25/01/86 Interview (The Wide Awake Club)
It’s early on Saturday morning as Suggs and Carl answer the flestions on the flags from man-child, Timmy Mallet. The first
question flestion asks Suggs to name his favourite Madness video and he lazily opts for ‘The Sweetest Girl’ which had just been shown. Otherwise we get to see Carl imitating a chicken and hear that his first girlfriend was a boy called Fred.
25/01/86 Appearance (Saturday Live)
Having been overlooked for the lead role in Absolute Beginners, budding actor Suggs tries his hand as a pizza delivery man in a comedy sketch with Fry & Laurie and ends up in bed with Amanda Dickinson. This was filmed the previous day.
28/01/86 Yesterdays Men/Madness/Interview (Red Wedge – Days Like These)
A stripped down Madness join the Red Wedge tour in support of the Labour Party at the Leicester De Montfort Hall but not before Chris has finally made that trek to the barbers. Ron the drum machine is replacing Woody and Seamus Beaghen is in on accordion which makes for interesting solos on the two Madness tracks. Ex- Special Lynval Golding, a wailing ex-Bodysnatcher Rhoda Dakar and others join in for ‘Madness’ as part of the all star finale which also includes the songs ‘Many Rivers to Cross’, ‘Don’t Look any Further’ and ‘Move on Up’. In between tunes, there are also some comments from Suggs, Cathal and Bedders. Extracts from the tour are later featured on both The Tube and 11th Hour/ Cabaret Style television programmes.
00/02/86 Interview (Pop Shots)
Cathal is still wearing his Red Wedge t-shirt under his shirt and jacket as he joins Suggs to review recent single releases on TV-AM’s music magazine programme. UB40’s ‘Don’t Break My Heart’ deservedly gets the thumbs up.
01/02/86 The Sweetest Girl/I’ll Compete (No. 73)
Ron is gone but Seamus is retained and he’s even been given some support with Terry Disley brought along on piano. Afrodiziak have also been added to the line up for this live performance down in the basement of this mock-up family home. Cathal ‘plays’ sax with Lee on ‘The Sweetest Girl’ but is back on vocals in time for ‘I’ll Compete’ which closes out the programme. It’s always great to see Madness on tv although it was hard not to feel that a dollap of weariness was beginning to set in for some of these appearances.
05/02/86 House of Fun/Interview/Burning the Boats/Uncle Sam/Madness (Scene: A Roadies Tale)
The Scene schools’ television series catches the Mad Not Mad tour as it pulls into the Leicester De Montfort Hall on 4th November, 1985. This very interesting 25 minute behind-the-scenes look at life on the road includes footage from the band’s soundcheck and from the concert itself later that evening. This programme was repeated on 28th March and again on 14th October.
13/02/86 Appearance (Good Morning Britain)
Suggs and Cathal discuss drug use in the music world with a naive Anne Diamond on TV-AM, probably on the back of the release of the “Burning the Boats” video cassette.
13/02/86 Appearance (Sky Trax)
Suggs partakes in “The Great Video Race” and searches for a Simply Red video reel in the studio storeroom, with Chris not-so-anxiously looking on. An out of puff Suggs just makes it back to base with six seconds to spare and our reward is that the video can get shown. After all that excitement there’s little time for presenter, Gary Davies to ask many questions but Suggs does reveal that tracks have been written for a new album…which sadly will never materialise.
15/02/86 Appearance (Saturday Superstore)
The band are back on familiar turf with their third appearance on the show in two years and as is routine, they answer some questions from children in the studio audience. This time, we discover that Chris’ favourite crisps are cheeseburger flavour and that Lee has a collection of rubber ducks. Bedders and Woody join the Pop Panel before Suggs and Carl (nee Cathal etc.) take questions over the phone and offer records, hats and what looks like Woody’s naval uniform from the ‘Uncle Sam’ video, as competition prizes.
20/02/86 Appearance (Breakfast Time)
Suggs and “Carl Smide” arrive late at 7.15am for a morning on the BBC Breakfast studio sofa . Carl soon gets very irked with Tory Employment Minister, Lord Young and brings him to task on his attitude towards the unemployed. The duo later talk with Selina Scott about their new single, forthcoming Australian tour, Carl’s love of rugby crowds and Suggs’ rugby playing days.
24/02/86 Appearance (Splash)
Suggs, Carl and Chris visit the offices of sci-fi comic, 2000 AD although a comeback for The Fink Brothers is not on the cards. Link to follow…
01/03/86 I’ll Compete/The Sweetest Girl/Rock n’ Roll Medley (Saturday Live)
There’s an elephant in the room, a giant inflatable one! And another in ‘The Sweetest Girl’; a poor choice for a single. It’s the hip and happening new alternative comedy show on TV and another chance for Madness to promote ‘The Sweetest Girl’ but nothing was going to help push this one into the Top 30. The show may have been transmitted live but Madness are using backing tracks here, topped with some live keyboards and live vocals from Suggs and Afrodiziak. Lee also has an undercover stand-in who is out of screenshot most of the time…I think it’s session musician, Gary Barnacle. It all rounds off in party style with Madness performing a medley of ‘See You Later, Alligator’/’Let’s Have a Party’/’Roll over Beethoven’ with presenters, Hale & Pace helping out on vocals.
07/03/86 Appearance (Good Morning Britain)
Suggs, it seems, may have appeared on TV-AM’s morning programme again…to help stimulate some sales for ‘The Sweetest Girl’ perhaps.
04/04/86 Interview (Rox-Box)
The Mad Not Mad tour resumes with a concert in Leuven and Belgian television captures the band on the bus, at a soundcheck and what looks like somewhere backstage where each member is given 30 seconds to comment on topics such as touring and television before being challenged to make some facial expressions to certain words randomly thrown at them. It’s a change from the usual run of the mill interview and I have to presume that the 11 minute feature that we see here is largely unedited footage. Particularly interestingly for this site is also a rehearsal clip from some mysterious TV show which may be (although I don’t think so) the next one on our list.
