Five of the Best... Madness' greatest ever TV moments - The Young Ones, Glastonbury, Buckingham Palace and Top of the Pops

To celebrate the release of Madness documentary Before We Was We, we look back at the Nutty Boys’ finest TV appearances from sitcom anarchy to an appointment at the palace.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 14 September 2021 - 5.02pm
Getty Suggs performing live with Madness

Whether it was causing havoc in the Top of the Pops studio or just being endlessly cheeky and inventive in music videos, Madness have always been a band who know the power of performing on TV.

The Nutty Boys are reflecting on their careers in AMC’s documentary series Before We Was We, which premieres on May 1, and to celebrate the TV series, we’re looking back at the band’s finest TV moments.

They’ve played the world’s biggest stages, entertained millions on New Year’s Eve and even performed on top of the Queen’s house.

The greatest ever music documentaries

How to watch Before We Was We: Madness By Madness

Here are our favourite Madness TV moments…

1. Nutty Boys on The Young Ones

Surreal, anarchic and offbeat, BBC sitcom The Young Ones was a perfect match up for Madness.

The British sitcom had a guest band in nearly every episode and Madness were the only group to appear twice.

Their second appearance in series 2 episode Sick concluded with the band smashing each other with instruments in a mass brawl that even impressed those kings of slapstick Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson.

2. Vintage Top of the Pops

From terrorising Dave Lee Travis with Baggy Trousers to fancy-dress frolics on Night Boat to Cairo, Madness always delivered the goods on Top of the Pops.

One of their most elaborate appearances came in 1992, when they took the Maddiemobile into the BBC studios for Driving In My Car.

As far as we know, it’s also the only time anyone played a skeleton on Top of the Pops.

3. Storming Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage

In 2007, Madness played a secret set in the middle of the night in Glastonbury’s mysterious Lost Vagueness tent. For those lucky enough to squeeze through the mud and rain into the tent, it was an unforgettable show.

The organisers were clearly impressed and brought them back two years later to play the Pyramid Stage for a set that had a whole field skanking with glee.

Aired on the BBC, it was a glorious hit-packed set, played to an adoring audience in a rare moment of British summer sunshine.

4. Rocking Buckingham Palace

What a moment: Our House, one of the great working class anthems, played on the roof of Buckingham Palace.

The performance was part of the band’s set at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. For a band that grew up on the streets of London, it felt strangely emotional as they transformed the Palace into a row of terraced houses with some light show trickery.

5. A New Year’s Eve knees-up

New Year’s Eve 2018 and Madness stepped up for the biggest party in the land.

Performing to over 10 million viewers on BBC One, they group matched the fireworks over the Thames with a joyous set of classics and new favourites.

Watch Before We Was: Madness By Madness on AMC, Saturday May 1 at 9pm on AMC.

Watch episode 1 for free on BT’s YouTube channel.

BT TV customers can watch episode 1-3 on the BT Player.

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