Electric Dreams – a journey through four decades of technology

As a rule, I don’t normally promote organisations I’ve previously worked for, but as someone who is both a self-confessed gadget freak and has an interest in all things historical, I thought others of a similar bent might be interested in a new three-part series called Electric Dreams, which starts on BBC Four next Tuesday (September 29th) at 9pm.

The premise is simple enough. It takes a modern, tech-savvy family of six in Reading – one which has five mobile phones, six televisions and seven computers between them – and transports them back to 1970, a time when most homes had only a single black-and-white television (affording access to three – count them, three! – channels) and a single dial phone. During each programme, they are then progressed through the 70s, 80s and finally 90s, with new technology being introduced into their home at the rate of a year per day.

Having listened to an in-depth preview of the series on this week’s Guardian Tech Weekly podcast, the programme promises some interesting observations on the impact technology has had on our lives and the way we interact as families – some of it good, some not so good.

If nothing else, it will be an interesting trip down memory lane, to a time when teasmades and freezers were the new must-have gadgets, the Welsh made home computers (anyone remember the Dragon 32?), and YouTube was part of the plumbing that connected your toilet to your drains.

I’ve just used my mobile phone to remotely programme my Sky+ box to record the series, and in true 21st century style I’ll probably get round to watching it in about six months’ time …