The man who created Steps has spoken of his delight at the band reforming and his regret at letting them go.

Steve Crosby from Tadworth, was running line dancing classes at Bourne Hall, Ewell, with wife Ruth in 1997 and came up with the idea of creating a band which could take line dancing into the pop charts.

He held two auditions there and selected the lucky five youngsters - Lee Latchford Evans, a student at the Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom, Ian ‘H’ Watkins, Faye Tozer, Lisa Scott-Lee and Claire Richards.

Mr Crosby co-wrote their first hit, 5,6,7,8, while his wife was the band’s choreographer and came up with the band's name, Steps.

Speaking after the newly reformed band shot to the top of the album charts last month with their second greatest hits, The Ultimate Collection, Mr Crosby said: “I had a very successful line dancing business and we used to run events all over the country, including two events at Bourne Hall.

“It was a natural progression for me.”

“Everyone told me I was foolish to have a mixed gender band and I was encouraged to make it a boy band but I didn’t see the sense in that so I went forward and put an ad in The Stage newspaper.”

He added: “They were all delightful and all very excited to be embarking on a career in pop music.”

After the success of the band’s first single, 5,6,7,8,which reached number 14 in the charts, Mr Crosby said he felt he was getting out of his depth and stepped down as their manager.

He said: "Much to my regret I felt at the time that although I have a lot of experience in the entertainment industry and I had managed teams of people for a long time I didn’t feel I had enough experience in the record industry itself so approached a man called Tim Byrne to get involved."

Shortly afterwards renowned record producer Pete Waterman’s snapped up the band and they went on to stardom before splitting up in 2001. Mr Crosby said: “Pete, to his credit understood it all straight away and realised it was the perfect opportunity to get recognised with 5,6,7,8 and then move them into general pop.”

Now they are back together Mr Crosby said: “I think beyond anything else it proves how much people cared about the band and how much people care about quality pop music.

“People have very warm memories of Steps.

“If they get it right and stay true to what people embraced them for in the first place then I see no reason why they can’t have another few years of success ahead of them.”

Mr Crosby has gone on to co-create a new children’s pop musical, The Go! Go! Go! show which has been running at Alton Towers all summer.

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