03/01/84 House of Fun/Shut Up/Night Boat to Cairo/Our House + 3 (Unknown)
Nineteen Eighty-Four is upon us and Madness land in Poland. This Madness Special was originally to be filmed at a television studio in Warsaw but on arrival, the location was switched to a banquet room at the Victoria Intercontinental Hotel where they were staying. This show was being sponsored by Wrangler in erm, the true spirit of communism and took place in front of an audience of over 500 people. However as there were no suitable instruments provided for the band, only Suggs performed live. There is some doubt as to whether this was ever broadcast.
00/01/84 Our House (The Young Ones)
Back in Blighty, Madness make a second appearance on this offbeat comedy sitcom. They’re outdoors this time, playing in the middle of a street with a riot getting underway around them. By the end, Suggs, Chris and Bedders are bashing each other with their balsawood guitars and stand-in pianist Carl is grappling with someone on the ground before Lee smashes his plastic sax off the camera. This episode entitled ‘Sick’ was first broadcast on the BBC that summer and has been repeated many times since on various channels. Both Madness performances from the show also feature on official The Young Ones VHS and DVD releases.
10/02/84 Interview (ORS 84)
Suggs and Carl join Peter Powell on the Oxford Road Show in Manchester and talk about their new single ‘Michael Caine’ and Mike’s departure. Their forthcoming album and American tour get a mention too.
11/02/84 Appearance (The Saturday Show)
The video for ‘Michael Caine’ gets a play which clueless presenter, Tommy Boyd calls “a splendidly silly song and video”. But it is children’s television so rather than talking about informers in Northern Ireland, Tommy sets about reviewing the latest comics in the shops. Suggs and Carl mention that they subscribe to ‘2000 AD’ and as a surprise Brett Ewins, the artist behind Judge Dredd, pops in to answer some questions and present them both with a drawing of Dredd. Michael Caine mania is breaking out in the studio with many of the kids in the audience also wearing those black framed, Harry Palmer-style specs and when Suggs is asked for ideas to lead them in “a nutty cartoon countdown” from 10 to 1, he suggests cutting off his fingers one by one.
00/02/84 Interview (CBTV)
It’s Suggs’ turn to be grilled in the CBTV hot seat as he answers a series of questions from pupils of Weston Favell Upper School. Suggs reveals his dislike of flies and sheds some light on the making of ‘The Sun & the Rain’ and ‘Wings of a Dove’ videos before the latest video for ‘Michael Caine’ gets shown again. ‘Michael Caine’ would spell the start of a run of progressively lower UK chart positions with their next 5 singles, all of which would fail to reach the Top 10.
22/02/84 The Sun & the Rain/Keep Moving/Our House/Michael Caine (Rock Palace)
Madness cross the pond for two weeks of live shows and television appearances, brandishing a new album and single. This is their first appearance playing totally live without Mike and things do feel ‘different’. Paul Carrack (ex-Roxy Music and Squeeze) is filling Mike’s mighty boots and the line up for this performance is boosted by Dick Cuthell on cornet and three female backing vocalists. The show takes place in a darkened live concert setting and their short set opens with ‘The Sun & the Rain’ which is just about to be released in the States as a single. They’ve brought the tempo on it up a notch and they do something similar with ‘Our House’, which all works well live.
27/02/84 Keep Moving/The Sun & the Rain/Our House (Rock of the 80’s)
This show is also set up like a live concert and Madness deliver more of the same as last time out. This time the venue is the Hollywood Palace Night Club which fortunately has some better lighting in situ. Judging by Suggs’ and Carl’s suits, there must’ve been an attempt to push mandarin collars into fashion in 1984-land and Carl will be seen cropping up in that same suit on future television appearances. This programme wouldn’t be broadcast until the 24th March, the date ‘The Sun and the Rain’ would become a Top 72 smash in the Billboard Charts.
03/03/84 The Sun & the Rain/Interview/Keep Moving (New American Bandstand)
Before returning home, Madness appear for the second time on this music show with its screeching, screaming audience. It’s another chance to promote ‘The Sun and the Rain’, perhaps not the best choice of single for the American market. There’s an interview too which sees host, Dick Clark shift about the stage as Lee (he’s at it again) in a red onesie and then Suggs appear to pinch his backside. Appropriately, ‘Keep Moving’ gets performed next. This episode wasn’t broadcast until the 31st March.
