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It may be twenty years old but the 'umble Sinclair Spectrum is still capable of making the odd glittering mainstream TV appearance now and again.

Viewers of 'Britain's Worst Home' on Channel Five at 8pm on Sunday 28 November 2004 were treated to a few fleeting seconds of two dusty rubber keyed 48k machines, which belonged to one of the show's contestants, Julian Hales from Sheffield.

In the show, design duo Julian Ryan and Colin McAllister joined forces with Quentin Willson, of Top Gear fame, to assess four houseowners who have been nominated as having Britain's worst home.

They were given four days training before being unleashed on a series of style challenges to see which, if any, has developed a more refined taste.

The aforementioned Julian - a bachelor who has been unemployed for 10 years - was nominated by his sister due to the sheer volume of computer junk, cardboard boxes and plastic models clogging up his two-bedroom house. There was so much junk in his bedroom you could hardly even see where his bed was, let alone find the floor.

As the camera flicked around his, ahem, delightful abode, retro computing fans were treated to quick glimpse of a pair of 48ks piled on top of each other, along with a teetering stack of CD-Rom drives and dozens of tangled up computer mice slung over a bookshelf or some similar piece of furniture.

In the program Julian's sister challenged him about whether he actually needed all the computer junk and boxes he was hoarding in his house. His response was that, well, if he threw something away he might need it after all, so why take the chance? The Lair is sure there are people reading this who have muttered something similar to their partners at some point in their lives!

At the end of the show Julian landed a £500 voucher for having made the best progress in terms of developing an eye for tasteful home design. Mind you, he was competing against a crazy collector of Royal Family memorabilia, a horror fanatic and a woman obsessed ghastly kitsch.

Julian certainly wasn't shy about letting people know about his five minutes of fame either. In the days before his appearance on the Channel Five airtime filler, he posted a plethora of plugs to slightly newsgroups like rec.pets.herp, uk.people.consumers.ebay and rec.models.scale.

In one message, he mused, seemingly with tongue firmly in cheek: "Not sure what bits are going to be used, i spoke to the director last week and he said he had trouble fitting everything in i did as i was the star of the show as i was so funny and he said there should be a dvd of extras."

From reading other postings to the Computer Hardware Forum, it seems one of Julian's grubby rubbed keyed 48k Spectrums also appeared in trailers for 'Britain's Worst Home', leading one contributor to retort: "Well, you tell those [presenters] that if they recommend you chuck out your Sinclair Spectrum, there'll be war."

* Click here to buy your very own stash of assorted Sinclair Spectrum junk to clog up your home!

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