In late 2010, a group of young Irish and British lads were sadly consigned to third place in the seventh series of The X Factor. Placed behind Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson, Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis - aka One Direction - could have been forgiven for thinking that they had missed their chance.
But the show's Master of Keys, brick-headed Svengali Simon Cowell, saw more than a third-placed also-ran. What he saw was the perfect recipe for an assault on the Justin Bieber-mad teen market, breaking into which has been a long-held ambition of his. With their youthful enthusiasm, identikit Bieber styling and with their parents evidently happy for them to stay out late and meet girls, One Direction were quickly signed-up to Syco.
A credit on the X Factor No 1 single, 'Heroes', and the X Factor Live tour later, the likeable quintet were soon toasting (with Tizer) a No 1 single of their own, 'What Makes You Beautiful'. It is testament to the success of The X Factor that, incredibly, after just one single and with no album release date confirmed, One Direction are embarking on a 20-plus date UK and Ireland tour that takes in some of these islands' biggest venues, including a handful of arenas.
The tour kicks off in Wolverhampton on 21st December, followed quickly by Manchester Apollo dates (23rd and 24th) before a Christmas break so the boys can go home to mum for their favourite - pigs in blankets and finding a tooth-splitting 20p in the Xmas pud.
A stone heavier and no doubt sporting a knitted present from nana, One Direction will be playing the Bournemouth on 3rd January, followed by Birmingham, Plymouth, Nottingham, Brighton, the Hammersmith Apollo, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Blackpool, Sheffield and Cardiff, before another Hammersmith date on 22nd January 2012.
After that, the boys head across the Irish Sea to play the Dublin O2 on 24th January, followed by two shows at Belfast Waterfront on 25th and 26th. And all before Harry turns 18 (on 1st February, if you sending a card/pair of knickers).
One Direction are also playing three matinee shows; at the Manchester Apollo (23rd December), Nottingham (7th January) and in Glasgow (14th January). These dates have both afternoon and evening performances.
For all performances, be sure to check the policy on unaccompanied under-16s - generally all under-16s will need to have an adult with their group but this can vary dependent on venue.
We will have tickets available for all dates when they go on sale at 10AM on Saturday 1st October, priced around £30 or 35.
Well, it didn't take long for the entire One Direction tour to sell out. Seconds in some cases, minutes in others, causing ticket-server mayhem! We'll keep you posted if any more dates are added.
The boys have now added two extra dates to the start of their UK tour, meaning it now kicks-off on 18th December in Watford, with the other new date being in Southend the following night. Tickets will cost £27 and go on sale Saturday 8th October at 10AM.
Expect another road-block for tickets, but please be patient!
It will come as no big surprise to learn that tickets for the new One Direction dates have also been snapped-up in a short while...