IT was 2001, it was the day after Christmas and I was devastated. Why? Steps, the ultimate ’90s pop band, had broken up and my reason to live had been abolished.
Never was my dream of becoming the sixth member to be fulfilled, I would never play to CD:UK crowds or have a Barbie doll replica of myself. It was all over.
However, all that changed when bosses at SKY decided to put the band back in a room, film the bitching and broadcast it for the nation’s viewing pleasure. After the successful four-part TV series, the band then announced the greatest hits album, The Ultimate Collection, and a national arena tour.
For now though, the band were switching on the Christmas lights at the Trafford Centre. Steps were to perform for a live public audience, for the first time in ten years in the city where they staged their last Arena date. Despite their busy schedule Confidential got the chance to have a word, giving me the chance to become the next Stepper.
Lisa Scott-Lee, the member who would go on to appear in an MTV series documenting her attempts and failings at a solo number one single, called me a cynic and ignored me from then on.
“So, got on each other's nerves yet?” I asked.
That didn’t go down too well. Lisa Scott-Lee, the member who would go on to appear in an MTV series documenting her attempts and failings at a solo number one single, called me a cynic and ignored me from then on.
Fortunately H, Lee and Faye were a little more talkative. H told me, “We’re doing this because we want to do this, it’s a nice place to be.”
After the well known Boxing Day split following in-fights and secret notes the band took a ten year break to pursue solo careers and projects. Of the most memorable solo projects is H’s unsurprising Celebrity Big Brother coming out and Claire’s yo-yo weight drama as documented in your favourite weekly glossy.
The TV series was a whirlwind of tears and nostalgia and has been described by Lee as ‘group therapy on camera’, but was it authentic?
“There was no script” said Lee. Really? Faye spoke up, “You know what, we had a real laugh doing it. They chopped together all the dramatic parts and asked questions that really got you in the gut.”
Gently nudging the dictaphone in Claire’s direction at this point, I was hoping to get some dirt from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Claire is famed as one of the main orchestrators of the split, along with H. She has been the focus for much press attention but appears to have got tired of defending herself and instead plays with her hair extensions.
Faye continues: “It [the TV series] served a purpose, we wanted the people that knew us before to get to know us again I guess.” Served a purpose indeed. After the show proved to be one of SKY Living’s most successful, the band were approached with the opportunity of a national tour that has gone on to sell out six dates and add six more. Their Ultimate Collection has since reached the number one spot and is still within the top five after three weeks.
Remembering that this was my only chance to join the group as their much needed sixth member I asked about the future. With all the success, would the band be releasing original material soon?
“Not at this point," said H, "We didn’t expect this to be as big as it is. We’re just going to enjoy this roller coaster that we’re on.”
I’m worried now, perhaps I could be an understudy on their tour? The band had apparently had their first meeting about the tour that week and the technology available to them had proved exciting.
“The stuff we dreamed of before,” says Faye, “we can actually physically do now.” Expect something along the lines of Kylie’s water fountains and Take That’s robotic elephant.
It was at this point that H asked my age. Was he offering me a job? Was I going to replace him as the blonde male member? He was looking a little tired after all. Could I get away with miming? I replied, containing my excitement.
“Do you remember us?” he probed. I was being tested, tested for my allegiance to Steps. “Of course I do, I already have my tour ticket!” I gushed.
Lisa’s ears pricked up, I was winning her approval. H calculated that when they started releasing records I would have been around seven years old.
And? I had an ear for cheesy pop from a young age. I needed to keep this on track, I could smell the future BRIT awards. “My first CD was Tragedy,” I boasted. That was it. Lisa span round in her chair and even smiled. I was in. Well, nearly. The PR decided my time was up and yanked me from my seat and from my future as a popstar. It would seem my relationship with Steps always ends in disappointment, let’s hope they stay together until the end of this tour at least.
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