Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Day 29 of self-isolation - Tim Brooke-Taylor died

Tim Brooke-Taylor died. His credits include the Goodies, Isirta and Isihac, but at one point, he touched my life. Commodore decided to launch a range of computers, and TBT was in a video that came with the computer. That video told people that there was a learning program that came with the computer, to teach them Dos.

But at the last minute, there was a glitch - they couldn't use that learning program, for copyright reasons. At the time, we had a Dos-learning program, so they asked if they could use that. They offered several thousand pounds for a few thousand copies, so naturally |I said yes. But the catch was, we had to provide those thousands of copies, on floppy disk, within 24 hours. So I said, "Still yes". And another condition - they had to approve the program. "OK"

So I rushed down to their HQ, with the master copy, and showed it to them. They were doubtful about this, and wanted this change and that change, so I said "OK, but that will take a few days". They looked at each other, and decided to go with what we already had.

So I motored from there to "Diskcopy labs", run by a pal, who was expecting me, and he put all his dozens of disk copiers on the job. A couple of hours later, I had all those copies in a box, and drove back to S&S HQ, where Ladysolly had organised a disk-labelling party; every member of staff, plus wives, sisters, cousins and aunts took part in a peel-and-paste hour. So, with all the diskettes ready, we sent the cartons down to Commodore, who paid up (eventually). I also got one of their computers free. It was unimpressive.

We made one mistake. We put our phone number on the diskette. It turned out that no-one else, including Commodore, had put a phone number in the box. The video by TBT was supposed to be all you needed, plus our "Learn Dos" software. So we got all the tech support calls. For all the problems people had, not just for our software.

My favourite was a woman who called about a problem she had getting the computer to start up. So I talked her though putting the Dos disk in the drive, and plugging everything in, and getting started. She was ever so grateful. So I told her, "Really, your dealer should have showed you all this." She replied, "I am the dealer."

Tim Brooke-Taylor was one of my heroes.

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