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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
The spice is right for a comeback

By Mark Savage
BBC News entertainment reporter

Spice Girls press conference
The band have not performed as a five-piece since 1998
"You have been spiced!" shouted Mel B as the original line-up of the Spice Girls marched off stage, hand in hand, for the first time in nine years.

The five godmothers of girl power had just announced one of the worst-kept pop secrets of recent years - they were reforming for a world tour.

It was, all told, a peculiarly British event.

If Destiny's Child, or the Jacksons, had been running the show there would have been fireworks, proclamations of globe-straddling greatness and, in all likelihood, a giant statue floating up the Thames.

The Spice Girls, however, chose to make their announcement in a cinema on the outskirts of London, in a press conference compered by actor Richard E. Grant.

A toe-curling video saw the famous five self-consciously introducing themselves and announcing the 11 cities they'd be visiting on tour.

"Say you'll be there," they chorused, before Mel C cringed "I never thought I'd say that again for the rest of my life."

'Grown up'

Spice Girls at the press conference
More than 300 journalists and photographers attended the event
The press conference, too, was understated to begin with.

"We're being very civilised," noted Mel B. "We've really grown up, haven't we?"

But the quintet gradually found their old rhythm, and began causing mayhem.

As ever, Mel B and Geri Halliwell dominated the proceedings, talking nine to the dozen and relentlessly teasing the assembled throng of journalists.

"I've got a gun under the table
Geri Halliwell
"A lot of you are mums or mums-to-be," asked one reporter, taking his life into his own hands.

"Are any of you a teensy-weensy bit worried you might be too unfit to do the dance routines?"

Mel B retorted: "You don't look very fit yourself," and dismounted the stage to unbutton the journalist's shirt in an effort to ascertain whether he had been working out.

Girl Power

Spice Girls
The 11-date world tour will visit China, Australia and South Africa
It was certainly a refreshing change to have the feisty five back, unsullied by the media training that makes so many modern pop interviews sound like a compendium of corporate mission statements.

Among the more entertaining quotes from the press conference were:

"We are girl power!" (Mel B).

"Geri just appreciates the fact we've let her back in the band." (Victoria Beckham).

"I wanted to be a Spice Girl again." (Emma Bunton)

"I've got a gun under the table." (Geri Halliwell)

New material

Other than the 11 tour dates, scheduled for December and January, the actual detail of Thursday's press conference was sketchy.

Plans to record new material are "under discussion" and the band had no concrete details about the stage show.

"There will be five girls," Halliwell declared.

"There will be lights," added Brown.

"And there'll be topless dancing," Halliwell teased. "In the audience."

What is certain is that the six-continent world tour is an attempt to gauge interest in the reformed band.

Spice Girls
The Spice Girls have sold more than 55m records around the world
The whirlwind, one-night-only concerts ("one night stands" as Halliwell called them) and a greatest hits album are sure-fire hits.

But they will also allow the group to dip their toes back in the waters of fame before deciding whether to take the plunge into full-time Spiciness.

It is a wise move for two reasons. First of all, a full-scale, all guns blazing, comeback would prove embarrassing if it failed at the first hurdle.

Secondly, there is a question over whether the Spice Girls' 10-year-old pop songs can compete against the more sophisticated sounds of Girls Aloud and the Sugababes.

In many ways, the band are copying the template laid by Take That, whose comeback shows last year resulted in recording contract, a number one album and a Brit award for best single.

But the Spice Girls were quick to dispel comparisons with the boy band.

"The difference between them and us is that we're truly global," sniped Mel C.

Take That - you have been spiced.

Should the Spice Girls reform?
Yes, spice up our lives!
No, zig-a-zig-argh!
2766 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Spice Girls announce reunion tour
28 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Mel C gives Spice Girls go-ahead
15 Jun 07 |  Entertainment

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