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Last Updated: Friday, 1 December 2006, 17:49 GMT
Take That return to centre stage
By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Take That by Tom Craig
Take That have recently recorded a gig for BBC Radio 2

Fifteen years ago, boyband mania overwhelmed teenage girls everywhere as Take That burst onto the music scene.

After eight number one singles, eight tours, three albums - and a very public falling out with former bandmate Robbie Williams - the group eventually split up.

A decade later and the foursome are back at the top of the charts following a sell-out summer tour.

"This whole year has been more than any of us expected. We're just being taken by surprise at the moment," band member Mark Owen told the BBC News Website.

According to the 34-year-old musician, a return to centre-stage was not planned.

'Little spark'

Back in November 2005, the four band members who temporarily stayed together after Williams quit, met for the first time to make an ITV1 documentary.

"We'd all tried to move on with our lives and do different things. So going back to that documentary we were all thinking we might get some closure from it to move on from that."

It was the positive response to the documentary that prompted tour promoters to offer them the chance to do it all again - something Owen thought would never happen.

Take That pictured in their early days
I dream that one day we'll get together as a fivesome, but I really don't know if that will ever happen, I can't say
Mark Owen

"I must be honest I expected everybody to go 'no way', but you could see a little sparkle in their eyes. It lit a little spark inside of everybody," he says.

So they hit the road again, singing their old hits including Pray and Back for Good.

The tour was dogged by rumours that Williams, who went on to find huge success as a solo artist, might join them.

But it was not to be - the closest fans got was seeing a hologram of the singer up on stage performing in the introduction of Take That's 1992 hit Could It Be Magic.

With the group are back releasing new material and enjoying renewed success, they are crossing their fingers that Williams might change his mind.


"It's something that we all would really like to happen one day, and that hasn't changed," says Owen.

"I dream that one day we'll get together as a fivesome, but I really don't know if that will ever happen, I can't say," he adds.

Mark Owen
Mark Owen won the second series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2002

After a string of hits, Williams has received lukewarm reviews for his latest album Rudebox - just as his former band is enjoying a revival.

But Owen remains loyal to his former bandmate, brushing aside suggestions that he is suffering a decline.

"I think if you're writing off Robbie, I think you're being a bit silly. You know Rob will be back, I don't think he's ever gone away really," he says.

Owen explains that the band are treating their return to the top with caution, saying they are trying hard not to look too far ahead.

'Carried away'

"Sometimes we catch ourselves talking about the next album or the next tour, then we say 'hang on, let's just see how everything goes.'"

The musician has been here before and is all too familiar with how fickle the media and fans can sometimes be.

Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams enjoyed solo success after Take That's demise

"Let's not get carried away with it because I think we really appreciate what's happened to us this year.

"But I'm sure in another month you'll be on the road talking to some other band and saying 'they've lost it.'"

Despite admitting that they are enjoying adulation again, Owen is realistic about where it could take them, and says he is just enjoying it for what it is.

"We're getting a chance to do things we never thought we'd do again. I think if you start expecting things, then there's only disappointment."

Clip of Take That's forthcoming single Shine

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24 Apr 06 |  Entertainment


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