16/03/84 Keep Moving/Samantha/Michael Caine/Victoria Gardens (The Tube)
It’s Madness’ first live television performance in the UK without Mike and a much anticipated one. They’re armed with new songs from ‘Keep Moving’ and some line up reinforcements too. There are added backing singers (three of them!..um, three too many), trumpet players (two of them!) and Paul Carrack on keyboards (just one of him!) but watching it that evening, it was hard not to feel that some of the magic was gone. Like the The Tube‘s stage setting and audience, this performance is all just a little bit dull. Noticeably, Carl is sharing vocals equally with Suggs this evening. We miss the last chorus and verse of ‘Victoria Gardens’ as the end credits roll out however the full version did later get shown on The Best of the Tube which used to be on Super Channel in the late ’80s.
17/03/84 Appearance (Saturday Superstore)
Carl, Lee and Bedders have a busy time of it on this Saturday morning children’s programme. Bedders gets his hand-writing read before popping up with Lee on the ‘Pop Panel’. They all then help out with competitions and answer some questions from fans over the phone. There’s a frog (a knitted one) on Lee’s jumper but also a parrot (a real one!) on his shoulder, prompting him to remark that it has become rather warm down his back. Lee is a cheeky chappy throughout and near the end, he’s the one responsible for a flying LP which thuds onto a grand piano from a balcony above. A close shave for some young audience members who have gathered there to help close out the show.
19/03/84 Appearance (The Language of Music: Reggae, Madness & the Wild Things)
Suggs and Bedders appear on this BBC schools programme which explores how emotions can be expressed through music. Along with Langer, Winstanley and strings arranger, David Bedford, they are in the studio “mixing the tracks for a new single”, ‘One Better Day’. Interestingly, this was three months before it was said to have been rush released as a single in place of ‘Victoria Gardens’. The discussion is interspersed with some black and white clips of an old ‘homeless’ man wandering around Camden Town, an effective video of sorts. This programme was shown again on BBC seven times over the next four years.
09/04/84 Victoria Gardens (Show Adjani)
As mentioned above, ‘Victoria Gardens’ was earmarked for single release until a last minute change of heart saw ‘One Better Day’ get the nod instead. But not before ‘Victoria Gardens’ was given a plug on this French television show which was dedicated to the recent hit album from actress, Isabelle Adjani. With Carl taking on lead vocals on this track, Suggs is consigned to the role of dancing sidekick. The band perform next to an indoor pool or Turkish bath and it seems inevitable that someone will end up in there. It’s odds-on Carl as he intermittently loses his shoes along the way and he duly takes the plunge at the end. Former keyboard player with The Selecter, James Mackie can be seen playing here with the band for the first time.
14/04/84 Our House/Keep Moving (Saturday Night Live)
Madness fly from Paris to New York to appear on this hugely popular comedy show at the Rockefeller Plaza. They’ve enlisted James Mackie on keyboards again as well as Dick Cuthell and three female backing singers. The band are looking extra dapper with Suggs & Carl kitted out in tailcoats and the horn section fitted out in white dinner jackets. The spark is back as both tracks are played live with Carl doubling up on lead vocals. ‘Our House’ does however sound a bit flat, as it can sometimes live. But overall it’s a good lively performance for what would turn out to be their last US TV appearance of the eighties.
30/04/84 Victoria Gardens/Keep Moving/Waltz into Mischief/One Better Day/Michael Caine/House of Fun/The Sun & the Rain (Sotto le Stelle)
Five days of filming commences in London for this Italian TV show where two teams are challenged to produce their own music videos for seven Madness songs. It sure sounds like an awful lot of work for all involved. Locations include Victoria Gardens, Chelsea Embankment, the Everyman Cinema, a nightclub, a peep show and an open top double-decker bus. It appears that the Madness tracks featured in the first six episodes of the series which wouldn’t be broadcast until later on in the summer.
08/05/84 One Better Day (Rocking Chair)
A trio of television appearances on mainland Europe begins in France where their next single, ‘One Better Day’ is introduced by the presenter as ‘Bag Lady’. It seems like something got lost in translation.
