Tomorrow’s World was a long-running BBC TV series, showcasing new (and often wacky) developments in the world of science and technology. For four decades, the UK government produced thousands of strange little films in order to sell an ideal Britain overseas and now, for the first time, they are shown to the country that inspired them. In many cases the show offered the British public its first chance to see key technologies that subsequently became commonplace, notably: The Breathalyser (1967) The ATM (1969) The pocket calculator (1971) The digital watch (1972) Teletext (Ceefax) (1975) The personal stereo (1980) The compact disc and player (1981) The camcorder (1981) Barcode reader (1983) Radio Automation, pioneered on Pirate FM 102 (1992) Clockwork radio (1993)
Perhaps the best-remembered item in the programme’s history was the introduction of the compact disc in 1981, when presenter Kieran Prendiville demonstrated the disc’s supposed indestructibility by spreading strawberry jam on a Bee Gees CD. The show also gave the first British TV exposure to the group Kraftwerk, who performed their then-forthcoming single “Autobahn” as part of an item about the use of technology in musicmaking. Another programme concerning new technology for television and stage lighting featured The Tremeloes and the Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd.