Max Headroom (1985)

UK, 4 April
57m
Technicolor, 4:3
mono, English

A British science fiction television film directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel. It introduced , a supposedly computer generated character (actually actor Matt Frewer in prosthetics and heavily treated video) who would subsequently appear as a “VJ” (video jockey) in The Max Headroom Show (1985-1987) and as a talk show host in The Max Talking Headroom Show (1987). A short-lived American series based on this pilot film later appeared in 1987.

Plot Summary

“Twenty minutes into ”, television ratings are the new gods and the massive television corporations will stop at nothing to win and retain viewers. Ace Channel 24 reporter Edison Carter uncovers a project by his own network to introduce “blipverts”, massively compressed adverts that can cause some particularly lazy viewers to explode. While trying to escape with evidence of the project, Carter is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. He recovers, but finds that while he was unconscious, Channel 24's youthful computer nerd genius Bryce Lynch has hacked his memories and created a computer-generated alter ego, the wise cracking, stuttering Max Headroom, who sends ratings through the roof. Can Carter persuade Max to help him expose the blipvert project before anyone else is killed?

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Rocky Morton, Annabel Jankel
© 1985 Chrysalis Visual Programming Ltd.
Produced by Chrysalis for Channel 4
Executive Producer: Terry Ellis
Produced by: Peter Wagg
Line Producer: Chris Griffin
Production Manager: Redmond Morris
Production Coordinator: Clare St. John
Screenplay by: Steve Roberts
From an Original Idea by: George Stone, Rocky Morton, Annabel Jankel
Max Dialogue: Paul Owen & David Hansen
Script Consultant: Colin Wilson
First Assistant Director: Chris Rose
Second Assistant Director: John Dodds
Third Assistant Director: Terry Bamber
Continuity: Francine Brown
Director of Photography: Phil Meheux
Camera Operator: Trevor Brooker
Video Cameraman: Richard Taylor
Clapper Loader: Ralph Ramsden
Focus Puller: Peter Turner
Gaffer: Terry Potter
Camera Grip: Harry Eckford
Stills Photographer: Brian Cooke
Video Playback Supervisor: Mike Pia
Film Editor: Michael Bradsell
First Assistant Editor: Andrew Parker
VT Playback Editor: Andrew Gillman
Colour by: Technicolor
Music by: Midge Ure and Chris Cross
Music Engineer: Rik Walton
Sound Mixer: Ken Weston
Boom Operator: Steve O'Brien
Sound Maintenance: Don Brown
Dubbing Mixer: Richard King
Dubbing Editor: Howard Lanning
Assistant Dubbing Editor: Paul Conway
Wardrobe Mistress: Marina Drecker
Wardrobe Assistant: Raymond Harris
Make-up: Sandra Shepherd
Hairdresser: Ross Carver
Assistant Hairdresser: Leon Hamme
Special Make-up: Coast to Coast
Special Effects: Ian Scoones
Electronic Effects: Richard Monkhouse
Graphics: Rod Lord, Computer Effects, Peter Tupy
Titles by: National Screen
Production Designer: Maurice Cain
Art Director: Alan Williams
Set Dresser: Val Wolstenholm
Production Buyer: Brian Read
Prop Master: John Mills
Construction Manager: Charles Simmons
Production Accountant: Linda Gregory
Researcher: Nicholas Hicks-Beach
Production Runner: Gerry Kennedy
Filmed on location and at Lee International Film Studios, Wembley, Middlesex
With thanks to Andy Park and George Stone
Casting: The Hubbard Company

Cast
Matt Frewer (Edison Carter/Max Headroom)
Nickolas Grace (Grossman)
Hilary Tindall (Dominique)
Morgan Shepherd (Blank Reg)
Amanda Pays (Theora Jones)
Paul Spurrier (Bryce Lynch)
Hilton McRae (Breughel)
George Rossi (Mahler)
Roger Sloman (Murray)
Anthony Dutton (Gorrister)
Constantine Gregory (Ben Cheviot)
Lloyd Maguire (Edwards)
Elizabeth Richardson (Ms Formby)
Gary Hope (Ashwell)
Joane Hall (bodybank receptionist)
Howard Samuels (ENG reporter)
Roger Tebb (helipad reporter)
Val McLane (eyewitness)
Michael Cule (exploding man)

Alternative Titles

The Rebus Tapes – working title
Max Headroom – The Movie
Max Headroom: The Original Story

See also
The Max Headroom Show (1985-1987)
The Max Talking Headroom Show (1987)
Max Headroom (1987-1988)

Press

Broadcast 5 April 1985 p.28
It [looks] rather splendid though, and you could see how the directors' past lives in advertising had helped – lots of fast, moody images and jazzy electronic bites. It did spark off a few ideas. Matt Frewer and Amanda Pays make a handsome couple who could do rather well in a full series – from an illustrated review (Off air: Max impact on our Auntie) by Patrick Stoddart

References

Periodicals

  • AIP & Co no.61 (December 1984) p.23
  • Broadcast 5 April 1985 p.28 – illustrated review (Off air: Max impact on our Auntie by Patrick Stoddart)
  • City Limits no.182 (29 March 1985) p.18 – review
  • The Listener vol.113 no.2902 (28 March 1985) p.34
  • Screen International no.473 (24 November 1984) p.18 – credits
  • Starburst vol.7 no.10 (June 1985) p.19 – illustrated credits, review (by Richard Ashford)
  • Starburst vol.7 no.11 (July 1985) pp.23-27 – illustrated interview with Annabel Jankel (Talking head by Richard Ashford and Cefn Ridout)
  • Television Weekly no.99 (14 December 1984) p.19 – note
  • Time Out no.763 (4 April 1985) pp.10-11

Books

  • Complete Directory to Science Fiction and Horror Television Series, The p.476 – credits, review
  • Encyclopedia of TV Science Fiction, The (3rd edition) pp.260-261 – credits, review