They call themselves the 'cyber-sportsmen' - the young men at the cutting edge of a vibrant, new social scene driven by the £2 billion a year games industry.

In the first of two programmes, Kate Russell investigates the emergence of a pursuit that began in the nation's darkened bedrooms and is now being played out in exhibition centres, attracting several thousand players for a weekend of gaming.

Kate meets the man behind Dignitas - a multinational team of 88 players - who is attempting to turn young gamers into professional players on full-time salaries, and to establish his organisation as Britain's premier e-sports team.

At the vanguard is David Treacy, known as Zaccubus in the gaming world, who has battled dyslexia and sought social acceptance through computer games.

Kate speaks to him and his family about their concerns over his obsession.

With society often frowning on the activities of these players, what are their chances of becoming the role models of a new tech-savvy generation? And what intrinsic value can be put on a pursuit that entails hours spent in front of a computer screen every day?

Producer: Paul Peachey

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

Kate Russell meets the computer gamers turning their bedroom hobby into a career.


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Kate Russell investigates the burgeoning competitive computer games circuit.

She delves into the lives of the people who make money and travel the world playing video games and learns of the sacrifices that elite performers have to make to be the best in Britain.

Concerns have been raised over the fitness of these players, with some studies linking the sedentary lifestyles of the younger generation with a rise of diabetes and obesity.

However, the gamers claim that the speed, reactions and dexterity of the best players mean they should be labelled as sportsmen.

Dr Dominic Micklewright, a sceptic from the department of biological sciences at Essex University, puts some of the UK's top players through a battery of physical and psychological tests to investigate this theory.

Do they have the reactions of fighter pilots as they claim?

While the computer games industry is now part of mainstream life in Britain, with the launch of a new game taking more than a Hollywood movie, the competitive side of the industry remains of niche interest.

Kate goes behind the scenes at major tournaments to try to find out if the young players are the best ambassadors for an industry that already struggles with image problems.

Producer: Paul Peachey

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

Kate Russell investigates the lives of professional computer games players.