"When we suggested a computer instead of a human being as a TV presenter, Channel 4 were DELIGHTED. A computer! No hangovers, no union disputes, no gossip column stories... and NO SALARY! It seemed so perfect. Nobody could have foreseen the trouble we'd have with him..."
Peter Wagg is the producer of the "Max Headroom Show" (Saturdays, 6.00pm) - Channel 4's newest pop video programme, a collection of 'the best of the new and the old' videos, linked by a bizarre stuttering character who's apparently part machine, part human being. Is he really a computer copy of a human brain? Is he a man with make-up? Is he just a puppet tarted up with a bit of computer graphics?
"Max is all those things," says Peter Wagg darkly, "and more..."
In fact his creators refuse to divulge how he works. "A trade secret," they say. "He's a series of techniques joined together."
They claim instead that Max was first created from the brain of super-sleuth journalist Eddison Carter and rescued from the corrupt Network 23. He was simply glad to be alive and of some small use to his rescuers. But Max has taken to media stardom like a duck to water, and Peter Wagg is afraid that it has turned his head...
"He really is very difficult. All we want him to do is be jolly on the telly and introduce the videos. But he's rather political and keeps getting digs in that aren't in the script. And he's so VAIN."
But intial reaction to the "Max Headroom Show" has proved too favourable for his creators to pull the plug on him now and, if Max gets his way, his show will soon be shown all over the world.
"It's world domination or nothing now," says Peter Wagg, sadly. "I'm afraid we've created a monster."
PERSONAL FILE ON MAX HEADROOM
Name: Maximum Headroom 2.3m
Born: In Finchley, North London.
What would you do if you weren't a TV presenter? Kill myself.
First record ever bought: "Digital Watch Tunes Volume 2", by Bronco
Are you going out with anyone? Come come now. We hardly know each other! Just get on and do the interview. 'They' want me to say that I'm happily married and in love with my wife. Hah!
Have you ever had a supernatural experience? I ate a Big Mac once without taking it out of the box...
Best thing about being a celebrity: Being invited on the "Terry Wogan Show".
Worst thing about being a celebrity: Meeting Terry Wogan.
What's in your pockets? My pockets? No they're definitely not 'in'.