New Three-Part Docuseries Chronicles the Rise of Influential British Group Madness
Through the Eyes of the Band
Camden, London, 11 March 2021 – AMC UK announced today that it will premiere “Before We Was We: Madness by Madness”, a three-part original docuseries which chronicles the rise of one of the biggest and most loved bands in British culture, Madness on 1 May at 9pm, exclusively on BT TV. All three episodes of the show, which was adapted from the critically acclaimed band biography of the same name, will simultaneously be available on demand through BT Player.
Each 60-minute episode is an enthralling slice of music history, featuring original footage and interviews with band members past and present including Chris Foreman, Mike “Barso” Barson, Lee “Thommo” Thompson, Graham “Suggs” McPherson, Daniel “Woody” Woodgate, Mark “Bedders” Bedford, Carl “Chas Smash” Smyth, regaling stories from their 40-year career together as Madness. Set during a time of cultural and political upheaval, the docuseries offers a captivating insight into a post-war Britain, which has changed beyond recognition alongside 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.
The docuseries traces the humble beginnings of the band that would go on to set the record for the biggest audience ever for the BBC’s Live New Year’s Eve Broadcast – the most watched TV music event of 2018, and perform on top of Buckingham Palace as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. Throughout their career, Madness have had 10 UK top ten albums, 15 top ten singles and have won a multitude of awards including a prestigious Ivor Novello. And the story isn’t over yet.
Looking back at his career, Suggs 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.”
Siena Pakington, Content Director, BT and EE, said “Madness are an iconic British band with a huge dedicated following, so we’re delighted to be bringing this doc-series exclusively to our BT TV customers. Today’s announcement, alongside our wider offering and flexible TV packages, demonstrates how BT TV is the destination for customers wanting easy access to the best TV, film and sport content.”
Kevin Dickie, EVP and MD, AMC Networks International – UK, said “Before We Was We: Madness by Madness offers fascinating insight into a very different London of the 60s, 70s and 80s that shaped one of Britain’s most iconic bands. It’s a testament to AMC’s commitment to developing content that resonates with our UK audiences.”
Series Co-Directors and Co-Producers for AMC UK are Ben Timlett and Bill Jones of Bill & Ben Productions. Executive Producers are Kevin Dickie, Harold Gronenthal, EVP, Programming & Marketing, AMC Networks International, Katy Ellis and Garry Blackburn from Anglo Management. “Before We Was We: Madness by Madness” is AMC UK’s second original production after their 2019 feature-length documentary, An Accidental Studio, which charted the creation of the ground-breaking British film studio, George Harrison’s HandMade Films.
AMC is available in the UK exclusively on BT TV, channel number 332, and is also available in HD on channel number 381.
About AMC Networks International – UK
AMC Networks International – UK is a business unit of AMC Networks International, a leading producer and distributor of television channels reaching subscribers in more than 130 countries and territories and spanning a range of genres, including movies and series, lifestyle, entertainment, sports, children’s and factual. AMC Networks International is the global division of AMC Networks. For more information, please visit: www.amcnetworks.com/amc-networks-international/
BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.
For the year ended 31 March 2020, BT Group’s reported revenue was £22,905m with reported profit before taxation of £2,353m.
British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
For more information, visit www.bt.com/about
About Bill & Ben
Emmy® Nominated Directors and Producers Bill Jones and Ben Timlett grew up together in South East London, starting out in the film industry as Editors. In 1998 they formed Bill and Ben Productions to make short films and music videos which swiftly developed to include feature film and feature documentary production. Co-Producing and Co-Directing duoBill and Ben have developed a unique and distinctive approach to storytelling utilising a huge variety of techniques and media coupled with a clear vision to inform and entertain audiences.