Greatest Days is showing in cinemas from Friday 16th June, with a special premiere screening on Thursday 15th June.
The boy band has been central to music and popular culture since the Barbershop Quartets of the 1800s. Since then, each new generation has had a boy band to fall head over heels in love with, from The Beatles to The Jacksons, New Kids on the Block and Duran Duran. However, if, like me, you came of age in the early 90s, only one boyband truly made hearts flutter; Take That. As a closeted gay kid, Take That were my secret obsession. I discovered my truth through Take That; I was 100% gay. Those memories have stayed with me, and the power of memory and teenage discovery sits at the heart of Tim Firth, Take That and director Coky Giedroyc’s sublime adaptation of the 2017 stage show The Band, now titled Greatest Days. Like the stage musical before it, Greatest Days reminds us to never forget where we’ve come from and the people who helped shape our journey along the way.
A million love songs make up our youth; some are about our secret crushes, while others are about the pop groups and the big-screen idols we dreamt of meeting. But most are about the friends who stood by our side and protected us from the turmoil of teenage life. However, as we grow, we often lose touch with these friends as life pulls us in new and unforeseen directions. Rachel (Aisling Bea) hasn’t seen her childhood friends in twenty-five years. But when she wins tickets for a reunion tour of the boyband they loved in their teens, an opportunity arises to reconnect with Claire (Jayde Adams), Zoe (Amaka Okafor), and Heather (Alice Lowe). But as they reminisce under the sun of Athen’s streets, it’s not long before they must face the real reason they separated so long ago.
Over two timelines, Greatest Days explores Claire, Zoe, Heather, and Rachel’s youth alongside their adult reunion. In their teens, each girl’s imagination brings to life the untouchable princes of pop they idolise as they walk the streets of Clitheroe, Lancashire. But ‘the boys’ are far more than a teen crush; they are an escape mechanism and support structure that allows each girl to grow and develop despite the challenges around them. Meanwhile, their adult reunion provides space to rediscover each other in the present as they learn that while everything changes, some things stay the same. Giedroyc seamlessly laces the past and the present together through music, dance and exquisite performances from a truly stunning ensemble cast. The result is a beautiful, heartwarming celebration of friendship, love, and music that maintains the mighty emotional punch of the stage show.
As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Take That’s first UK number one, Pray, and a video that led me to fall head over heels in love with Mark Owen as he writhed around on a beach in linen, Greatest Days is a testament to the lasting legacy of Take That’s music. But while the songs of Take That may flow through its veins, at its heart, Frith and Giedroyc’s film is a joyous celebration of friendship, love and healing as four women reunite in Athens and rediscover what makes them whole. Could it be magic? You bet it is!
While the songs of Take That may flow through its veins, at its heart, Frith and Giedroyc’s film is a joyous celebration of friendship, love and healing as four women reunite in Athens and rediscover themselves and each other.