LGR – BBC Micro Computer System Review

LGR – BBC Micro Computer System Review

The BBC Microcomputer was Acorn’s follow-up to the Atom, and launched in 1981. Largely due to its BBC backing, the computer was quite successful in the UK, especially among schools and businesses. But is it still worth owning to a current collector of vintage computers?

This is an overview of the history, hardware, and software of the Beeb from the perspective of an American collector. How do the pros and cons stack up, and is it worth getting a Beeb over its cut-down sibling, the Electron?

Many thanks to Mark from the UK for the BBC Model B!

Also a big thanks to ImperialProductions for the Acornsoft software!

For lots of great info on the Beeb, check out Stairway To Hell:

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Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons and Phil Gyford, used under Creative Commons 2.0 attribution license. Also some from the excellent site, Chris’s Acorns.


  1. Michael G on November 15, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Several of these machines were still in use at my small rural school up until at least ’97 when I left for secondary education. They didn’t really appeal to me TBH, as I was more interested in playing Lemmings on the newer Acorns. My secondary school also had an example in its computer room, the interesting thing being that it was connected up to a programmable robotic hand. I never actually saw it function, but I wondered at the time if its grip was powerful enough to crush bones like Robocop’s was.

  2. cody8535 yt on November 15, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Bbc stands for something else as well too idk why the name stands like that

  3. Le Khoi Ânh on November 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Bbc televison centre

  4. M Harding on November 15, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I have a BBC Model B sitting at the side of me right now waiting on a capacitor kit from ebay because yes… my PSU blew after about 10 mins of having turned it on. I’m particularly fond of this old computer because its the first machine I had as a kid when I was 7 years old and learned to program on it. Later had a Spectrum 48K and likewise am fond of that too. I have all manor of old computers sitting in my back room from many different companies even including an old mains powered calculator from 1974 fully working…. I dont currently have a beard though, but I do have a wife that rolls her eyes at me when I try to explain the love of this old tech to her.

  5. Ryan Farmer on November 15, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Its worth buying for ELITE alone

  6. Harvey Mogar on November 15, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    When a broadcasting company created a computer machine.

  7. Mark Smith on November 15, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    My highschool had these here in Australia. They got an Acorn Archimedes in my final year, although I wasn’t able to use it t because no senior computing class.
    Off to see if there are any videos for one of those.

  8. HemmxOne on November 15, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    I used to have a Mark from the U.K.

  9. Sarah Whitaker on November 15, 2019 at 6:29 pm


  10. Antony Booth on November 15, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    You can play BBC Micro games or download them at: http://bbcmicro.co.uk

  11. Paul Cutcliffe on November 15, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    “But alas, it ended up being Acorn” – that’s a bit harsh, Acorn was cool! I had an Atom! Assembler rocked! Okay, I was twelve and not clever enough for assembler, but it would have rocked if I had been clever enough! 🙄

  12. Chris Chatfield on November 15, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Expect to pay big buck$ if it still has the strip of cardboard above the function keys. 🤣 Also, if the display goes fuzzy you will need to use it with the top off and occasionally blow on the graphics chip to cool it down. But don’t lick the power supply.

  13. KangoV on November 15, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I learnt programming on the BBC Micro. Fond memories of 6502 assembler 🙂

  14. pheargoth on November 15, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I have an entire disk box of games for the beeb.
    Elite, Chuckie Egg, Mr.EE, Castle quest…to name a few.
    They all still work!

  15. The Retro Shed on November 15, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Great video! I always loved the Beeb back at school and played Elite to death on it. We’ve got 3 in the shed and they are brilliant. 🙂

  16. SmittenTheKitteninMittens on November 15, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    these have become quite expensive…even here in the un-united kingdom

  17. Peter Jennings on November 15, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    My issue 7 beeb works a treat , mated to a period microvitec cub monitor and a genuine acorn data recorder. I have repaired the psu a few times, and have had it since my child hood… I’m 44 now.

