The short, hit-filled life of Wham! is the subject of a documentary on Netflix which gets two thumbs up from Ray D'Arcy. Ray spoke to Andrew Ridgely, one half of the pop duo, about the band and his lifelong friendship with the other half of the duo, Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, dubbed Yog by Andrew when they met in school and, of course, known to millions as George Michael. The pair met aged 12:

"Teachers always wanted a mentor for the new boy and I was the only one who put my hand up, so it was sort of a sealed deal."

The documentary is something that Andrew is clearly proud of and he credits director Chris Smith with its success:

"[He] has come as close as anyone, I think, to identifying the kind of unique aspect of Wham! that made it so attractive and perhaps stood it apart from some of its contemporaries and that was, essentially, that bond of friendship."

Smith was helped in compiling the documentary by an unlikely source – Andrew's mum was an avid collector of clippings from newspapers and magazines. She managed to fill 51 scrapbooks with carefully-chosen clippings:

"Yeah, they’re a fantastic resource to refer to and to give substance to a lot of the circumstances around pivotal moments in our career. So, wonderful things to have, and I hope at some point to be able to present them in some form to our fans and the public."

Ray wanted to know when the two friends got into music. The answer was, "almost instantly":

"It became very clear very quickly that we shared a really intense and broad love of music, very contemporary music, and that was one of the pillars upon which our friendship was based. That and a very puerile shared sense of humour."

The boys formed a band and recorded some songs, but it didn’t go according to plan, at least initially. The band’s second single Young Guns (Go for It) was languishing at no 42 in the UK charts when they got to call to appear on Top of the Pops, the biggest – indeed, the only – pop music show in the country at the time and it changed their lives:

"It was a huge opportunity to present yourselves to the British public and they took to us very quickly after that appearance."

Ray praises the freshness and the rawness of that Top of the Pops performance (which can be seen on YouTube). Andrew, however, has a slightly different view of it:

"Amateurishness, actually, was what I think I’d define it. It was certainly authentic."

The Top of the Pops-assisted success of Young Guns (Go for It) meant Club Tropicana, the next single, had a budget for its video and Andrew and George flew to Ibiza to film it. And it was during the filming of the video that George came out to Andrew:

"Club Trop was the unveiling of Wham! in its purest form. Yog chose that moment after we’d shot the video and we were having a couple of days R&R after the shooting of the to tell Shirley and I that he felt he was homosexual, rather – well, he was still seeing women at the time, he had girlfriends, which he continued to do, but I think he’d come to the realisation that he was a gay man, rather than a bisexual one at that point. Not that it made any difference to any of us, but he felt that he needed to tell us."

It’s often been said that Andrew resented George’s songwriting ability and later solo success. Not so, Andrew told Ray:

"I had nothing to resent or be bitter about. I was realising a firmly-held ambition, a childhood ambition, really, of being in a band with my best friend and I was, I was thrilled at his development as an artist. It was an amazing thing to witness and to be a part of."

People are often surprised when they realise that Wham! only stayed together for 4 years. The band brought the curtain down at a huge concert in Wembley Stadium in front of 75,000 fans:

"It really felt far more celebratory than any sense of sadness or conclusion. It was really only when we took the last bow and turned around and walked off stage that there was sort of the realisation that, wow, that is it, you know, that it all stops here."

George Michael died aged 53 on Christmas Day 2016. Ray asked Andrew how he found out about his friend’s death. Andrew told him that he got a phone call from George’s sister, but he prefers to dwell on George’s life and talent:

"I don’t choose to remember Yog in his death, you know, I choose to remember him in the full flow of life and as I said at the tribute that we gave, that Shirley, Pespi and I gave at the Brits, he left the best of himself for us and the best of himself was his music and his art."

You can hear Ray’s full conversation with Andrew by clicking above. The documentary – simply called Wham! – is on Netflix.