Take That relight the fire for band's last big pay day

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The Independent Online

The ex-members of Take That may have featured last week in a documentary entitled The Final Report about their six years at the top of the UK's pop scene, but it was not so final after all, it turned out yesterday. Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Howard Donald announced that, a decade after they split, they are reuniting to go on tour in April and May next year.

Following the news that Robbie Williams had entered the Guinness Book of Records by selling 1.6 million tickets for his 2006 world tour in just one day, his former band-mates admitted they were reforming for the money. The four will pocket a reported £1.5m apiece from the 11-date reunion tour, which will take in some of the UK's biggest stadiums including Wembley Arena, Birmingham NEC and Glasgow's SECC, and is being staged by Simon Moran of SJM Concerts.

Barlow, who wrote the majority of Take That's songs, made about £15m from the group, while the others earned a more modest £4m. No 1 hits included "Pray", "Relight My Fire", "Sure" and "Back For Good".

Orange confessed: "Money is an important factor. It's a consideration." But Barlow was cagier. "There's a lot of money involved, but usually, by the end of the tour, we've spent so much, we owe money," he said.

If the band is to be believed, the decision to reform was genuinely a last-minute one, based on the success of their current greatest hits album. Owen said: "It's something that we'd talked about a little bit during the week we were doing the promotions for the album. We've kind of been up and down over the last two weeks. We're not getting any younger. If we don't do it now, we probably never could. It's now or never for."

The last time the band played a British stage was in April 1995 - a month after Williams left the group.

Orange, who has recently spoken to the missing Take That member, said Williams had "given us his blessing". He added: "He's in a place where he's comfortable with himself, with his own career. I'd imagine he might have mixed feelings - delight for us, but he might be a bit wistful as well." Not to mention the fact they couldn't afford him. Barlow, with whom Williams famously feuded, said the band "would definitely have loved" him to join them on tour.

Filthy lucre aside, there was no shortage of sentiment among the four, who no longer look so boyish. Owen has promised to cut down on the fags if they are to reprise the energetic dance routines for their stage shows. Barlow, married with a daughter and living in Cheshire, admitted he had a stone to lose before they go on tour.

Once famous for being surrounded by crowds of groupies, Donald said he was more interested these days in looking after his two children, while Owen joked they had booked a crêche for the tour. Only Orange admitted: "I think you're always tempted aren't you."