Commercial Break: Sir Clive's misguided leap of faith
If you were watching BBC4 last night, you probably saw a glorious docu-drama about the rise and rise of Sir Clive Sinclair, one of the pioneering figures in UK tech stuff (it ended just before his inglorious fall). As well as the mighty ZX Spectrum, it should never be forgotten that he came up with early versions of the digital watch and the pocket calculator - a ginger genius.
At one point you might have seen Sir Clive sprinting across a field while filming an ad for the grown-up QL computer that was unleashed in 1984 – here’s the actual ad itself, sadly minus sound but very much containing the sight of the great man doing a Carl Lewis and leaping through the air over the top of rival machines.
You might wince at the £698 price tag that appears on the screen – yes, more than you’d pay for a decent desktop PC in 2009. But don’t worry, the price was down to under £200 a year or so later… and still nobody bought it.
It’s enough to make a man move out of the computer market and start building lethal-looking battery-powered cars instead…