It’s that time of the week again, a Thursday at 7.30pm, BBC1 and our favourite show was about to air.
No it wasn’t Scrapheap or Red Dwarf (although it was always watched in our house) it was the BBC’s own Tomorrow’s World.
This show like nothing else bonded my father and I in front of a seldom watched TV screen.
But what made us bond so much over 30 minutes of TV?
A farming life…
My Father was a farmer who loved his animals, he named all of his 200+ cows and knew all their character traits, but he also held a huge passion for technology. However due to budget constraints forced upon us due to the size of our farm, he wasn’t able to invest or even consider some of the latest technology that would help in his everyday life, and he also lamented being born when he was.
He often said he was born before his time.
But his passion for future technology and the environment is where Tomorrow’s World comes in.
Whilst I grew up in the 80’s, I remember TW being mostly aired on (but don’t quote me) Thursday’s at around 7.30pm. However, no matter the day or date it was on, my father and I watched it like it was our own religion.
We even recorded every episode so we could look back in years’ time to see which, if any, predictions were accurate. Alas, these recordings got taped over, over the years the technology became obsolete and only some of their predictions came to reality.
Technology and the environment…
From flying nuclear cars to humans inhabiting Mars by 2010, the show was always full of growing optimism of a better time, whether that was environmentally, technologically or socially.
Everything was going to be better in the future. It’s a loaded statement these days but, I still believe the future will be a better place.
Along with environmental segments in the show, I always found the technology which was media based, such as VHS, Betamax and laser disc to be the most intriguing as these technologies would infiltrate our homes and lives. I also remember my dad and I talking extensively about ‘cube’ technology and how up to a whopping two films could be stored onto them and viewed via a projector, apparently TVs would become obsolete.
I remember hearing how tunnels would span our planet, making a trip from the UK to Singapore take 4-5 hours.
Okay, so maybe not all Tomorrow’s World predictions were wholly accurate. It was the theory of the future that engaged us so highly.
I remember my father being very concerned about acid rain (coming from unregulated coal burning power plants) and the hole in the Ozone layer, which, had international governments not taken swift action, by 2002 would be directly over the UK and we would all suffer the consequences of UV radiation from our sun.
It was a hot topic of that week’s Tomorrow’s World episode.
This was probably the first time I became properly aware of our planet’s delicate state and that everything we do affects future generations. This disturbed my sister and I (she used to join in watching too) and we knew something had to change.
With this ringing in my father’s ears, he decided to look into going ‘off-grid’. We lived in a low lying, flat area in the South Cotswolds, and it was often blowing a gale through the farm.
In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s his preferred method to generate his own electricity for our farm was wind turbines.
At that time wind turbines were the preferred method within the farming community, solar was still in its infancy (expensive and not overly efficient at the time) and annoyingly, there was no river or stream allowing for a water turbine generator to be utilised. So after many years of research, he was all ready to invest.
However there was a snag. A recession killed off our farm as quotas were unobtainable and at the same time my mother’s employer suddenly died.
In order to save her job, which was more stable than farming, my parents had to purchase the school mum had been working in for 40+ years,.
“Maybe next year” my father uttered in frustration. Along with “never get into farming”, something I have adhered to.
Why is this relevant…
So why am I writing a blog post about this?
Well after 12 years of being a successful freelance filmmaker, I want to dream a little bigger.
My father sadly and suddenly passed away almost 11 years ago as I write this, I now find myself married, a father of three and in charge of the production of the Fully Charged Show.
My message and passion for the environment and technology I bring to this role, is stronger than ever before, all thanks to Tomorrow’s World.
My aim, with Robert and Dan’s blessing of course, is to make the tone of Tomorrow’s World translate into the tone of Fully Charged. We have a plan, and we aim to realise the start of this in 2021 episodes.
So stay tuned.
About the author
Benjamin is a very experienced video editor and filmmaker. With a wealth of varied experience from helping to edit major feature films in the US, BBC News, freelance documentary filmmaker and successful freelance corporate filmmaker and businessman. He decided to settle back in England and host a podcast all about video production, where he first came across Fully Charged.