INVERCLYDE is set for a nostalgic TV treat when a major BBC documentary on the history and the people of IBM Greenock airs next week.

The programme — Silicon Glen: From Ships to Microchips — charts the 60-plus year journey of the tech giant's presence at Spango Valley and highlights the indelible mark it made on our district.

The Telegraph has been given a sneak preview of the full, thoughtfully-crafted film and it is undoubtedly something that will fill viewers with joy and tinge them with some sadness at the eventual demise of the 'Clydebuilt' computer era.

But the overriding sense which flows from every aspect of the hour-long production is one of pride.

Without giving away any so-called spoilers about what's in store, the programme intertwines old newsreel footage — complete with American voiceovers referring to the town as 'Grenock' — with excellent interviews of former 'IBMers'.

A fair few little-known facts about the plant, and stories of its resourceful workforce in driving the Greenock operation forward to pioneering levels of innovation, all combine to produce something that will live long in the memory — just like IBM itself.

Perhaps those three initial letters should stand for some of Inverclyde's Beautiful Memories in this instance.

To many former employees they stood for 'I've Been Moved' because the company encouraged its workers to train and go for jobs in any department they aspired to within the overall organisation.

One contributor to the programme, a former shipyard worker, puts it succinctly: "We were turned from hammer and chisel engineers into digital engineers."

Another interviewee, the journalist Alf Young, said: "They embraced the fact that the workforce was important and to be valued."

The IBM Greenock plant — which at its peak employed 5,500 people — was borne out of a meeting in 1950 between the town's then-MP and a trusted friend of US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Thomas J. Watson, the founder of International Business Machines, came to the Spango Valley site where he would build his dream and declared: "This is the valley of opportunity — here we will stay."

Watson checked in to the Tontine Hotel and met with our Member of Parliament, Hector McNeil — who also happened to be the Secretary of State for Scotland — and the rest, as they say, is history.

Back in 1950, MP Mr McNeil invited IBM's Watson and his son Arthur to a meeting in the House of Commons and told them: "I have something for you in Scotland."

Within five minutes arrangements had been made for the two to visit the site and they were sold on Spango Valley, going on to help transform it into the 'Valley of Achievement'.

Although Watson snr was in his 80th year and unable to cross the Atlantic for the opening ceremony on August 30, 1954, he sent a message to his workforce, telling them: "We are particularly pleased that this new plant has been located here in beautiful Spango Valley, which offers excellent facilities for the export of our products.

"Mrs Watson joins me in extending our warmest regards and kindest wishes to every member of the IBM family in the United Kingdom, our good neighbours whose friendship we deeply appreciate."

Production company TVI Vision, the team behind acclaimed BBC documentaries 'The Singer Story: Made In Clydebank' and 'The Town That Thread Built [about J & P Coats in Paisley], have produced Silicon Glen: From Ships to Microchips.

The programme tells how Greenock played an integral role in IBM's Project System 360 computer — a $5 billion research project second only to the development of the atomic bomb.

At their height IBM 360 machines could cost up to $1 million each — and the documentary showcases a very interesting story about what has become of one of the Greenock-built ones.

It also tells the story of how Greenock rose to the forefront of the development of the IBM PC, the world's first home computer, and led the way in the hi-tech industrial revolution.

* The programme will be screened on Tuesday at 8pm on BBC One Scotland.