09/05/84 Michael Caine (Na Sowas)
Next stop is Germany where they perform ‘Michael Caine’, somewhat surprisingly as the single had disappeared from the charts by now. In semi-incognito mode, the band appear behind window blinds which lift just as the first chorus starts. Carl is on lead vocal duties again with Suggs this time stabbing away on the piano and hoping for the best.
12/05/84 One Better Day/Our House (Montreux Golden Rose Festival)
Madness join a galaxy of ‘stars’ for the Rose d’Or Entertainment Awards Festival in the serenity of Montreux at the foot of the Swiss alps. But it won’t remain peaceful for long as reports emerge of a hotel wrecking episode at the CBS party, involving both Madness and UB40. “Blatant hooliganism!”, claimed some CBS bigwig. The next day, Madness perform to backing tracks in front of an enthusiastic, clap along crowd with Suggs out front again and James Mackie back earning his crust on keyboards. Even Woody is suited up for the occasion although Carl loses a point for wearing what looks like a Christmas jumper. The festival was televised by Télévision Suisse Romande and networked to broadcasters all over Europe.
19/05/84 Appearance (Ear Say)
Suggs gets quizzed by Gary Crowley about Madness’ high jinx in Montreux but “it was just a party and the bloke from The Sun was having his trousers pulled off”, he explains. With their Stiff Records contract about to expire that month, he also reveals that the band were in the process of setting up their own record label and that they had already recorded a track with ex-Undertone, Feargal Sharkey for release as the label’s first single. But for now there’s a clutch of other singles for Suggs to deal with as he reviews the new releases from The Style Council, The Pretenders, Sister Sledge and Van Halen.
24/05/84 Keep Moving/One Better Day (New Brighton Rock)
Organised by Granada Television at great expense, this four day music extravaganza saw ten top pop acts of the day performing on a stage which had been erected over Europe’s largest open-air swimming pool in Wirral. Madness kicked off the final night before an audience of over 20,000 people, accompanied by smoke machines, laser displays and synchronized swimming. Suggs’ flat top is restored to its full glory and it refuses to flinch as it battles gusts of wind on what looks to be a cold summer’s night. James Mackie is there again in the background whilst Lee makes a charge down the platform out front during his ‘One Better Day’ solo, stopping short of diving into the pool. After a couple of takes with ‘One Better Day’, a crank bomb scare apparently stalled proceedings before Madness got back on stage to finish their two song strong set. A 90 minute programme featuring the two Madness tracks was broadcast on ITV on 23rd June and repeated on 27th December.
26/05/84 Keep Moving/One Better Day (Saturday Morning Picture Show)
Suggs sparkles under the studio lights in his silvery-grey suit jacket as Madness get into their stride with ‘Keep Moving’. Lee jumps from frog jumper into Carl’s mandarin collared jacket for ‘One Better Day’ but clothing revelations apart, there’s not much else to mark out this particular performance. Except that James Mackie is still on keyboards although his brief but busy stint with the band was soon coming to a end. And ‘One Better Day’ was just about to be finally released as a single.
31/05/84 One Better Day (Top of the Pops)
As Hazel Dean’s performance finishes, Carl and Chris can be spotted “searching, looking for love” next to host, Richard Skinner with Suggs and Lee lurking behind. ‘One Better Day’ is a new entry at no. 30 and this single would become the band’s least successful one to date, dipping into the shallow end of the Top 20 at no. 17 a couple of weeks later. For a track with such a strong piano-driven chorus, there is no one to be seen tinkling the ivories here. It seemed that Madness preferred to stick strictly with the band’s ‘official’ line up for their Top of the Pops appearances.
00/6/84 Appearance (Breakfast Time)
Steve Blacknell of BBC Breakfast television visits Madness at the Salmon and Compass pub in Islington for the second day of filming of their ‘One Better Day’ video. Suggs explains that it’s the first time the band have made and directed their own video whilst Lee suggests that the next video may involve a lot of custard pies.
02/06/84 Appearance (Just Amazing)
It’s a short, punchy appearance as Suggs, Carl, Lee and Chris introduce kung fu instructor, Dave Lea who breaks some bricks and beats them up. Suggs, Carl and Lee had been training under Lea at his school in Camden Town around this time.
