hello mate, thanks for your input, when you say unplugging and re-plugging sorts it out, I don't get what you mean to unplug. When it first stopped working everything but the temperature gauge disappeared, pressing the end of the stalk which used to switching between the different things stopped working. I put a new battery on the car and everything stopped working.
I'm afraid I don't know what a dot matrix computer is, the car is a 1998 E 46 saloon car. As far as I remember it was a standard computer on that model, you used to press the end of the stalk to get mileage readout, temperature etc.
Thanks again Daz