North and South – where the are boyband now, from chart topping to teaching

North and South rose to fame in the nineties after starring on BBC children’s show No Sweat – which raked in 2.5 million viewers every week. But the band wasn’t to last forever

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North and Sound: Boy band star in 1997 CBBC series No Sweat

North and South were a hit in the 90s but after their split, the boyband members have gone on to lead very different lives.

While two of the gang stayed working in within the music industry, one went on to embark on a very different career and swapped stages for the school gates.

The band’s career was described as “short and rancorous”, but they made waves in the Brit Pop era.

But in an interview with the Guardian in 2001, James Hurst who played guitar and sang for the band revealed the darker side of fame: “I was 16 when I moved to London from Norfolk, and I’m a vegetarian so cooking for myself was difficult, so I got really ill at one point.

The boyband made it big after they starred on CBBC show No Sweat

Sam Chapman is a teacher and the founder of the Lincolnshire Music Network

“I was seven stone two. I’d wake up at five in the morning, ritually be sick, get dressed and go out to make our TV show.

” I wouldn’t have any breakfast because I couldn’t eat anything. It was a direct result of being too young and being in the wrong place.

James added: “I think half the problem is that most of these bands now are very young. Billie Piper was 15 when she started. That’s too young to be working as a professional entertainer, in my opinion.”

Lee Otter changed his surname to West and still works as a musician

The band were formed by Tom Watkins, who was the former manager of East 17, best known for their Christmas hit Stay Another Day.

James now runs River Rat Records, an “ethical record label”.

Sam, who played the keyboard in the band has changed his life dramatically since he was in the band and now teaches music at a college in Lincolnshire.

Tom played keyboard for the 90s band

Tom Lowe who played keyboard, saxophone and vocals went on to host Real Life: The Musical, which was shown on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Lee Otter who was the lead vocalist changed his surname to West and continues to work as a musician.

They first stepped on the scene in 1997 as the stars of BBC’s new comedy drama titled No Sweat.

The nine part run was set in Brighton and focused on the boys playing fictitious versions of themselves.

James Hurst (third from left) set up River Rat Records

The storyline was that they were a group of teenagers from rival schools who all got together to form the band North and South.

The show was peppered with hilarious mishaps along the way as the boys found stardom.

Their debut single I’m a Man (Not a Boy) soared to number seven in the charts and their TV show had 2.5million viewers every Thursday.

But the boys felt that they had little creative control and kicked up a fuss.

Keeping his foot in the music industry Tom Lowe owns a record label now

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“We didn’t have any say in anything we did, so all we did was moan about it every day,” says James.

“Then you get perceived as a bunch of kids who don’t know what’s good for them, so enthusiasm for the band diminishes. Nobody wants to invest in a band that isn’t making any money and doesn’t want to do it either.”

After a drop in viewers and record sales, the band split after their very short stint in the limelight.

The RCA, BBC and Initial Television spent a whopping £1.5million on the band before they split.

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