Meet the classic boys next door

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Blake are handsome, posh, love the Queen and are on their way to sing in Lancashire

With their trademark harmonies and chiselled good looks, British classical boy band Blake have won fans all over the world.

If that’s not enough, one of the singers, Ollie Baines, is pals with Prince William and Kate.

“The Queen gives you a few butterflies when you know she’s out there,” said bass baritone singer Stephen Bowman, who has performed in front of the monarch at Buckingham Palace.

“We’ve played in 33 countries, have done 150 television shows and 700 concerts, but the most daunting show was when we sang at Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

“The Queen and Prince Philip were there for the opening, and it was such a prestigious, quintessentially English occasion.

“I remember whispering: ‘Don’t mess this up boys.’”

The band, who named themselves after the poet William Blake, teamed up on Facebook eight years ago.

Just two days later, they signed a £1m record deal.

“One day we were performing at a friend’s wedding – a fortnight later we were giving our jobs up.

“I worked for a computer company, and it seemed like a massive gamble.

“But joining Blake completely changed my life.”

The group has sold more than a million records, bridging the gap between pop and opera.

And followers of the number one band include an army of middle-aged women old enough to be their mothers, The Blakettes.

The band, who will sing songs from their new album and classic numbers when they make their first appearance in the Ribble Valley this month, can also count many female stars among their fans, including Cilla Black, Joan Collins and Lady Ga Ga.

They were also asked to sing at Dame Shirley Bassey’s 70th birthday party.

“It always gives us a kick to think that people our parents adored are saying how much they enjoy our music,” added Stephen.

But if Blake sound a bit too wholesome to be true, the singer is adamant the boys are more rock and roll than their squeaky-clean image suggests.

“We’re billed as a classical band, but we’re the hardest partying band out there.

“Some people assume that because we are classically trained we are a bit po-faced, but we love a party and having fun with our audience.

“We don’t script any of the shows, it is all ad-lib and people seem to really enjoy that.”

The band was a four-piece until founding member Jules Knight left in 2013 to join the cast of Holby City as new doctor Harry Tressler.

Despite the line-up changes, Bowman insists the secret to Blake’s success is the comradeship of the group.

“The thing people most enjoy about our shows, I think, is the fact we are great friends and that vibe on stage sparks off a great interaction with our audience.”

Blake, Clitheroe Grand Theatre, January 23. £20. 01200 421599.