06/06/84 One Better Day (Razzmatazz)
Chris is unwell and maybe not thinking straight as he asks Bob Kingston to fill in for him on Raz-razz-razz-razz-razza-matazz. The former Tenpole Tudor guitarist just looks out of place in his sleeveless muscle shirt, especially when positioned next to a sharp-suited Suggs. Meanwhile, Edward Scissorhands in the editing room has chopped both the second half of the first verse and the first half of the second verse out of the song, leaving the story of two tramps falling in love in a right old mess. Confusion reigns further as Bedders is to be found on keyboards and James Mackie on bass whilst Woody finds himself with a false beard.
09/06/84 One Better Day (Ear Say)
Suggs and Carl are found sitting on the job (well, on the edge of the stage) as the rest of the band play behind them. It’s a laid back performance which is intercut with some shots of ‘homeless’ people in a park and on the streets of London. This would end up being James Mackie’s final appearance with the band.
15/06/84 Profile (South of Watford)
This half hour special sees Ben Elton catching up with the Maddies at various locations in London including the Salmon and Compass pub, Camden Lock and The Dublin Castle. There’s also a clip from Liquidator Studios where Feargal Sharkey is working on ‘Can I Say I Love You’, the B-Side of his debut solo single. There’s the mandatory video clips plus interviews which touch on the band’s increasing engagement with social and political issues as well as Chris’ days of burning rubbish bins and Lee’s freight train jumping escapades. However, the highlight of the programme is probably a brooding version of ‘Time’, played by a solo Carl on his piano.
20/06/84 Interview (Razzmatazz)
Alastair Pirriein talks briefly to Suggs and Carl who are in search of a keyboard player who must be eight foot tall and green in complexion. This interview was recorded two weeks previous when they had appeared on the show to perform ‘One Better Day’.
27/07/84 Appearance (TV-AM)
Suggs, Carl and Lee join Nick Owen and Anne Diamond on the sofa for an early morning chat. They talk about ‘One Better Day’, their support for Greenpeace and their appearance at the Prince’s Trust Gala which leads to a couple of half decent Prince Charles impersonations from Suggs and Carl. The trio also partake in some light sparring with their kung fu instructor, Dave Lea, and Lee (not Lea) gets a knee to the nose. Along with his bruised
ego nose, Lee nips off before the end.
00/10/84 Madness Sitcom (Madness ‘The Pilot’)
There had been talk for some time of Madness starring in their own sitcom, along the lines of ‘The Monkees’ TV series from the sixties. A script was written by the creators of Blackadder, Ben Elton and Richard Curtis and a 12 minute pilot produced and directed by Geoff Posner who had previously worked on Not the Nine O’Clock News and The Young Ones. The plot found Maggie Thatcher exiled to Mars, elevating Madness into government with Suggs as prime minister. Some of the script and acting may not have been too convincing but parts of it did show some potential. The scene where they meet themselves as their mothers is very funny indeed…comedy silver! A second ‘episode’ was also filmed at the same time and it was hoped that a series would be commissioned by the BBC however that idea was ultimately shelved. The pilot had seemed to be a thing of myth for years but it did finally surface in 2011 on the Madness deluxe DVD boxset, Gogglebox.
00/10/84 Interview (Saturday Starship)
Carl and Bedders accompany Feargal Sharkey in the ‘spaceship’ and talk with presenter, Tommy Boyd about their new record label and collaboration with Feargal on his single, ‘Listen to your Father’.
25/10/84 Listen to Your Father (Top of the Pops)
Another one for completists, with members of Madness backing Feargal Sharkey on his debut single, ‘Listen to your Father’ which was written by Carl Smyth and released on Zarjazz Records. Here it is at no. 30 in the charts with what looks suspiciously like Suggsy behind Lee on sax!
26/12/84 Appearance (TV-AM)
Suggs and Bedders drop in to the Breakfast Television Centre in Camden Town to show their support for TV-AM‘s “Caring Christmas Campaign”. Some pictures of Suggs, Carl, Chris and Bedders visiting a hospital for sick children are shown before the boys chat with Anne Diamond and Nick Ross about the band’s involvement with the ‘Starvation’ single. They then offer up some Starvation and Madness goodies as competition prizes.