Episode CH4.3.4

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Episode CH4.3.4
Title The Max Headroom Show
US Air Date 12 Sep 1986
UK Air Date 27 Jan 1987
Length 30 minutes
Guests Tracey Ullman
Crew Talk Show Crew
Matt Frewer Max Headroom
The third episode of the second Channel Four season of the Max Headroom talk show featured singer, actress and comedienne Tracey Ullman.

The MaxRchives contain complete recordings of both the US and UK broadcasts of this episode.

Videos & Segments

  • Max appears among a blur of technical and video faults. (In the UK version, a distorted and shattered "4" logo appears; in the US version, those are replaced by the "Cinemax Presents" slide, which briefly appears upside down.)
  • Max apologizes - it's the pressure of being a star, and the guys around him are idle.
  • Max plays a concerto on a grand piano, but battles with the rest of the orchestra coming in too soon.
  • Max does a cockney huckster riff to the "ladies," throwing in one thing (a video) after another (an interview) for free, even though it's costing him.
  • Video: The Smiths, "Panic"
  • Max riffs about his early days as an actor in an old Englishman's accent.
  • Brief black and white clip of a comedian singing "Figaro."
  • And this week we're in... America! Land of delis and cowpokes!
    • Brief black and white clip of women wearing bizarre glasses, including a shot of Max in the scissor glasses from the Vidal Sassoon episode.
  • Back to America... land of bulletproof politicians and opportunistic muggers.
  • There are significant differences between the UK and US versions at this point.
    • US: Extended clip of mime Les Bubb doing... comedy dancing.
    • UK: Much shorter clip of Les Bubb.
    • UK: Max responds to the overwhelming viewer preference for commercials in the middle of the show.
    • UK: Commercial break.
      • UK: Chappel of Bond Street (musical instruments)
      • UK: Timotei hair conditioner
      • UK: National & Provincial Building Society (mortgages)
      • UK: Batchelor's Cup of Soup
      • UK: "Dishwash Electric" - generic ad for dishwashers as convenience
      • UK: Sensodyne toothpaste
  • Tracey Ullman: "Breakaway"
  • Peter Gabriel: "Sledgehammer"
  • Max and his guest Tracey Ullman talk about:
    • Not being a Cockney
    • Her daughter's name Mabel
    • How golf gets on her tits
    • Plans for her first show in America (which actually happened a year later)
    • Being married to a millionaire
    • Her music career
    • Max's coke ads in America
    • Luck

Notes & Commentary

tap, tap... Is this thing on?

Quotes & Caps

S-stay tu-tu-tuned...

(Max's speech in this season finally stops using the extreme stuttering and repetition, probably as much for technical, audience and production reasons as because it was getting tiresome. I am still trimming such repetitions to minimum indicators here in the transcriptions.)

  • Max: "Ha... I'm sorry. It's the pressure of being a star. You know how it is. Oh... you don't. But I do. From time to time I get a little bit... temperamental with the guys around me. You see, I'm the idol of millions, and, well, that's the trouble. They're idle... and I earn millions."
  • Max: "Well, where am I... (whistles first notes of 'The Star Spangled Banner') Yep, you guessed it. Give me an A for Anglo-Saxons, an M for Mexicans, E for Europeans, R for Russians, I for Italians, give me a C for Costa Ricans, an A for Africans, and what have you got... besides a lot of letters? America, America... Yes, what a mixed bag of a country this is - home of the Chevrolet, home of the home run and don't forget, home of the brave. Eh... was til they wiped 'em all out. Yes, America, where the Indians have never been forgiven for getting there first. And why? Because the Indians didn't introduce anything decent to eat, that's why! The Poles gave 'em pickled gherkins, the Italians brought over pizza, the Germans, sauerkraut... put 'em all together, and whaddya got? Jewish delicatessen. And because Americans don't have to move out of their own country to find every style of terrain, weather and loud checked trousers. Yes-s-s! And it's a troubled country, which has come through the McCarthy trial and tribulation because it ha-has its foundations firmly based on the principles of liberty, fraternity and Laurel and Hardy. Course. Course. And, of course, freedom of speech... something they should never have told Dr. Ruth Westheimer about. But-but-but let's take a good look at what has emerged from a land where having chaps on your legs was something you can talk about openly. From the land of the chuck wagon and... cowpoke. Who got his name from... poking cows. (Let's hope it was with a stick.) Well, c'mon, it's a lonely job driving cattle, right?"
  • Max: "Yes. Yes. America is a health-conscious nation too. They live in fear of contagious diseases like herpes, AIDS, being a one-car family. And it's a place where winning means success and losing means a walk-on part in Dynasty. But they don't just think about money; sometimes they think about how best to throw it away, like having a President driven around in an expensive bullet-proof limousine when he already has a perfectly good bullet-proof head. But I won't be unfair, because it's a well-known fact American politicians are the best money can buy. And, let's just take one final look at what makes America great. Well... of course it's the land of opportunity, where the streets are paved with gold... and whatever else muggers drop as they run away."
  • Max: "And, you'll remember that on the last show, we asked you to write in and tell us whether you really wanted to see commercials in the middle of the show. And your response was overwhelming! But, I'm afraid it's about the money-money-money-money... arf"
  • Max: " "
  • Max: " "
  • Max: " "
  • Max: " "
  • Max: " "