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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 15:18 GMT
Take That get ready for comeback
By Caroline Briggs
BBC News entertainment reporter

Take That
Take That joked with reporters as they announced their return
Take That held a press conference in London on Friday to announce details of a comeback tour - almost 10 years after they split up.

Rumours of a Take That reunion were enough to send some elements of the press pack reaching for their smelling salts.

There was a buzz of excitement at the London hotel where Howard Donald, Mark Owen, Gary Barlow and Jason Orange were due to reveal their plans on Friday.

Female journalists - many of whom were teenagers when pop act Take That started out - had made their way to the front of the room and sat expectantly as their old songs were played.

'Incredible support'

As the four familiar singers of hits such as Pray, Relight My Fire and Sure entered the crystal-chandelier ballroom to applause, some journalists later admitted they had goosebumps.

Barlow - flanked by Owen, Orange and Donald - thanked everyone for their "incredible support" and was quick to confirm the reunion rumours were true.

All four men seemed relaxed, cracking jokes and smiling infectiously at the mass of journalists, photographers and cameras before them.

[Robbie has] absolutely given us his blessing
Jason Orange
But it was not long before someone asked the inevitable question - where was Robbie Williams?

"Where have you been for the last 10 years?" Owen quipped, "While we've been on holiday, he's been taking the world by storm."

Barlow admitted he would love Williams to join them on their 11-date tour.

"I think we can all say we would definitely have loved that," he said, "but we do respect that is not going to happen.

"Rob's got his own deal going on and we obviously wish him the best."

Owen added: "The door is always open for Rob. If ever he's bored one day and we're on the road and he wants to come and sing a song, we're always ready to do that.

"We'll have a spare mic ready for him on stage."

Take That
The boy band achieved international success in the early 1990s

Orange, the quietest and most reflective of the foursome, said he had spoken to Williams in recent weeks.

"He has absolutely given us his blessing. He's in a place where he's comfortable with himself and his own career.

"But I should imagine he might have mixed feelings - he's delighted for us but he might be a bit wistful as well.

"But he's cool, this won't offend him. He won't be upset by this."

Owen added: "We'll give him some backstage passes."

At the height of their fame, Take That were chased by photographers and fans alike everywhere they went.

And just like the old days, photographers jostled for the best shot, firing off a storm of flashlights in the process.

'Now or never'

But unlike the old days, when the band had a hardcore following of screaming girls, just three fans were standing outside the hotel.

"That's my sister," Owen joked. "I asked her to come down and make us look popular."

Owen admitted that the band - who are all in their 30s - had grown up since 1996, along with their original fans, but hoped to attract existing and new fans to their tour.

"It will be a bit of fun, people can come along and we'll try our best to entertain and hopefully bring back some memories," he said.

Robbie Williams
Owen joked that Robbie Williams could have a backstage pass
"We're not getting any younger, that's the truth. I think if we don't do it now, we probably never could. It's kind of now or never for all of us."

Take That were known for their live shows with energetic dance routines, but they said their outrageous costumes were likely to stay in the wardrobe.

All four admitted it would be a challenge to return to the level of fitness demanded by a tour.

"Last week we sat and watched some of our old videos and I was exhausted just looking at them," laughed Owen.

Donald, who said his knees had "gone" added: "I've actually just started running to try to get myself fit and cut down on the fags. This is going to be a big challenge."

The band said they would see how successful the tour was before deciding if they were - in the words of their 1995 single - back for good.

"I'm really looking forward to the challenge," Owen concluded. "I just want to know if we can do it again like we used to do it."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See Take That video and concert clips



SEE ALSO
Take That confirm a reunion tour
25 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
Robbie misses Take That reunion
15 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
Robbie tops new millennium list
06 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
Robbie wows fans at preview gig
02 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
Owen's third stab at chart success
04 Aug 03 |  Entertainment

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