00/04/86 Unknown (Mon Zenith à Moi)
Another appearance on French TV but I’ve no more details on this at the moment, I’m afraid.
06/04/86 My Girl/House of Fun/Uncle Sam (Best of du Printemps de Bourges)
Three tracks from the band’s set at Paris de Bourges get selected for broadcast as part of the festival’s highlights programme on French TV.
00/04/86 Interview (Unknown)
Madness forge on to Australia for 4 weeks and Suggs, Carl & Chris do a short interview in the sunny outdoors, inspiring Suggs to do a dance of sorts in his shorts.
26/04/86 Interview (Sounds)
It must be sunny even in studios in Australia as Suggs and Carl are still in their sunglasses when being interviewed by Donnie Sutherland, prior to their gig that evening in Shellharbour. They discuss Zarjazz, some videos and ‘The Sweetest Girl’ single, the video of which gets shown. Donnie also mentions that he’ll be interviewing Feargal Sharkey via satellite from Los Angeles after the show so the shady twosome hang around, don some wigs and give the former Undertone a surprise. This would be broadcast the following week.
04/05/86 Sketch/The Sweetest Girl (Countdown)
Lee and Chris appear in a short comedy sketch with Rik Mayall and Ben Elton. It’s then a pretty much nondescript performance of ‘The Sweetest Girl’ in the studio. Carl is missing or possibly hiding in Suggs’ or Bedders’ oversized suits of mid 80s chic.
09/05/86 Interview (Video Jukebox)
The undisputed kings of 80’s video get a chunky 20 minute slot on this TV omnibus celebrating the music video. There’s a selection of Madness clips shown as all six members discuss the production process and their favourite video moments. And before you ask, Lee does indeed tell that story of being left dangling over a spiked fence as the crane driver headed off to the boozer, during the filming of the ‘Baggy Trousers’ promo. Bedders gives his jaws some serious gum chewing exercise throughout. This programme was repeated on 11th June, 1987.
05/07/86 Interview (Countdown)
It’s that Countdown show from the Netherlands and not Australia this time, with a feature from the Parkpop Festival in Den Haag. There’s a short concert clip of ‘Embarrassment’ before Suggs gets nabbed by Simone Walraven for a quick interview just as he comes down the steps from the stage. En route to some faraway dressing room, he gets asked about being nutty before demonstrating his own interview skills by asking Simone how long she’s been wearing braces on her teeth. ‘Old’ footage of ‘Embarrassment’ from the Veronica Festival in 1980 rounds things off.
23/09/86 Feature (No Limits)
To the music of “Wings of a Dove”, the camera follows the band from their hotel, onto to the coach and backstage at Hartlepool Dock Rock on 4th July. It stops just as the band take to the on stage for their penultimate concert of the eighties…bah. The band would play their final show of the eighties the following day at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.
30/09/86 Profile (Music Box?)
Carl and Chris pull up in a morris minor convertible in Camden Town for this 30 minute tribute to Madness which was broadcast on the Sky Channel in 1987. Somewhere indoors (Star Warehouse, I think) they chat about the band’s decision to split and reminisce on some of their happier moments with a selection of videos shown too. Probably of most interest is when Carl takes to the piano and sings a song of origin unknown.
13/11/86 (Waiting for) The Ghost Train (Top of the Pops)
Madness are back (where they belong) in the Top 20 as they grace the Top of the Pops
stage for the final time (well, so we thought). They’re wearing their newspaper suits (with those ‘Soweto Bloodbath’ headlines) from the video. Suggs has tried to turn the clock back by cropping his hair (ala 1979) but alas, three minutes on and it’s too late. Chris and Mark reverse their guitars to spell…err, ‘TIIE END’. Mark’s bass guitar either can’t spell or is perhaps telling us that this may not be the end after all. ( )
14/11/86 (Waiting for) The Ghost Train (The Tube)
It’s a sad, sad day as Madness make their final television appearance (shhh, only of the 80s) and The Tube marks it by building something resembling a ghost train in the studio. The camera trails Suggs as he picks up cobwebs and other band members en route. Lee gets to perform some final aerial acrobatics on a wire during the trumpet solo (why no sax solo?!!) and then that is…the end.
21/11/86 Interview (The Tube)
I’m not sure if this quite counts as a television appearance but apparently Carl chatted over the phone with Jools Holland on air, presumably about the band breaking up. The Tube itself would only last another another 6 months thanks to Jools’ ‘indiscretions’.
02/12/86 Interview (Splash)
Suggs and a re-bearded Carl talk about the split and new ‘Utter Madness’ hits package with Nino Firetto and his mullet. Suggs admits that he doesn’t know who’ll be buying the album; “presumably people who’ve been in prison for 10 years and never heard of Madness”, he suggests.
08/12/86 Interview (Breakfast Time)
Suggs, Carl and Chris discuss the band’s break up, their peak period and plans for the future. At the end, psychic presenter, Frank Bough says he doesn’t believe they’re finished, wisely predicting that “they’re just going to go away, change their suits, change their names and pop up as eh, I dunno, ‘Sanity’ instead of Madness”. ‘The Madness’ 4…take note!
“After 400 top-ten singles, three record labels, the odd video, two managers, countless innuendoes and being banned from here to eternity for our lack of professionalism by people with as much flair as a yoghurt carton, the ‘nutty’ ghost train grinds to a halt, pulls into a station: terminal Madness.
Oh what fun we had! But now it’s a heart-felt thanks to all who helped us on our way, particularly ours fans and friends . We came, we saw, we left”