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 TV Character Bios

CARTER,  Edison
(Max Headroom)
c/o Network 23
"twenty minutes in the future"

Edison is an award-winning investigative reporter for the futuristic Network 23 (Ident No. 74928VDG6629). He is blond, blue-eyed, single and completely devoted to his work. When Edison began to investigate the strange spontaneous combustion of TV viewers, his assignment was quickly terminated.

Matt Frewer and Amanda Pays as Edison Carter and Theora Jones - Photo courtesy of the Max Headroom TV Series
Edison Carter and Theora Jones

Apparently, the executives at his network had devised a commercial called a "Blipvert," (a thirty second commercial compressed into three seconds) designed to keep people from switching channels and avoiding a sponsor's ads.

Unbeknownst to the public, the Blipverts had one serious side effect. It caused the bodies of inactive viewers such as the pensioned, the sick and the unemployed to "explode."

Caring more for the money made from their Blipverts than the danger it posed to their viewers, the president of Network 23, Mr. Grosberg decided to keep them on the air, even if it meant silencing their star reporter, Edison Carter, who had penetrated the research and development laboratory on the Network's 13th Floor and learned the secrets of Blipverts.

Escaping the security guards sent after him, Edison hopped aboard a motorcycle and sped through the subterranean parking lot only to be abruptly stopped by the extended arm of a garage exit ramp which rose from the floor.

Edison's unconscious body was held captive while the amoral Mr. Grosberg decided what to do with him. Bryce Lynch, Network 23's 16-year-old computer genius and inventor of Blipverts suggested that they read his mind to find out just how much Edison Carter knew about Blipverts.

As Lynch explained, "I can do a memory dump of his synaptic circuits. The brain is only a binary computer, a series of on/off switches, that's the basis of my computer generated people program. I can record Edison Carter's memory into the computer and then regenerate him on screen. Then we can ask his computer regenerated figure what he knows, before he wakes up."

The result was a computer generated head (the computer could only hold enough memory buffer for the upper half coordinates of his body), that began to take on a life of its own, learning from minute to minute, thus becoming Max Headroom, the first ever computer generated person.


Computer-generated being Max Headroom

"Ah, love...the walks over soft grass, the smiles over candlelight, the fights over just about everything else."

""Have you any idea how successful censorship is on TV? Don't know the answer? Hmm. Successful. Isn't it?"

"Of all the computers in all the systems in all the world,
I had to walk into yours."

Max: What are you la-la-laughing about? Bryce just tried to kiss me...kiss me!
Edison: Well, you are irresistible.


Max took his name from the last thing Edison Carter saw while sailing through the air at the site of the crash – the words "Max Headroom 2.3 m" (the clearance height on the black & yellow striped parking lot barrier arm).

When Max Headroom overheard that Mr. Grosberg was going to erase a part of his memory (the incriminating Blipvert part) he escaped into the network's electronics system. Edison Carter's body was found (still alive) at a local body bank and revived. With the help of Max Headroom and Edison's beautiful control room assistant, Theora Jones, Carter overthrew the tyrannical Mr. Grosberg.

Now, a living part of Network 23 computer system, Max Headroom, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed cybernetic doppelganger of Edison Carter, popped in and out of regularly scheduled programs with such irreverent questions as "How can you tell when our network president is lying?...His lips move."

Meanwhile, armed with a shoulder-mounted Mini-cam, Edison and Theora Jones continued to expose corruption and crime (like citizens being sold for parts to black-market "body banks"). Carter and Theora reported to Ben Cheviot, the head of Channel 23 and Murray the news room director.

Helping Edison in his fight for justice were Blank Reg and his partner Dominique, who ran BigTime Television, an under-funded underground TV channel that competed with more powerful and well-funded Channel 23.

And, of course, the computer-generated sputtering speech style of Max Headroom continued to make unscheduled sarcastic remarks about his human creators and their strange consumer driven society where ratings were everything and where TV screens were everywhere and it was illegal to turn them off.


Max Headroom on the Cover of Newsweek Magazine April 20, 1987TRIVIA NOTE: The Max Headroom computer character was created by English whiz, producer Peter Wagg. Max Headroom originally appeared in 1985 as a video promotional figure for an English record company. He later crossed the ocean to America to conduct Rock music interviews on the CINEMAX cable channel, and later became commercial spokes-head for a series of highly successful Coca-Cola TV spots. Actor Matt Frewer actually was the star behind the series. His computer likeness was nothing more than a filmed series of his speaking head wearing angular latex makeup that were later translated into a fast-paced, sputtering animated format. The series was based on a British screenplay by Steve Roberts.


MAX HEADROOM/ABC/1987-88

Matt Frewer as Edison Carter / Max Headroom
Amanda Pays as Theora Jones
George Coe as Ben Cheviot
Chris Young as Bryce Lynch
Jeffrey Tambor as Murray
William Morgan Sheppard as Blank Reg
Concetta Tomei as Dominique
Hank Garrett as Ashwell
Lee Wilkof as Edwards
Sharon Barr as Lauren
Virginia Kiser as Ms. Formby

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