  18. VolatileTemper93 on November 15, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Necro post. But I dig you using lance Gaye’s score from forza 4. Good choice

  19. Wayne Owens on November 15, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    lol , Love going through your old videos , Just turned 40+ ,So i got a Sinclair Spectrum +2 board 3, Needs work so never soldered in my life ,ordered all the refurbishment kit so here I go

  20. Mark Ibbetson on November 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Lgr I’m another Mark from England. My Catholic school MADE us work on acorn, your approximation is superb but, I tell you a little something, in the church on Friday nights there was a ‘youth club’ music for us little kids (Billy ocean etc) so I’d sneak to the acorn and play ELITE, a really good game, prior to zx48. 😉

  21. Adam Wishneusky on November 15, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Sideways ram 😆

  22. Jonathan Silk on November 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    The beard says “yes”.

  23. Phil Kousoubris on November 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    The Beard says "Yes"

  24. wutang6020 on November 15, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Mr Do was excellent on the Beeb

  25. RR PLAN C on November 15, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    It was a decent machine in its day.

  26. SolidSonicTH on November 15, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Knockoff games in the UK were prevalent as all hell thanks to a lack of copyright transparency on that side of the pond. GuruLarry has a lot to say about that sort of thing.

  27. Anthony on November 15, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    I had a Acorn 3010 and played lemmings I loved it hahahaha

  28. Fife Bielby on November 15, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    If your beeb starts smoking, skip the nicotine patch and just cut the power

  29. Happy Guy on November 15, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Holy shit Clint you’ve changed! I was expecting current Clint not long haired younger Clint!

  30. Explode Chicken on November 15, 2019 at 6:52 pm


  31. Stephan Wijering on November 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    First machine where i saw Elite running, i was hooked

  32. Christy Shultz on November 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    So let me get this straight like many things they didn’t invent it but they like to put on airs about having the best.

  33. Lawn Mowers & Things That Make Noise on November 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Actually the Master could be specified with 1 meg of ram towards the end of its life (1992-1994) 1024k 😉

  34. H.W. Channel on November 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Hello Cliff.

  35. Cooper Tommawaski on November 15, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you for showing this one brought back memories

  36. Richard M on November 15, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Mark doesn’t happen to be Mark Haysman by any chance? Mark is good people, my next computer purchase will hopefully be one of his refurbished Model Bs.

  37. John Brooks on November 15, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Gotta love a video game that almost cusses….


  38. WarlegganFangirl1984 on November 15, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    First computer I ever used way back in the 80s…class one at primary school

  39. Andrew Barratt on November 15, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Like a lot of computers of that period, it was a developer’s machine from the ground-up. That’s why there’s so many middle-aged programmers in the UK. (such as myself)

  40. Calilasseia on November 15, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    One aspect of this machine you forgot to mention … the version of BASIC included its won built in 6502 assembler, so you could dive straight into machine language programming without having to fork out extra for an assembler … which made this machine VERY popular with certain types of programmer back in the day. 🙂

  41. fkd ova on November 15, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Where did you put the beard man? That things cool!

  42. B. Young on November 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Please bring back the beard.
    Being asian, I. am. envious.

  43. Earthworm Jim on November 15, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    I loved BBC Micro, my grandfather a pillar of the community of upright productive citizen had a darkside, he pirated everything he could, so I had unlimited games for BBC Micro. 9:50 Moment I realize my Grandfather "took" the computer from the school he was principle lol
    7:55 WTF that was what it was for? I used to switch that thing up and down on different screens to find out what it was for. WOuld never have guessed it was for that back when I was a kid.

  44. Mistery Reviewer on November 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    These came out the year I left school but my friends parents were school teachers so had one at home. The games I remember being the best were chuckie egg, Frak, Elite and Revs. Revs is really worth finding, we had rigged up a paper plate steering wheel and meccano pedals all connected up via the joystick port. It was well ahead of it’s time.

  45. MarvelDcImage on November 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    "We don’t need no education
    We don’t need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom
    Teachers leave them kids alone…" @ 02:13

  46. Pennies in a Dime Roll on November 15, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Big black cocks

  47. Tommy Charles on November 15, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    1:45 That’s how you hussle.

  48. Kraig Oliver on November 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    had this as first computers in school in ireland in 1990s (1995-6-7-8)

  49. aly nicholls on November 15, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    for those interested, almost all electron software will run on a bbc, but running bbc programs on an electron is a crap shoot, at least in my experience, peripheral compatibility is good though most stuff works great, there was a line of add ons to make compatibility better, one was a huge sidecar that turned an electron into a beeb though it was rare then so good luck finding one.

  50. Craigy B on November 15, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    BBC Microcomputer.
    Simply a classic. Not just of computing but of all technology.
    The true ancestor of ARM powered mobiles & tablets.