TV Cream

TV: M is for...

Max Headroom

"On dr(sluvurp)ums...on dr(sluvurp)ums...on dr(sluvurp)ums...the Pope!"JEREMY ISAACS’S favourite ever Channel 4 programme: fact! And you thought the old bugalugs didn’t have a sense of humour (well, he was responsible for THE CUT PRICE COMEDY SHOW). Original was actually REBUS – THE MAX HEADROOM STORY, set in Blade Runny futuroscape, with multiple TV channels (mostly owned by Maxwellian fat bloke) fucking up the population (especially famous “blipvert” exploding bloke scene). Ace mobile reporter (MATT FREWER) is doing an undercover nose on this stuff, gets caught, chased, dies in a bike smash, but is re-animated by the TV blokies as virtual groove-headed, shadewearing Max Headroom (after sign he saw just before the crash), who then links their TV shows in stuttery, knackered Transatlantic style. Actual titular show was proto-MTV clip-linking stuff, with much bouncy lines in background and references to 80s cultural jetsam. Arch status sealed in collaboration with The Art Of Noise.



  1. Cindylover1969

    November 4, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    The spinoff drama show was quite good, IIRC.

  2. Adz

    November 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    I have found, jaw-dropping memories of this programme introducing me to the rather rude video to Belouis Some’s ‘Imagination’ at some ridiculously early time like 3.00PM on a Saturday. T4’s awfulness couldn’t hold a candle to our Max!

  3. Great Bustard

    November 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    In his UK show he would always ask the celeb guests about golf, and sometimes swap his suit for a golf jumper.

    I also remember two videos he showed, one for Udo Lindenberg’s actually pretty funny Germans (look for it on YouTube) and another that placed the camera on the ground then rose up in a 180 degree arc over the singer, who was on a patch of industrial wasteland. I tracked down Udo, but have no idea what that other one was.

    The trouble with Max was that he was on far too late, so I was half asleep trying to concentrate on his shows which made them even more surreal, and also (not his fault) that he’s mostly remembered nowadays for getting ripped off for that infamous pirate TV stunt ages ago.

    But his cyberpunk US version was cool stuff. That was on too late as well.

  4. Long time listener, first time caller

    November 26, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Industrial wasteland and 180 degree arcing could be Cabaret Voltaire and my befuddled memory tells me the song is Paranomia.

  5. Richard Davies

    November 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I remember Newsround reporting on that pirate TV broadcast.

    It happened in the middle of a screening of Doctor Who, & was traced to someone working for a sattilite or cable company who new how to overide a normal signal.

    At the time I didn’t really know who Max Headroom was, being a bit to young to stay up to see it.

    There at least 1 clip of it on You Tube,

  6. Great Bustard

    November 26, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    @Long time listener: Just checked that out on YouTube and you’re right! At last that mystery has been cleared up, although the song was Sensoria (Paranoimia was the Art of Noise single Max recorded). Thanks for that, much appreciated.

    @Richard: I saw the clip on Newsround as well (minus spanking, probably) and wasn’t sure if it was funny or scary. Maybe both. Max was a great character who most people at the time thought suffered from overexposure (he even did Coke ads, not in the UK, though, I don’t think). Burned out really fast, but made a lot of people laugh.

    He did a Christmas single too, how about hearing that this year instead of endless Mariah, Pogues and Wham, radio and TV stations? Or will Max have to comandeer the airwaves in a pirate broadcast once again?

  7. Richard Davies

    November 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    In Back To The Future II there were Max Headroom style charactures of Michael Jackson, Ronald Reagan & Ayatolla Kumeni at the Cafe 80s.

  8. Joanne Gray

    February 19, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Bobby Davro did a halfway decent impression of him in the early 90s.

  9. David Smith

    February 19, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    I think he also did ads for Radio Rentals…

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