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Last on

Sat 2 Nov 2013 19:00 BBC Radio 4 Extra

3 hours
First broadcast:
Saturday 02 November 2013

Made for 4 Extra. Maggie Philbin traces the remarkable history of IT through the BBC sound archives from the birthplace of the world's first electronic computer, Bletchley Park.

  • Maggie Philbin on Bletchley Park

    Maggie Philbin at Bletchley Park

    Some things simply can't be counted as work and a trip to Bletchley Park in any circumstances is one of them. I hope this programme which raids the BBC archive to see how we reported the story of IT captures something of the atmosphere of the place. Look out for the moment when we feel our way gingerly by torchlight along a pigeon infested corridor in one deserted building where so many clever heads combined to crack codes and save thousands of lives during WW2.

    The history of computing isn't just about room sized computers shrinking to fit into the palm of your hand but  extraordinary men and women from Ada Lovelace to Clive Sinclair to Tim Berners-Lee and our attitude to their pioneering work at the time.

    When I joined the BBC's Tomorrow's World team in the early 1980's, there wasn't a single computer in the office. In 1994 there were only 623 websites in the world. Today, along with the internet, they have come to reshape the way we live, work, communicate and play. I hope you enjoy this special three-hour broadcast from Bletchley Park as much we all enjoyed making it.


    (Photo: Maggie Philbin at Bletchley Park) 
  • The Enigma machine

    The Enigma machine

    The German military used the Enigma cipher machine during World War 2 to keep their communications secret. By breaking the Enigma ciphers, the Allies gained a key advantage, which, according to historians, shortened the war by two years and saving many lives.



    (Photo: The Enigma machine - at Bletchley Park)


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