Musician, actor and dad of three, Matt Willis, may seem to have it all: he’s part of the hugely successful noughties pop band, Busted; has a flourishing acting career and is happily married to TV presenter Emma Willis and have three kids together – but behind the success there is one thing that often dominates his thoughts: his addictions. In this raw and honest documentary Matt opens up about his past and takes an extensive look into his battle with drugs and alcohol, how it has pushed him to the edge, and his daily struggle to keep himself clean and sober – talking of how he constantly lives with the fear of relapse and the pressure that puts on himself and his family.
The film looks back at some of Matt’s darkest days as he begins to explore what could be behind his addiction. Through meeting and talking with others Matt tries to understand why he and fellow addicts become dependent on drugs and alcohol, what help is available, and what the latest developments in treatment are. He meets up with his brother, and together they revisit their childhood home, to see if the roots of his addictions can be found in their past. He visits the rehab unit on the South Coast that made a real difference to his recovery and where he spent four weeks in 2008 before his marriage to Emma Willis, coming out the day before his wedding, clean and sober. He joins in a meeting at the centre talking with current clients about their addiction and recovery experiences. Matt also travels to Imperial College London, meeting a research team there who are studying the differences between the brains of people in addiction and people who aren’t, and looking at treatments to help people in the long and often difficult road to recovery.
As well as his personal journey, the film captures the unwavering support Matt has from his bandmates, friends and family, in particular his wife Emma. Together, he and Emma travel to a leading charity in Glasgow which supports the relatives of addicts. Here they meet the children, parents and spouses of people struggling with addictions.
Matt’s exploration of his addictions in this film comes at a time when he and Busted are preparing for their reunion tour, an environment which in the past has put him at risk of relapse. Can he get himself to a place where he feels comfortable and confident going on tour, and remaining clean and sober? And through looking into the various possible reasons for his addictions, as well as some of the methods available to help ease them, can he help himself and others find peace in their daily battle with addiction?
Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction will air on Wednesday, 17th May, at 9pm on BBC One and on iPlayer.