Culture, Radio, Technology

Humour: Tomorrow’s Technology Today Episode One

HMFC Sound archive

The first product of the HMFC Memorial Sound Archive is the collection of all the episodes known to survive of the radio show, Tomorrow’s Technology Today. Listen to Episode One here:

mp3-iconTomorrow’s Technology Today Episode 1: Computer

Painstakingly restored by Robin Catling and Victoria Pritchard, with the assistance of Studio 1919, Tomorrow’s Technology Today was a pioneering broadcast which ran from 1936 to 1939.

As a short-form, interlude show, Tomorrow’s Technology Today was intended to discuss current and future inventions, according to Lord Reith’s manifesto for public broadcasting to inform, educate and entertain.

Profoundly British, with a noticeable bias toward British inventions and inventors, many people regard Tomorrow’s Technology Today as an insignificant blip in British broadcasting history.

Key to the success of the show, was the chemistry, or lack of it, between the co-hosts, the dilettante, and some say, congenitally stupid Douglas Austin Cambridge, and the highly intellectual physics graduate, Deirdre Morris Oxford.

Douglas Austin Cambridge was employed as the senior presenter, not for any qualifications – he didn’t have any. He had been to school with the producer, Bernard ‘Bunny’ Eares.

Deirdre Morris Oxford, a quintessentially modern woman, refused to play second fiddle and  frequently went off-script. Her frustration with Douglas’ inability to comprehend anything more complex than a cigarette lighter can often be heard in the recordings.

What also made Tomorrows Technology Today remarkable, was the use of vox-pop recordings of the public – the average ‘man in the street’. Although the first of these, chimney sweep George Lampson, was run over by the motor car of the Home Secretary. Apparently standing in the middle of the street was a bad idea.

The programme was halted abruptly by the outbreak of World War Two, when the War Office decided many military technical developments might be leaked on the air.

Tomorrows Technology Today ran from 1936 to 1939, but only a handful of episodes have survived, thanks to the Herbert Maxwell Fosdyke Curmudgeon Memorial Sound Archive.

These recordings are recovered from a box of old 78’s found in the shed belonging to sound engineer Reginald Blodgett after his death.

Up to this point, it was thought that no recordings had survived the War.

The HMFC Memorial Sound Archive is appealing to the public to donate any other recordings that may exist to extend the collection.

Related: Full Circle Side-Pod Episode 13: That’s How it Feels To Be Wrong

About Robin Catling

Robin Catling gained degrees in both arts and technology which led to a diverse portfolio of employment. A freelance systems analyst, project manager and business change manager for the likes of American Express, British Airways and IBM, he moved on to web design, journalism and technical authoring. He has also worked in film and television, both behind and in front of the camera, including productions by Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Ron Howard and Ridley Scott. A qualified three-weapon coach, he runs West Devon Swords teaching sports fencing to all age groups, and in recent years qualified with the British Federation of Historical Swordplay to teach medieval and renaissance combat in the Historical Western Martial Arts.


4 thoughts on “Humour: Tomorrow’s Technology Today Episode One

  1. Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m
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    Posted by ashley farrow | Mar 6, 2013, 8:50 am
  2. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks.

    Posted by Margot Seal | Mar 6, 2013, 4:34 pm


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