by Mark Nobes, chief editor

This Youtube playlist features seven clips from the BBC science show Tomorrows World, including the opening titles from 1978, the early 1980s and 1987. You can also view clips of the first satellite TV broadcast from Astra in 1989, Michael Rodd with a huge mobile phone in 1979, the World's first digital camera being reviewed by Maggie Philbin in 1985, Kieran Prendiville and some synthesizers (1984) and some ingenious 70s transport.
The programme was first transmitted on 7 July 1965 on BBC1 and ran until early 2003 before being cancelled. It was created by Glyn Jones, and was originally presented by Raymond Baxter.
As the show was presented live, there were plenty of technological failures that caused much amusement for the viewer! Indeed, before the advent if health and safety rules, it was seen as the norm to demonstrate a bullet proof vest or fire proof clothing live on air!
Tomorrow's World title screen/logo (1987)
80s title screen which first appeared in 1986

Michael Rodd - Tomorrow's World presenter
Michael Rodd

Judith Hann presenting Tomorrow's World
Judith Hann

Tomorrow's World Presenters

Michael Rodd presented Tomorrow's World from 1972 until 1982. He also hosted the children's film quiz show Screen Test from 1970 until 1979.

Kieran Prendiville was a presenter from 1979-1983. Before this he had worked as a co-presenter on the BBC consumer programme That's Life from 1973 until 1978. He was also a co-writer for numerous TV series including the TV drama's Boon, Roughnecks and The Bill, and was the creator of Ballykissangel.

Judith Hann was the longest-serving and best-remembered presenter, appearing on the programme from 1974 to 1994. In 1997 she appeared in the Shredded Wheat TV adverts advising us on the benefits to our heart. Judith also appeared on the comedy panel show Shooting Stars the same year. She currently lives on a farm in the Cotswolds (in Lechlade) and runs a media training company with her husband John Exelby, who was the co-founder of the BBC World Service. 
Peter Macann is now retired and living in Buckinghamshire. He co-presented Tomorrow's World between 1983 and 1991. He also presented, narrated and reported for numerous other TV programmes, particularly in the 1960s. In the 80s he appeared in documentaries for Top Gear in 1980 and Q.E.D. in 1987.

Howard Stableford was a presenter from 1985 until 1997. He also hosted the game show Beat The Teacher during 1984. 
In 1999, Stableford test-drove cars for the Men & Motors TV channel. Now in his mid 50s, he has recently worked for BBC Radio 4, the Open University and Granada Television.
Howard Stableford (1993) Tomorrow's World

Howard Stableford and some ghastly wallpaper in 1993

Anna Ford is best-known for presenting News At Ten from 1977 to 1980, the BBC Six O'Clock News during the 1980s and 90s until she joined the One O'Clock News team from 1999. Ford was also a Tomorrow's World presenter between 1984 and 1988, and briefly presented ITV's breakfast TV show TV-AM in 1983. She retired from broadcasting on 27th April 2006 and became a non-executive director at supermarket giant Sainsbury's until 2012. She is now a widow and currently living in Tewkesbury, Glos.
Anna Ford presenting TV-AM in 1983
Anna Ford presenting TV-AM in 1983

William Woollard in 1985
William Woollard was an enthusiastic lead presenter from 1974 to 1978. He went on to host Top Gear from 1981-1991. 


Although the 70s theme music is fondly remembered, the early to mid 1980s theme tune is a personal favourite as it had that futuristic electro sound. This was, of course, perfect for a show that reviewed/pre-viewed futuristic products. Sadly, this was ditched later on in the 80s as it had become "unfashionable", but with the recent revival of analog style synth music (original analog synths fetch a fortune these days) this would sound pretty cool these days.

A new theme tune was introduced in 1986. Unfortunately, the electronic sound was replaced with a more orchestral arrangement. Far too Conservative for my liking, but then these were the Thatcher years!


Feast your eyes on Lesley Judd and Fred Harris and these 80s computers, on BBC Micro Live (series 3) from 1986. It's amazing how dated this now looks, but at the time the graphics looked pretty decent. It's also interesting how Harris could adapt his presenting style from hosting kids TV programmes including Play School and Ragtime to a serious science show. I guess, the same applies to Judd, who, of course, is best-remembered for presenting Blue Peter.

It's hard to find a decent technology show on the BBC these days, of course. All we have is Click on the BBC News channel. Lasting less than half an hour, the "technology" show seems to be obsessed with mobile phones. As it's called "click", why isn't the show dedicated to computers? And why can't it have a regular slot on BBC1 or BBC2 so we know when it's actually aired, seeing as there are no listings for BBC News 24 in the TV Magazines. How I miss the 80s!