Take That TV fans! Gary Barlow is getting serious after X Factor

The joking and cutting X Factor comments have been exhausted by the Take That frontman, now he wants to be taken seriously on TV, says Mark Jefferies


On Sunday night Gary Barlow held a party to mark the end of The X Factor in central London.


But as friends, bandmates and colleagues toasted each other, talk turned to the future.

Gary announced at the start of the live shows he would not return to The X Factor in 2014, But an example of what the Take That star will be doing on screen from now on will be seen on ITV next week.

Journey to Afghanistan was two years in the planning and sees Gary spend 48 hours in Camp Bastion. Security requirements meant a planned crew of 65 turned into 12 people allowed to fly out, but despite the brief stay, the documentary is well made and has tear jerking moments, especially when Gary sings Michael Buble hit ‘Home’ and soldiers hold up messages to their loved ones on screen.

Gary puts together a band containing soldiers to perform a concert and this light project and his personal touch on a subject like Afghanistan also ensures more viewers will watch than if a news correspondent went to Camp Bastion for a normal documentary.

The film follows on from BBC doc On Her Majesty’s Service last year. Asked if this is something he wanted to do more of, Gary told me: “I loved making Her Majesty’s Service. Up until this point it was the best thing I have ever done. It was such a lot of fun.

“This was like repeating that, I really enjoyed it and I think I was better at it this time because I knew what to expect.

“So I would love to do more TV like this. I’ll do anything as long as it’s music related.

“This show was about putting a band together in camp bastion. It’s never been done before, I wanted to do something no one else had done.

“But definitely this documentary style with the music element, that’s something I’d love to do.”

Ben Winston, the brains behind the hit One Direction film, was on hand to help with the edit of the Afghanistan film and at his party on Sunday. And as a friend of Gary, Ben will be in charge or involved in future TV projects like his New Year’s Eve gig and other docs next year.

A Take That album might be the priority for 2014, but Gary also has the BBC and ITV fighting for his new TV projects and a career making serious documentaries with a musical input is guaranteed.

Just don’t expect too many jokes or silly put downs, Gary’s new TV target seems to be to entertain and educate.

Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at the Daily Mirror