Micro Quiz-M, and recently I discovered another one on YouTube, that wanted to explain to us that the computer is here to stay, and can also do many helpful things for you.
Magic Micro Mission (which I’m fairly sure was only shown in the Central region) began with a special computer-generated version of the Central ident, so this one was clearly on to winner from the start. The show had a rather futuristic feel, apparently being set on a spaceship that was a long way from Earth. This was at a time when people really did think that we’d all be living on the moon by the year 2000, and this was the first steps towards that.
The hosts were Jo Wheeler (who I think was also a continuity announcer on Central at the time) and Adrian Hedley, who were joined by a studio audience of schoolchildren dressed as robots. They would accompanied by “Egghead”, who knew all about technology and explained the jargon, and there would often be interjections from “Prune” the computer. If you didn’t know your VIC-20 from your ZX Spectrum, this was the show to help you out.
There were also some silicon superstars who were beamed down to play various games or explain how things worked. There included celebrities, musicians, game developers, and so on. Also featuring were a panel of five children who played games and had to explain what they were all about. I don’t know if they thought that everything was “the best game ever”, but if they did, then I’m sure that they went on to a long and successful career in computer games journalism.
And there were also examples of how modern technology was already being used, including film Tron, and that weird Will Powers music video that I went on about in another piece a while ago. You really can see the early stages of things that we almost take for granted now like email developing already. Rather bizarrely, every edition ended with a computer exploding, to much commotion from everyone. That’ll teach them to overload their floppy. What a treat.