Series to trace rise of Madness from Camden Town to household names  

Before We Was We will explore the ska music pioneers' beginnings before going on to a four-decade career and scoring 10 top 10 albums and 15 top 10 singles
Series to trace rise of Madness from Camden Town to household names  

Before We Was We: Madness by Madness, a three-part documentary which will tell the story of how the band Madness became a household name. Picture: Before We Was Ltd/PA Wire

A three-part documentary will tell the story of how the band Madness became a household name.

Based on the biography of the same title, Before We Was We will explore the ska music pioneers' beginnings in the Camden Town scene of the late 70s, using original footage and interviews with band members.

Across a four-decade career, the group, led by frontman Graham "Suggs" McPherson, has scored 10 top 10 albums, 15 top 10 singles and won a series of awards including an Ivor Novello.

The documentary will air across three 60-minute episodes and offer insight into the band's "inevitable rise to the top of the charts, pop fame and fortune against the backdrop of the ska, punk and new wave revolution".

I got thrown out of the band at the start, because I just thought it was a laugh

Reflecting on his career, Suggs, 60, said: "I don't remember ever thinking about whether it was going to last. You see this polished Madness that's been going for years and people would think, 'Course you knew'. But I didn't have a clue. I wasn't taking it the slightest bit serious.

"That's why I got thrown out of the band at the start, because I just thought it was a laugh and just something to do - hanging out with pretty cool geezers. The idea that I was ever going to make a career out of it was totally beyond my comprehension."

Madness last year unveiled a stone in their honour on the recently established Music Walk Of Fame in Camden Town.

The group were presented with the honour by Dizzee Rascal in front of cheering fans and friends including David Rodigan and the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust.

The docuseries is AMC UK's second original production after its 2019 documentary An Accidental Studio which charted the creation of former Beatle George Harrison's influential film studio HandMade Films.

Before We Was We: Madness By Madness will air on AMC via BT TV on May 1 at 9pm.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more