The “world’s greatest Take That tribute band” stormed into London last night (26 November 2007) to launch the West End transfer and DVD of Never Forget. The new stage musical based on the Nineties supergroup’s greatest hits opens on 21 May 2008 (previews from 7 May) at the West End’s Savoy Theatre. The DVD from Universal - filmed live at the Opera House in Take That’s home city of Manchester, where the musical had a sell-out season this past August – is released this month.

The musical - which has an original book written by TV’s Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless, Clocking Off), Guy Jones and Ed Curtis, who also directs - centres on the members of the unlikeliest Take That tribute band and follows the rollercoaster journey of young hero Ash and his best mates in the pursuit of their dreams. Along the way each of them discovers that pretending to be someone else can sometimes help you find out who you really are. The show includes Take That chart-toppers including “Relight My Fire”, “Pray”, “Back for Good”, “Babe” and the title number “Never Forget”.

At last night’s launch event, held at nightclub 24 in Soho, the musical’s tribute band - Dean Chisnall (as Ash), Stephane Anelli, Tim Driesen and Eaton James (minus Craig Els, who was absent preparing for panto season) – accompanied by leading lady Sophia Ragavelas and a children’s choir performed numbers from the show and a short excerpt from the DVD was shown.


For Photos, our photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the launch party along with the company, industry invitees and other guests including Coronation Street’s Sally Lindsay , Strictly Come Dancing’s Lilia Kopylova, Grease leading lady Susan McFadden, DJ Paul King and Nigel Martin Smith, the Manchester-based band manager who originally found and assembled the members of Take That - Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Robbie Williams – in the early 1990s.

Take That dominated the UK pop charts with their dance tunes and soulful ballads, selling 15 million records between 1990 and their split in 1996. After a TV documentary in 1995 and the release of a greatest hits album, four of the original band members (Robbie Williams being the one exception) reunited for last summer’s Ultimate Tour. The band released its first studio album in more than a decade - Beautiful World - in November 2006, and their single, "Shine", topped the charts, going straight to Number One when it was released earlier this year.

Never Forget received its world premiere in July 2007 at Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre before touring to Glasgow, Manchester, Stoke and Edinburgh, where its 2007 tour concluded on 22 September. It will embark on another short tour in the new year prior to the West End. The production is directed by Ed Curtis, designed by Christopher Woods and choreographed by Karen Bruce, with Mike Dixon as musical supervisor.

- by Terri Paddock