Daniel Hill (voiceover)
Davina McCall (live final episode)
LWT for ITV, 10 January to 18 March 2001 (13 episodes in 1 series)
Did Popstars set in train the influx of talent shows that have arisen in the last few years? This show was picked up by LWT supremo Nigel Lythgoe after he saw its success in Australia, which - if memory serves - his son had something to do with.
The series was divided into two parts. The first part was the true talent show part, as judges Paul Adam, Nicki Chapman and "Nasty Nigel" Lythgoe - as he became quickly known - went around the UK searching for hopeful young singers to make up a band of five. From thousands of hopefuls - some very good, some plain useless - they narrowed it down to ten, namely Kym Marsh, Michelle Heaton, Myleene Klass, Kelli Young, Jessica Taylor, Suzanne Shaw, Danny Foster, Tony Lundon, Kevin Simm and Noel Sullivan. From these ten, Kym, Myleene, Suzanne, Danny and Noel were chosen to form the band that would become known as Hear'Say.
The second part of the series was rather more documentary than talent show. Having been put together, the members of the new band settled in a Secret Location and got down to the task of learning to sing together, up to the point where they recorded and released their own song.
Along the way there were moments of drama, including where it was revealed that Kym was already a mother-of-two, and also a moment of controversy when the band mimed the Simon and Garfunkel hit "Bridge Over Troubled Water" during their first TV gig, leading to fierce criticism from the tabloids. Eventually, they succeeded in recording "Pure 'n' Simple" which, perhaps predictably, went straight in at the top of the UK charts.
Such was the success of this show that soon enough ITV brought out a sequel, Popstars: The Rivals, while the Australian version was shown on ITV2. Then the dam burst and out came Pop Idol, Fame Academy, The X Factor etc. etc.
But Popstars had some elements to it that makes it unique from other talent shows. Its grammar has been repackaged many times to make squillions for Simon Cowell, Simon Fuller and anyone else who's been out with Emma Bunton, but Popstars was the original and - some say - the best.
Darius Danesh's performance of Hit Me Baby One More Time.
Based on a New Zealand format where a five-member all girl group called TrueBliss were formed.
Bizarrely, the public turned on Hear'say and the five runners-up formed a rival band called Liberty (later renamed Liberty X after a dispute with another band): Kevin Simm, Tony Lundon, Michelle Heaton, Jessica Taylor, Kelli Young.
Before the name Hear'Say was announced, it was widely reported that the group would be named Inner Spin.
The series climaxed in a live Sunday night special from the band's house where the group's debut chart success was announced.