Investigative journalist Edison Carter, trying to uncover the truth of whether or not nearly-subliminal “blipverts” are causing television-addicted viewers to spontaneously combust, discovers that the trail of evidence leads to his own employer: television mega-corporation Network 23. Edison’s producers and backup team support his investigation, but Network 23 boss Ned Grossman all but orders a hit on his own newsman. Suffering a severe head injury, Edison is left to the care of amoral boy genius Bryce, who scans Edison’s brain and uses the resulting fragmented data to create a computerized avatar of Edison, Max Headroom, hoping to discover through Max exactly how much Edison knew about the effects of blipverts. But if Network 23 was worried about Edison’s headstrong independent streak, Max’s unhinged personality and ability to hack their systems from the inside – as well is a tenacious stubborn streak inherited from Edison – may spell an even bigger threat, especially once Max teams up with a pirate broadcaster known as Blank Reg.
screenplay by Steve Roberts
from an original idea by George Stone, Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel
directed by Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel
music by Midge Ure & Chris Cross
Cast: Matt Frewer (Edison Carter / Max Headroom), Nickolas Grace (Grossman), Hilary Tindall (Dominique), William Morgan Sheppard (Blank Reg), Amanda Pays (Theora Jones), Paul Spurrier (Bryce Lynch), Hilton McRae (Breugal), George Rossi (Mahler), Roger Sloman (Murray), Anthony Dutton (Gorrister), Constantine Gregory (Ben Cheviot), Lloyd McGuire (Edwards), Elizabeth Richardson (Ms. Formby), Gary Hope (Ashwell), Joane Hall (Body Bank Receptionist), Howard Samuels (ENG Reporter), Roger Tebb (Helipad Reporter), Val McLane (Eyewitness), Michael Cule (Exploding Man)
Notes: This one-off movie was virtually remade – right down to using the UK-shot miniature landscapes of the Network 23 tower and its surrounding cityscape – as the first episode of the American-made Max Headroom series, which ran from 1986 to 1987. Changes were very minimal: Grossman became Grossberg, and Amanda Pays and W. Morgan Sheppard joined Matt Frewer in the American show’s cast. Recast and rewritten for American audiences, Bryce became less of the stereotypical “pimply faced youth” character, and more of a sympathetic ally to Max/Edison, whereas in this movie, he’s very much the prototypical unhygienic computer nerd who operates out of a cluttered computer room. W. Morgan Sheppard (1932-2019) is credited here as “Morgan Shepherd”.
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