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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Girls Aloud's year at the top
Cheryl Tweedy: A year in the spotlight
Girls Aloud band member Cheryl Tweedy has been found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on a female nightclub attendant, but cleared of racially aggravated assault.

Since they were formed on ITV1's Popstars: The Rivals last year, Girls Aloud have barely been out of the public eye.

The quintet have been a regular chart fixture over the past 12 months, since snatching the Christmas No.1 from their opponents, boy band One True Voice.

Tweedy, 20, from Heaton in Newcastle, joined her bandmates to form the group in December 2002.

The rest of the group are 17-year-old Nicola Roberts from Runcorn, Nadine Coyle, 17, from Derry, Kimberley Walsh, 20, from Bradford and 21-year-old Sarah Harding from Greater Manchester.

They were chosen from tens of thousands who auditioned on the reality show for a place in the band.

Tweedy's life was transformed when she joined Girls Aloud, leaving behind life on a council estate.

Girls Aloud
Girls Aloud, with Tweedy far right
One of five children, she had began modelling at the age of three, appeared in a British Gas advert aged seven and joined the Royal Ballet's summer school two years later.

But when she was 12 she abandoned dancing and decided to pursue a singing career instead, signing with a management company and going to countless auditions.

Girls Aloud, as she pointed out, could not have come along at a better time.

"I can hardly believe it," she said shortly after winning the greatest number of viewer votes to secure a place in the band.

"Four months earlier I was sitting in a council house drinking tea and watching Oprah Winfrey on television all day."


The band's catchy brand of pop and continued chart success suggested that, Monday's verdict aside, they had a future beyond the usual lifespan of bands spawned from TV shows.

But the girls have had a turbulent 12 months, even without the trial.

Controversy surrounded the band before it was even formed, with one of the show's finalists, Javine Hylton, voted off the ITV1 show by viewers despite being one of the favourites.

Hylton has gone on to enjoy solo success.

Boy band One True Voice, who were also formed on the programme and who released their debut single on the same day, were expected to beat them to the Christmas number one spot with their cover of the Bee Gees' Sacred Trust.

But Girls Aloud, under the guidance of manager Louis Walsh, stormed to number one with Sound Of The Underground, and a cover version of East 17's Christmas chart-topper Stay Another Day.


The song topped the charts for four weeks, and was swiftly followed by the top three hit No Good Advice.

And their album Sound Of The Underground, which was released in June, hit number two in the charts and was well received.

One True Voice fared less well, splitting up in June after their second single, Shakespeare's Way With Words, barely made it into the top 10.

Meanwhile, Girls Aloud went from strength to strength, scoring another top three hit with their song Life Got Cold.

Tragedy struck the group on Christmas Day last year when their tour manager John McMahon was killed in a car crash in Staffordshire.

Soon afterwards, their planned tour with One True Voice was cancelled due to poor ticket sales. Walsh was quick to defend them.

"Being associated with One True Voice was not doing them any favours," he said.

"Girls Aloud are doing brilliantly and they don't need to be supported by anyone else."

Girls Aloud trounce pop rivals
23 May 03  |  Entertainment
Girls Aloud held off top spot
19 May 03  |  Entertainment
Girls Aloud star appears in court
25 Mar 03  |  England
Girls Aloud star arrested
12 Jan 03  |  England

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