Now the Chips are Down

Now the Chips are Down is a 1978 television documentary about the importance and influence of microprocessors within the British economy. It was aired by the BBC as part of its Horizon series.

Now the Chips are Down
Narrated byPaul Vaughan
Country of originUK
Original language(s)English
Original networkBBC
Original releaseMarch 31, 1978 (1978-03-31)

The programme was instrumental in raising general awareness within the UK about microprocessors.


The documentary is a report on the "applications and implications"[1] of microprocessors to employment within the British economy.[2]


The documentary was produced by BBC Television as part of its 1978 Horizon series.[1] It was narrated by British radio and television presenter Paul Vaughan.[1]


Science historian Robert M. Young wrote in 1981 that the programme played an "important part" in raising awareness about microprocessors within government and the general public.[3]


Britain's lagging place in the worldwide technology race was widely acknowledged after the documentary was screened.[4] The UK government launched the Microelectronics Education Programme in 1981, with a budget of more than £10 million.[4] This included nationwide discounts on computers to schools and colleges, and was followed by government backing of the BBC's Computer Literacy Project.[4] Funding for related education schemes continued until 1988.[4]


  1. "Now the Chips Are Down". BUFVC website. BUFVC. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  2. Huws, Ursula (14 January 2004). "Chapter 15: The fading of the collective dream?". In Mitter, Swasti; Rowbotham, Sheila (eds.). Women Encounter Technology: Changing Patterns of Employment in the Third World. Routledge. p. 321. ISBN 978-0-203-20861-8. Archived from the original on April 27, 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2013.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  3. Young, Robert M.; Gardner, Carl (1981). "Science on TV: A critique". In Bennett, Tony; Boyd-Bowman, Susan; Mercer, Colin; Woollacott, Janet (eds.). Popular television and film: a reader. British Film Institute in association with The Open University Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-85170-115-8. Archived from the original on May 28, 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2013.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  4. Tom Forester (1987). The High-Tech Society: The Story of the Information Technology Revolution. MIT Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-262-56044-3. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
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