Luton lad has surprise of lifetime as Take That rescue fans from ‘broken down’ bus

Take That and the lucky fans. Credit: ITV
Take That and the lucky fans. Credit: ITV

A Luton lad and his friend had the time of their lives when they won a competition to sing on a Take That fan bus - and were surprised by Gary, Howard and Mark from the band!

Harry Whittaker, 23, and his pal Charlie Cooper, 21, applied to ITV for the opportunity to be filmed singing with 26 other fans on a tour bus to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary tour.

Howard, Charlie, Gary, Harry and Mark. Credit: ITV.

Howard, Charlie, Gary, Harry and Mark. Credit: ITV.

However, in April, during their weekend of filming in Yorkshire, the bus suddenly pulled into the Rotherham United Stadium Car Park as if there was a problem the vehicle. But then, something unbelievable happened...

Harry said: “We were told to stand outside and to our surprise, eight Suzuki cars came hurtling towards us.

“There was a film crew and from the three front cars out stepped Gary, Howard and Mark. All the ladies ran towards them - one fell over - and me and Charlie stood in sheer disbelief.

“I eventually got to hug Mark Owen who is my favourite. Mark said he liked my Take That t-Shirt and I told him that I got it from eBay and he said ‘I got this demin jacket from eBay!’ It was good to have that connection and joke, and for them to give up their time for us was really nice.”

Take That and the rescue Suzukis. Credit: Suzuki.

Take That and the rescue Suzukis. Credit: Suzuki.

It turned out that their real-life surprise scene was part of a Suzuki advert for ITV which featured the band, called ‘Suzuki Saves the Day’.

The lads and the other stunned fans then enjoyed Take That’s Sheffield concert for free, and the lady who had fallen over - who had also prebooked tickets before winning - gave the pair her extra seats at the front because they had been so nice.

Harry said: “The whole experience was one of the best of our lives and we are now Take That fans for life.

“We went to see the concert again at the O2 in May, and when the advert came on Charlie and I stood up and waved.

“When the adverts were played on Britain’s Got Talent we also got bombarded with messages with friends and family who thought they saw us on the TV!”

Tammy Charnley, general manager of marketing for the automobile division, Suzuki, said: “This was our biggest Take That surprise yet – and the fans were screaming with excitement when the band showed up to rescue them! It was an amazing moment to connect some of Take That’s biggest superfans with the people who inspire them, and the three singers clearly loved every moment too.”

Harry added: “Every time we see the adverts we are reminded of our amazing experience together.

“Charlie and I and our fellow fan bus fans still can’t believe what happened; it still feels so surreal. We still message each other every day and we are planning a meet up for the next concert but nothing will ever beat our ‘greatest day’ where we got to meet Take That!”

Having finished a degree at the University of Bedfordshire, Harry is now hoping to pursue a career in acting, while in September Charlie will be studying to become a PE teacher.

You can see Harry perform in Mindotaur at the Bedford Festival Fringe at the Quarry Studio Theatre on July 24, 6.30pm - 7pm, and July 25, 4.30pm - 5pm.

Mindotaur is a 30 minute theatre piece devised by Subversion Theatre company (Harry Whittaker, Charmaine Zinyemba and Dan James Frank).

Harry said: “A young, black woman with the head of a bull, roams her labyrinth. Across the sea a warrior sets sail with just one goal. Backstage, the lecturer waits to deliver his thoughts. And the other guy just wants to tell a story...”

Tickets £5 each. Visit https://bedfringe.com/events/ to book!