Sunday, 4 November 2012

Mad Max

"When we suggested a computer instead of a human being as a TV presenter, Channel 4 were DELIGHTED. A computer! No hangovers, no union disputes, no gossip column stories... and NO SALARY! It seemed so perfect. Nobody could have foreseen the trouble we'd have with him..."

The way my mind works, #674 in a series...

Just because Thombeau over at The Redundant Variety Hour mentioned a certain cult TV hero (in a conversation about VHS copies of Debbie Reynolds' workout video, of all things), all those happy memories of mid-80s "yoof TV" came flooding back - Network 7, Gilbert the snotting Alien on Get Fresh, Metal Mickey, the list goes on...

The most enduring of them all was Max Headroom, whose show - a creation for Channel 4, when it was still good - mixed sardonic quips, sci-fi nonsense and cultural babble with glossy pop videos (most of which the eponymous host hated as I recall), and made its stuttering not-quite-computer-generated host a star.

When his fame became so huge that Mr Headroom (aka Canadian Matt Frewer) was invited onto chat shows and landed lucrative advertising contracts, so a new satirical science fiction television series was created around him, which although entirely British-made was a hit in America. I never saw this bit of Mr Headroom's career; I'm not even sure if it was shown here.

This new Max Headroom series ran for only two seasons, but his character refused to die. Indeed he was revived only recently by Channel 4 as part of its series of promotional ads for the recent switch-over of terrestrial TV to digital-only. And his collaboration with another "80s cult" The Art of Noise is eternal...

More 80s nostalgia. Sigh.


  1. I quite fancied Max Headroom - the guy that he was modelled on was quite attractive and it's always safe to have crushes on animated TV characters

    1. Virtual sex? The safest of all. Jx


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