THERE’S nothing like researching your own life to uncover long-hidden secrets. When Suggs was putting together his first one-man show six years ago, he found out rather more than he might have wanted about his father, Mac. A keen amateur photographer and jazz fan, he was also a drug addict.

“My mum told me she’d come home and find him with needles sticking out of his hands,” says Suggs, 57. “Heroin was his drug of choice, a one-way street that takes you further and further away from real life. In the end, it did for the marriage.”

The squeamish should look away now. When Mac took to injecting his eyeballs with paraffin, he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and put in an asylum in south London. He died in 1975, the year his son morphed into Suggs.

“The first show was all about how I got from being Graham McPherson working in a butcher’s in Chapel Market, north London to becoming the front man of Madness.” Its success has now spawned a second, follow-up slab of life according to Suggs entitled A Life in the Realm of Madness.

The new show was triggered by a defining moment. “I recently discovered I had a sister living in Ireland. I kind of knew my mother had had a daughter she’d put up for adoption as a baby. But I had no recollection of her and it was something we never spoke about.

“Then, completely out of the blue, Mum got a message on Facebook saying: ‘I think you might be my mother.’ It turned out this woman – her name is Julie – had seen a repeat of my This Is Your Life on which my mother was introduced by her maiden name, Edith Gower.

“Julie recognised the name and spotted the physical resemblance. Then she got in touch. This was about five years ago and I’ll never forget it. Mum flew to Dublin to meet Julie and, when she came back, she was different.

“Her shoulders had dropped. It was as if she’d carried a tension inside her every day of her life since she’d been forced to part with her daughter. An innate sadness had instantly disappeared. And it all happened just in time.” Suggs’s mother passed away in April aged 79.

It’s been quite a year. In July, his younger daughter, Viva, gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl called Buster and Birdie. “Talk about the circle of life. They’re living with us at the moment. They’re great but bloody hard work.”

Suggs married his wife, Anne – known professionally as Bette Bright, singer with the band, Deaf School – when he was only 21. “I think I was probably looking for a bit of structure in my life. But I married for love – and we’re still together.” They also have an elder daughter, Scarlet, who married in the summer.

Early success with Madness was balanced by a rock steady home life, something for which he’ll always be grateful. “Fame doesn’t really interest me,” he says. But it does, of course, open some pretty impressive doors.

After the one-man show finishes, there’s a UK tour with Madness before Christmas. Then next year is the band’s 40th anniversary so there’ll be lots happening. “Who’d have thought it would go on this long? I know how lucky I’ve been.

“Not long ago, I was sitting outside a pub by Mornington Crescent tube station. I’d just picked up my mum’s ashes from the funeral directors; they were in a carrier bag on the table beside me. I ordered Mum a glass of Prosecco and I had a pint.

“Then I spotted one of my contemporaries who’d obviously fallen on hard times, having an argument across the road. So I went to lend him a bit of support and, when I looked back, there was some druggie polishing off the Prosecco, about to sink my pint and with my mum’s ashes under his arm.

“When I shouted at him and told him what was in the carrier bag, even he was a bit ashamed. It made me realise, though, that there but for the grace of God go I. I wasn’t that druggie or the one having a row about a tenner. I never stop being grateful for what I’ve got.”

* Suggs: My Life in the Realm of Madness is at the Tivoli in Wimborne on Wednesday, October 31