There were tears, tantrums and a build-up to a climactic gig that felt like it lasted longer than the careers of half of the acts involved, but last night The Big Reunion finally came to an end with a glorious 90 minute special featuring highlights from their London show.
There was of course the obligatory high drama – 90% of which was provided by Michelle Heaton spectacularly overreacting to a barely noticeable stage slip — but on the whole it was actually rather lovely.
It would have been very easy for this series to encourage us to laugh at the faded dreams of second-tier acts like 911 and The Honeyz, but instead it allowed us to see what fleeting fame had cost these people, and how difficult it had been for them to adapt when it was all snatched away. A closing shot of The Honeyz clinging tearfully to each other after a triumphant performance of 'Finally Found' was an unexpected lump-in-throat moment.
Even the characters you expected to view as villains – Heaton, Kerry Katona, Sean from Five — were presented as fully-rounded human beings rather than caricatures. When Katona joined the show despite having left Atomic Kitten after just four singles, I expected it to be nothing more than another half-hearted brand extension for her seemingly endless low-rent reality TV career, but reuniting with her pop sisters and actually having a tangible goal to work towards seemed to give her a sense of purpose, and as the weeks went on she emerged as one of the most sympathetic figures on the show.
So now they get to go off on an arena tour and live the dream for a little bit longer.
As the show was a big hit, a sequel seems inevitable, so I’ll close with some suggestions for the one-time stars I’d like to find myself writing about this time next year:
Like the time his wife’s band did a duet with Mathew Marsden out of Corrie, Jay Z probably doesn’t talk about – or even remember – the time he made a record with Dane Bowers and chums. But it happened, readers, it happened. Also 'Freak Me' was a bit of a tune.
S Club 7
Huge in the 90s, unjustly forgotten now. Get Louise Redknapp back into the fold; force them all to talk about the time the Bennett sisters dumped Celebrity Love Island star Kelle Bryan by fax (fax!) and you’ve got yourself a show.
Like Blue they never technically split up, and in fact they’re still big in Norway where Ben Adams was recently a contestant on their version of Dancing With The Stars. But with 'Caught In The Middle' they proved it was possible for boybands to 'go a bit serious' without becoming unspeakably dreadful. For that alone — and 'Be The First To Believe', which was incredible — they deserve another shot.
Amazing songs, obviously. But even if 'Pure Shores', 'Black Coffee' and 'Never Ever' weren’t solid gold 11/10 pop moments, the round-table confrontation scenes between this lot would make Five’s infighting look about as dramatic as an episode of Chasing The Saturdays.
Because I can never hear the story about Brian Harvey accidentally running himself over after a baked potato binge too many times.
I leave you with a reminder that this happened.