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Sunday, 18 March, 2001, 21:18 GMT
Hear'Say hit number one
Production line: Hear'Say prepare to celebrate
Pop group Hear'Say - who met on the TV show Popstars - have stormed to number one with their debut single Pure and Simple.

BBC Radio 1 DJ Mark Goodier announced it was the fastest-selling debut single ever on his weekly chart countdown - selling just under 550,000 copies.

Group members Noel Sullivan, 20, Myleene Klass, 22, Kym Marsh, 24, Danny Foster, 21, and Suzanne Shaw, 19, heard the news on a live edition of the ITV show, which followed the making of the group.

Just being in the charts is good enough, we were unknowns three months ago

Myleene Klass
Klass told Goodier in a live link-up between Radio 1 and the TV show: "Just being in the charts is good enough, we were unknowns three months ago.

"The lid has been lifted on the music business and it should give people a chance to get into it - the people who are faking it will be quaking in their boots."

The group have cost bookmakers thousands - Ladbrokes offered 2-1 against the five-piece topping the charts, but was forced to close the book after two weeks.

Now bookies are offering 6-1 on them having a number one at Christmas.

'Over the moon'

Hear'Say's hit beat Britney Spears' 1998 debut Baby One More Time, which sold 470,000 copies.

It also sold three times as many copies as last week's number one - boy band Westlife's cover of the Billy Joel hit Uptown Girl.

Only Sir Elton John's Candle In The Wind 98 and Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? have sold more copies in their first week on sale.

A spokesman for ITV said: "We're over the moon. The judges definitely picked the right band."

I'm absolutely delighted with the success - it was nothing more than you deserve

'Nasty' Nigel Lythgoe
But one judge was not there to share the moment - "Nasty" Nigel Lythgoe, who became a cult figure at the start of the series, is filming in Borneo.

The LWT executive is working on ITV's version of the reality TV hit Survivor.

But during a chat on the show's website, a letter from him was read out to the group.

It said: "I'm absolutely delighted with the success. In truth, it was nothing more than you deserve."

The spokesman said 30,000 questions had been sent to the group for the web chat.

First album

Now the series is over the group have to face up to life without TV cameras following them around.

They also have to promote their first album, Popstars, which is released on 26 March.

Hear'Say queue
Fans queueing outside Hamley's in London
More than 300 people saw them appear at Hamley's toy store, central London, on Saturday as they signed copies of Pure and Simple and launched a range of Hear'Say dolls.

They also took a swipe at their pop rivals. Asked what set them apart from other acts, Marsh said: "We can all sing."

Shaw said: "All bands are creations put together to sell albums and singles."

Klass added: "A good song is a good song, regardless of what the style is and who is singing it."

The group's debut album - Popstars - is released on 26 March.

See also:

13 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Hear'Say debut sells fast
12 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Popstars spark fan fever
12 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Thousands turn out for Hear'Say
24 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Popstars make their live debut
05 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Popstars face the music
05 Feb 01 | Entertainment
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