Steps, who were once the ‘greatest’ dance group in the world, shattered our hopes and dreams when they famously split… have now returned and thankfully Sky Living have decided to document their journey back to ‘stardom’ on our televisions. What a relief to us all that is.
Yes, Sky Living, the channel that has brought us TV Gold such as ‘Signed by Katie Price’, has now delivered us ‘Steps: On the Road Again’, which follows the lives of the newly reformed cheesy pop group that we’d all hoped we would never see or hear from again. Some how they have managed to get themselves a sellout arena tour of our fair isles, much to the delight of middle aged women and gay blokes everywhere. It’s been ten years since they last performed or mimed and they’ve all changed quite a bit, especially Claire Richards who looks like she’s spent the last ten years sat eating mayonnaise from a tub with a wooden spoon. So what have they being doing since they split; not sure and I don’t care, but don’t worry, their T.V. programme explains all…
The show focuses heavily on the fact that the band split up because they had a lot problems, mainly due to Claire’s addiction to pastry products. It’s almost like the whole programme has been set up just to try and find out the reason why they split in the first place like some sick reality TV show. Maybe that’s just what this is. In addition to this, in the first episode the group are trying to organise the tour without much luck because none of them seem able to make a decision. Watching all of them together is a bit cringe worthy at times, like when you watch ‘The Apprentice’ and the contestants egos clash constantly creating issues. Especially Faye and Lisa who are both control freaks, unlike Lee who is the most passive person in the world; he hardly says or contributes anything probably because he’s still depressed over joining Steps instead of joining Manchester United. At points I felt bad for the production team, especially when Lisa couldn’t be arsed flying back for an important meeting in London from Dubai and opts for a Skype call, only for her bloody irritating kids to constantly interrupt the call.
My own particular highlight from this first episode would have to be the dance auditions, which was by far one of the most surreal things I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness. About 200 ‘people’ turn up to the auditions, most of whom were Steps fans with the group only looking to take 10 dancers on the tour. I felt bad for the people who could actually dance well and were just doing this because it’s a well paid job unlike some of the fucking oddballs auditioning. The best one was this girl who looked like she works in a Fish & Chip shop who hadn’t read the minimum height requirements and was too short. She subsequently broke down in tears telling us how much she loved Steps and was allowed to dance, only to then look like she had been practicing in her bedroom mirror by herself for the last 10 years, thinking she was in a shit dance movie like ‘Step Up 2 in 3D’. She didn’t make it sadly; as consolation they gave her a ticket to Alton Towers, only to discover she was too short to go on most of the rides.
There is a sense of tension and drama constantly being hyped up throughout the show which is equally pathetic and hilarious. Whenever there is an issue or a problem within the group, the soundtrack from the Dark Knight Rises starts to play and we cut to a one-on-one chat with the band member who is most affected saying ‘I’m just not sure what I’m doing’ or ‘ I just miss my family’. To add to that, we have Jamie Theakston narrating, talking as if he’s describing the events that lead up to the start of the first World War instead of the behavior of aging musicians. I mean, it must be fucking awful getting paid millions of pounds to dance and sing with people you don’t like. They could have just sold Claire’s excess body fat instead to make soap like in Fight Club.
It’s one of those shows you watch for one of two reasons; you either like Steps or you just like to laugh at shit TV shows. I liked this show because it’s terrible like most shows on Sky Living. I don’t actually mind some of the members of Steps, Claire being by far the best thing about the show. The producers focus so much on her weight problem even though she is probably the most talented singer in the group. She doesn’t really care that she is fat, we live in a world where celebrities are constantly being scrutinised over their looks and it’s nice to see someone who couldn’t care. She has this one great line in the show that summed her up for me; ‘Some people like to run on a treadmill, I like to eat a pizza’. To me the worst thing about this show is just how badly produced it is and how it focuses on the potential of the group splitting up and how it almost wants it to happen. The stupid thing is that you know they actually tour and they must have all signed contracts so they are now obliged to honour them or they’ll end up in court. There isn’t any actual true sense of any jeopardy – lame.
Unfortunately we may not have seen the last of this sort of toss. It’s only a matter of time before more mediocre bands from the last 15 years try to reform to tap into this market of middle aged women who seek musical nostalgia to make themselves feel younger. Take That for example are the proof this is a multi-million pound industry; can teenagers afford to pay £50 upwards for a ticket to see their favorite bands? No. So lets all look forward to reuniting of S Club 7, Liberty x, Hear Say, Boyzone and fuck knows who else, lets just hope Sky Living spares us by making more documentaries.