Hit series The Big Reunion exploded onto our TV screens at the beginning of this year, winning critical acclaim and sparking a tour that sold out some of the biggest venues in the country… now it’s back with a brand new set of pop stars all hoping to relive the dream.
From BRITS to brawls, awards to arrests, platinum discs to debts, these acts dominated the UK pop agenda from the mid nineties, selling millions of singles and albums, collectively achieving 57 top ten hits and nine number 1’s. For some, it’s another chance for success, for others it may open old wounds as they prepare to face demons they thought they had buried forever.
The Big Reunion 2014 features exclusive and explosive accounts from former pop heroes, with revelations about drugs, fisticuffs, rows, bulimia, shattered dreams and how the music industry can leave even apparently successful stars penniless.
Eternal (Easther Bennett, Vernette Bennett, Kelle Bryan) It’s like going through a divorce. Sometimes you speak to your partners, sometimes you don’t.” Easther Bennett.
The series reveals what happens when the dream goes wrong, following Eternal, the first girl group to have an album sell over one million copies in the UK, as they try to work through the issues that caused the group to be dogged by rumours of in-band spats in the nineties. Talking about former band mate Kelli and their subsequent split, Vernette Bennett says, “We have a band member who doesn’t want to be there. What do you do with that?” Whilst Kelli adds, “We never communicated. It festered into something very ugly.”
A1 (Ben Adams, Christian Ingebrigtsen, Mark Read) “I really wanted to jump from that balcony, I’d hit rock bottom” Christian Ingebrigsten.
The nineties pop band sold out arenas around the world and won Best British Newcomer at the BRIT Awards, but struggled to come to terms with a tragic accident where four fans were fatally crushed at a signing eventually caused the band to split.
Management fallouts and crippling debt resulted in a bitter break up for R&B act, Damage (Jade Jones, Andrez Harriott, Rahsaan J Bromfield, Noel Simpson, Coree Richards).
Jade Jones confesses, “Lots of things were swept under the carpet.” Bandmate Andrez Harriott explains the bands downfall, “Drugs came in, that’s when it went wrong.” Whilst Rahsaan J Bromfield admits he never wanted to see his school friends again, “You could see the punches being thrown left right and centre. (I said to the band) Don’t call me I don’t want anything to do with you again.”
3T (Taj, TJ, Tayll Jackson) “We have to work double hard to prove that we're talented in our own right." Taj.
Born into music royalty, the Jacksons 3T should have reached stratospheric heights, instead the brothers careers followed a rocky path as they were continually caught up in the controversy that dogged their family members. The band regularly moved labels as the music industry distanced themselves from the notorious Jackson family.
This series also takes a look below the surface and reveals insights into how ruthless the music industry can be.
Girl Thing were promised a career as big as the Spice Girls, but after having the Eifel Tower hired out for their launch as part of a million pound promotional campaign, Simon Cowell has since said the band was his biggest mistake.
After their first single failed to reach the top spot, things began to quickly unravel for the band. Their third single Pure and Simple was taken from them and given to Hear’Say. Going on to be the fastest selling single in the UK. The band claim to have co-written it and that their backing vocals are still on the record. Anika Bostelaar “Everything around us was a rip off of the Spice Girls.” Linzi Nartin adds, “There was rows, catfights, the lot.” Whilst Jodi Albert confesses, “This reunion for Girl Thing could be wonderful or it could be a nightmare.”
The Big Reunion will reveal their unique story, with the concert potentially offering them the chance they never quite had the first time around.
Finally, in a new twist, series two will see a brand new super-group formed from solo artists Gareth Gates, Adam Rickitt and Kavana, along with Another Level’s Dane Bowers and Blazin’ Squad’s Kenzie. For some, it will be their first experience of being in a pop band, for others it’s an opportunity to try a completely different style of pop music.
The series will follow the band, now called 5th Story, as they adjust to being part of a completely new ensemble; each offering revealing insights into the difficulties that fame threw at them – will this be the start of something special, or will new inter-band rivalries flare up before they’ve even begun?
Revelations include Adam Rickitt’s candid memories of his depression and bulimia, saying: “I used to make myself sick up to 20 times a day.” Gareth Gates talks about his relationship with Jordan and reveals his biggest regret, “This picture was painted of this angelic choir boy, I don’t quite live up to that.” Dane Bowers reveals how his life was affected by allegations of sexual assault, Kavana reveals how drugs affected his career and how he currently lives out of a suitcase, “I would go for it, it would go into (drug) binges and it wasn’t pretty.” Whilst Kenzie reveals that after being number one in the charts on Sunday, he was back in school on the Monday.
Will this be The Big Reunion all the bands are hoping for?
Notes to editors:
This year’s cast include:
Eternal (Easther Bennett, Vernette Bennett, Kelle Bryan) were one of the biggest girl bands in the nineties and dominated the charts with a host of top ten singles and three top ten albums. ‘Power of a Woman’ and ‘I Wanna Be The Only One’ became anthems of the nineties but the girls were dogged by rumours of in-band spats, two members left leaving sisters Easther and Vernette to carry on until dropped by their label in 2000.
A1 (Ben Adams, Christain Ingebrigtsen, Mark Read) were formed in 1998 and were soon selling out arenas around the world and winning a BRIT award for Best British Newcomers but a fatal accident involving fans at one of their concerts was the catalyst to their split.
Damage (Jade Jones, Andrez Harriott, Rahsaan J Bromfield, Noel Simpson, Coree Richards). A blend of catchy pop songs mixed with R&B set this band apart from the traditional boybands. The success of their debut album and a high profile relationship with a Spice Girl saw them become household names but management fallouts and crippling debt left a bitter taste for these former pin ups.
Girl Thing (Jodi Albert, Linzi Martin, Anika Bostekaar, Michelle Barber, Nikki Stuart) were destined for big things. Signed by Simon Cowell they embarked on a mammoth promotional tour which saw them grace the covers of national magazines and interviewed on every TV talk show, but after just two singles they were unceremoniously dropped and saw their supposed third single ‘Pure and Simple’ head into the record books with another band.
3T (Taj, TJ, Tayll Jackson) come from a music dynasty and just like their famous father, uncles and aunty, they began performing at young ages but the path to fame has come at a price for the three brothers. The platinum-selling artists had to deal with personal tragedies, whilst their careers suffered as their family members were plagued by allegations and negative news stories.
5th Story (Gareth Gates, Dane Bowers, Adam Rickitt, Kavana, Kenzie) have achieved global success as solo artists or members of other groups. Combined they have had 27 top ten hits including five number ones, have won, Mobo, Smash Hits and MTV awards and performed sell out concerts around the world.
The Big Reunion 2014 was ordered for ITV2 by Angela Jain, Director of Digital Channels and Acquisitions and commissioned by Katy Thorogood, Commissioner of Factual. Executive producers are Michael Kelpie and Phil Mount, ITV Studios, Series producer is Kevin Lane, ITV Studios.