Max Headroom screams 1980s louder than a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," but the BBC is bringing him back. The intervening years have not been kind to him, to say the least. Max Headroom was originally born as a video-jockey on the BBC's Channel 4, and starting this Saturday he'll be seen there again, warning viewers about the channel's upcoming change from analog to digital. If you're familiar with the character, then that picture above might haunt your dreams tonight. But Max's checkered past goes way beyond BBC talking head. Once upon a time in the U.S., he was a TV star.
Here's the whole trivagasmic Max Headroom backstory.
- Max is a CGI character who lives in a sort of virtual reality universe. He communicates with our world via the television, and is portayed by character actor Matt Frewer.
- Max first appeared in 1985 as a host for a music video show, called The Max Talking Headroom Show.
- The video show was such a hit that a background TV movie was made to give Max an origin. It was called Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into The Future, and featured Max's human counterpart Edison Carter as a roving reporter trying to expose the fact that Network 23's new "blipverts" (subliminal ads) were killing people. The Network tries to digitally copy Carter's mind in order to put a CGI puppet version of him on TV, but the digital copy rebels and becomes Max Headroom.
- The movie was made into a television series in the U.S. in 1987, although it was canceled after only 14 episodes. Like the movie, it featured a very dystopic view of the world. Admittedly, it was pretty awesome, and extremely cyberpunk.
- Max was so popular that Coca-Cola hired him to be their new spokesperson, and pitched the soda in a slew of television commercials throughout the 80s. Check one out below
- After appearing in the Art of Noise song and ensuing video for "Paranoimia," he faded into obscurity. Until now.