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Pete Waterman Recruits Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Steps, Bananarama And Rick Astley For PWL Reunion Concert

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Kylie Minogue looks set to make Pete Waterman's dream come true, it seems, with confirmation that she will take to the stage on Friday to join Jason Donovan in a duet they haven't performed together since 1989.

23 years later, these are jut two of the stars due on stage this Friday evening at London's O2 Arena, for the festive-themed Hit Factory Live concert. The 25th anniversary of PWL, the machine behind the sound that dominated the charts for much of the 80s, was originally scheduled for the summer, but had to be cancelled because of all the mud in Hyde Park - strange but true.

Below, Pete Waterman reveals to HuffPostUK his first impressions of Kylie...

Bananarama, Rick Astley, Steps, Pepsi & Shirley, Brother Beyond and Dead Or Alive are all on the bill as well, with the event hosted, suitably, by DJs Pat Sharp and Mick Brown, alongside Gaby Roslin.

Click here for ticket and other info...

Pete Waterman spoke to HuffPostUK earlier this year about the state of music industry, and why it's time to look back...

"People don't buy records any more. Even though all they have to do is click a button and it automatically turns up on their computer, they're still not buying. Music's still good but there's not the relationship with the artist there used to be."

Pete Waterman is reflecting on the state of affairs that is the current record industry.

It would take a fool to argue with him. In his London studios/office on the south bank of the Thames, the walls are peppered with gold discs, celebrating the sales of all the artists on his PWL label, that strange group of photogenic characters dressed in popcorn Eighties colours who stormed to the top of the chart week after week and defined the mainstream sound for a generation (I said mainstream, Morrissey fans).

While Rihanna does her best to dominate the charts these days, there is no home-grown equivalent even close now to the stronghold that production team Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman enjoyed on the charts - with their synth-dominated sounds and ridiculously catchy choruses that helped young Brit singers launch their career and even more established overseas artists (Hazell Dean, Laura Branigan, Donna Summer) catch a fresh British wave.

While diminutive diva Kylie is by far the most celebrated of the crop to bring their vocals to the denimed trio's recording booths, Bananarama broke records, too, and Rick Astley, Dead Or Alive and Pepsi & Shirlie were no slackers in the charts either.

These artists, as well as Sinitta, Hazell Dean, Sonia, Sybil, 2 Unlimited and even Brother Beyond will be joining their former pop mentor for a reunion concert on Wednesday in Hyde Park, with a reformed Steps due to headline. (This was the gig cancelled due to muddy conditions, now taking place on Friday 21 December - ticket info above.)

So, the big question must be... why now?

"Well, I'd hummed and haahed for years," explains Waterman, leaning back in his chair, sleeves rolled up, possibly as much the sartorial opposite of that other great pop behemoth, Simon Cowell, as it's possible to imagine.

"And then, suddenly it was 2012, and everyone was talking about London, and it just seemed as though if we didn't do it this year, we'd never do it. I can not believe it's been 25 years."

He's tight-lipped but twinkly-eyed on the subject of his top-billed duet - "23 years in the making" of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, the two teenage Aussie soap stars he helped turn into top-selling singers and, in the case of Kylie, a record-breaking pop career. Will they be turning up to bang out their duet Especially For You that topped the charts at the end of 1987?

"I don't believe in giving it all up in one go," says Waterman, grinning. (The duet has since been confirmed).

He's far more forthcoming on the subject of Kylie's career, remembering the day she turned up in the offices of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and himself as though it were yesterday.

"I was up in the north of England, because I had a radio show commitment, and Mike's on the phone - 'there's this little Australian girl in reception, and she's flying home tomorrow.'

"We really believed in not letting anyone down, so they dug out a tune they'd been working on while she waited downstairs, and I played around with the title on the phone, and they banged out I Should Be So Lucky. And then it sat in the drawer for ages. Of course, we had no idea who she was.

"And months later, it was our office Christmas party, I was sitting at the table, and the DJ put on that song. And that was it."

For ticket info and complete lineup, see above.

Here are some of the acts you can see on Friday evening - have they still got it?

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