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Saturday, 30 November, 2002, 01:36 GMT
Out of Robbie's shadow
Mark Owen was a key member of the most successful boy band of the 1990s, Take That. BBC News Online looks at his illustrious past, as his Celebrity Big Brother win catapults him back into the spotlight.

Together with Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow, Jason Orange and Howard Donald, Mark Owen sold more than 15 million records worldwide as part of Take That.

Between 1992 and 1996, they notched up eight number one singles - at the time, a UK record.

But after Robbie Williams quit in 1995, the group's star began to wane, and they called it a day in March 1996 - just months before the Spice Girls rocketed to fame.

It looked as if clean-cut Gary Barlow would be the group's most successful member when they turned their hands to solo careers - but within two years Robbie Williams had overtaken him, and the rest is history.

But while Barlow and Williams fought it out, the other three just seemed to fade away.

Mark Owen
The way he was: Performing in Berlin in 1995
Owen re-signed with Take That's label, RCA, and released an self-penned album, Green Man.

It sold a respectable one million copies worldwide, but failed to take off in the UK.

His new singer-songwriter image did little to endear him to his fans from his Take That days - and nor did his long hair. He was dropped by RCA in 1999.

"I thought having done Take That, I could do it all alone," he recalled of his post-boy band days.

But his other passion, football, kept his feet on the ground. He presented a show for a digital TV channel touring venues of the Euro 2000 tournament, while he turned out for a team close to his home, Kirkby Lonsdale FC.

But he kept his hand in the music industry - working with Liverpool-based band Space - and recently, he was reportedly in talks with several record labels about a second album.

Mark Owen in 1997
Owen's solo career faltered
But he did admit to feeling "gutted" by Robbie Williams' success - "if I had played my cards right it could have been me".

One aspect of his life is settled, though - he now lives in the Lake District and has a steady girlfriend, Chloe.

While Robbie Williams' career is well-documented, and Mark Owen has returned to the public eye, their Take That colleagues have now slipped into obscurity.

  • Howard Donald is working as a club DJ - including regular gigs at Butlins in Skegness, where he reportedly gets 1,000 a show. His attempts to start a solo career failed after legal wrangles with his new label. He now lives on the outskirts of Manchester with his girlfriend and their young daughter.

  • Jason Orange travelled around the world after Take That's demise, and embarked on an acting career. He appeared in the Lynda La Plante drama Killer Net on Channel 4, and played a drug-crazed poet in the play Gob, which was staged at a small London theatre.

  • Big things were predicted for Gary Barlow - and he had two solo number one singles and a million-selling album, Open Road. But its follow-up flopped - and he parted company with RCA in 2000. He appeared in ITV drama Heartbeat before returning to the music industry as a songwriter. He now writes and produces hits for groups, including boy band Blue.
See also:

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