King of the thrill: The Saturdays

TO look at the finely turned out ladies of The Saturdays you would think they'd travel in style on their imminent UK tour.

According to lofty blonde Mollie King, apparently not.

"It's pretty filthy to be honest," she admits when asked about the vehicle that will transport them, their dresses and lippy to Sheffield City Hall on February 11.

"I feel very sorry for our tour manager. Everybody probably thinks 'you're a girl band, you probably don't eat very much', but if you came into our tour bus there's food everywhere, clothes everywhere, there's make-up. It's like anyone's worst nightmare, except we have an absolute ball in there."

Plenty of people got a glimpse of the chart-conquering girl band when they starred in their own fly-on-the-wall ITV show last year.

Just Can't Get Enough – named after the girls' hit cover of the early Depeche Mode hit - ended up a bit like Big Brother, or Big Sister, on the road. Mollie saw it as a prime opportunity to see what it is like to be in a thriving pop act.

"It was a good insight for anybody wanting to get into the business. It really went into what the job involves.

"If this was a career you were looking into you would say 'God, there's a lot of work involved, but the girls look like they're having so much fun'. I don't know what it's like being a solo artist but I can imagine it's a lot harder because you're doing everything by yourself, travelling by yourself, but I've got the four other girls there."

One thing the ITV1 show did suggest was Mollie as something of a leader among the other girls, namely Una Healy, Frankie Sandford, Vanessa White and Rochelle Wiseman. Is there a pecking order, not least as her name is King and she's the tallest?

"I don't know if I'm the leader really. I'm good at bringing the group together and team bonding, that kind of thing, I know how important it is for all of us to get on and I know the girls feel like they can come to me if ever they want any advice. I would probably say it was Rochelle who is sort of the boss. She's quite good at saying 'Right girls, we need to do this now'. She's always on time and organised, but I wouldn't really say we have a pecking order."

Certainly Mollie's poodle – no euphemism intended – isn't respecting her wishes too much when we speak.

The pet, named after the film Alfie, keeps biting her during our chat.

He also appeared alongside other members of the band at an obedience training class during one episode of the TV show.

"It was a really good insight for our fans and everybody else as to what we're really like. A lot of the time people just see us sitting on the couch doing interviews and it's all quite sterile, so it's good for people to see what we're really like, behind closed doors almost.

"It was quite intrusive, they were there all the time, pretty much when we woke up and went to bed. You were seeing us without our make-up on, which for any girl is all a bit 'Oh gosh'.

"But when we signed up we said we were not going to do it half heartedly, so we knew it was going to be like that. Then we were kind of getting used to it which was even more scary because you're really letting yourself go and then think 'Oh, what have I said?'."

The show also revealed some of the chemistry that flows between the girls, whose latest UK tour follows second album Headlines!, out last August.

They saw the summer off with massive hit Missing You, followed by Higher, with the omnipresent Flo Rida, and now have their sights set on a third long-player.

They say their unity went a long way into shaping their music so far, in spite of accusations of them merely being window dressing for other people's songs.

"We've always, even from the first album, had a say. We'd never want to put anything out there that we five girls didn't feel strongly about.

"It's hard enough going around promoting something weeks on end, but if you're promoting something you don't actually believe in it's even harder. So we've always made sure we love the album ourselves.

"We didn't write any of the tracks on it, but we're not precious about that. We know if songwriters come in with amazing tracks then we're always going to grab them with two hands because they don't come along that often.

"So Headlines is our strongest album. There's only eight tracks on there so we've been incredibly fussy over which go on.

"And we're in a really good place now; we know our sound, know what the fans like, know what songs do down well at gigs. I'm feeling really good about it."

And with Headlines having made just that - alongside the personal lives and romantic dramas of some of its contributors - Mollie and her pals are looking forward to getting back on the road again for some interaction with their fans.

"Doing our headline tour last year was amazing. It was so quick for a new band to sell out so many theatres. That was a real achievement for us.

"Going on tour is the best thing. More than anything we're looking forward to this tour in February."

With rehearsals well underway, what does Mollie think is the secret of The Saturdays hitting the mark that so many acts miss?

"I don't know to be honest," she says, her poodle now leaving her alone. "I feel very grateful for everything. With X Factor, watching all these people, thousands of them going through auditions, it just reminds me how many people do actually want to be doing this.

"And I've seen lots of bands come and go - that's when you realise how lucky you are. We've got a really great team behind us and we always get really good songs.

"We do work really hard - it's very rare that we have a day off - but you've got to remember there's lots of luck and you're working with really good people and have to put the hard work in yourself. But this is all I've ever wanted to do. I was obsessed with this when I was at sixth form college - they were all 'Let's start applying for university' and I applied but as soon as I got my offers I just deferred the entries because I was completely obsessed.

"I did do work experience at a few record labels so I guess I'd have probably gone into something like that. I was going to go to Loughborough because I'm really into my sports as well. That was where I had accepted."

Needless to say Mollie has no regrets about putting her higher education plans on ice, especially with the singing sisters she has adopted.

"We all go through different things outside of work and just like anybody you can go into work and have stuff at home that's put you in a bad mood.

"That's when it's really good to have the other girls around because there's always somebody there to help and support you; everything we're going through with the band, the stresses of that. The other girls know what it's like and it's really good to just be able to see everyone."

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