Why did Wham! break up? New documentary coming to Netflix

·4-min read
Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael of Wham! at the film premiere of the original Dune (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael of Wham! at the film premiere of the original Dune (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

A new Netflix documentary will look at the ups and downs in the lives of Wham! singers George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.

The documentary is set to lift the lid on the goings-on of the band, who enjoyed huge chart success in the 1980s.

The documentary is being put together by streaming giant Netflix, with Ridgeley working with them to help develop the project.

It is set to provide fans with a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the group’s ups and downs during the height of their fame, while also paying tribute to the life and career of Michael.

In a statement, Netflix said: “In 1982, the best of friends and still teenagers – George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley as Wham! — set out to conquer the world. By June of 1986, they played their very last gig at Wembley Stadium having done exactly that.

“Now for the very first time, told in their own words, the amazing story of how in four years they dominated the charts around the world with timeless and classic pop songs.”

George Michael on stage (PA)
George Michael on stage (PA)

When is the series coming out?

No official date has yet been announced, with the streaming giants only confirming that it is in the works. The project is said to be in the early stages of development.

Other reports, such as those from Retropop, state it is set for an early summer release on July 5, but no official date has been confirmed by the service.

Who is Andrew Ridgeley?

Andrew Ridgeley is an English singer and songwriter best known for being one-half of musical duo Wham!

Andrew and George were best of friends and went to school together.

They were in their teens when they took the country by storm in their rolled-up jeans and espadrilles.

The now 60-year-old appeared alongside George Michael in the band from 1982 to 1986, selling more than 35 million records worldwide.

Towards the end of the pair’s fame, Ridgeley had got himself a reputation as a party animal who loved going out and drinking. He was dubbed “animal Andy” and “Randy Andy” and, in 1985, he was ordered to leave the Live Aid after-party because of his “wild antics”.

Andrew Ridgeley in 2019 , at the Last Christmas premiere (PA)
Andrew Ridgeley in 2019 , at the Last Christmas premiere (PA)

When Wham! split, Ridgeley moved to Monaco and tried to undertake a new role doing Formula Three motor racing but it didn’t work out. He also released a solo album, but it flopped, something he labelled as “disappointing” back in the day.

In 2019, he had a cameo in the movie Last Christmas, a film inspired by the work of Wham!

He is rumoured to be worth £10 million from sales and royalties of records, and is said to receive thousands of pounds annually from the song Careless Whisper alone, which he co-wrote with George Michael.

Ridgeley has been heavily involved in the documentary. A source told the Metro: “It is a really exciting project and they are putting a lot of resources into it. Andrew is also very keen for the opportunity to look back over his years with George in the band — though it will, of course, be bittersweet for him.”

Why did Wham break up?

Wham! released their final song in 1986, The Edge of Heaven, which hit the number one spot.

Despite the band’s success, it was heavily reported that George Michael was getting the most attention as the band’s heart-throb, something Ridgeley was said to be jealous of.

Although Michael never publicly quit Wham!, it was rumoured he was the driving force behind the band calling it a day.

He was quoted as saying he wanted to “write to more honest emotions in his records, creating songs that people could personally relate to” and target a more adult audience.

Shortly after his announcement, the pair went their private ways whilst only in their early 20s, and Wham! held a final concert to say their goodbyes to fans, the farewell concert called The Final, in front of 72,000 people at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, June 28, 1986.