Girls hysterical for 1D wax

JENNIFER ENNION
Last updated 12:04 17/07/2013

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Teenage girls from around the world have descended on London for the chance to have their photo taken with One Direction.

They're lining for hours so they can sit next to the boys, wrap an arm around their favourite and even peck a cheek or two.

The British boy band couldn't be more obliging - smiling patiently at every smartphone lens flashed in their faces.

They're so considerate in fact, that no photo will be ruined by red eyes or a turned face. Not from the boys, anyway.

That's because they're not real, although by the queue of female fans one does wonder.

Harry, Louis, Niall, Zayn and Liam are the latest creations at Madame Tussauds London and they've attracted a large following since their launch on April 18.

"Normally people can only get as close as being at the front row of their gig but here they can sit on the bench, hug and kiss the figures, run their hands through their hair if they want, so it's just been phenomenal," says Nicole Fenner, Madame Tussauds London spokesperson.

"We've had people crying at the sight of these figures 'cause they're so life-like,".

There is an area at Madame Tussauds that's dedicated to One Direction, and it's easy to tell when you're nearing it, as giggling girls snake in a long line to what is essentially a photo shoot.

Australian Lauren Mummery, 15, and her eight-year-old sister, Ella, are among them.

Lauren, who's travelled from Ayr in Queensland to England on a family holiday, says Louis Tomlinson is her favourite band member.

"He's just different," she says, after having her photo taken with the band.

Lauren's been counting down to the holiday so she could finally "meet" 1D.

"I've been waiting for months," she says. "I really hope they're good pics otherwise I'm going to cry and have to line up again."

The One Direction attraction has been one of Madame Tussauds' biggest figure launches, with fans hysterical since day dot.

It takes four months to make a wax figure, so the Madame Tussauds sculpting team was doubled to create One Direction within the usual time frame.

"It was a tall ask but the figures have been so popular, it's crazy," Fenner says.

If you visited Madame Tussauds a few years back, ropes would have kept you at a distance from your idol. But those ropes are largely gone now, with the exception of a couple to allow fans to get up close and personal one at a time.

"It's about getting people coming in and updating their Facebook status with a photo of them and Johnny Depp, or them and George Clooney," says Fenner.

If you happen to plant a red-lip smooch on the cheek of a Hollywood heart-throb, by the next morning a maintenance team will have come through to ensure that figure has a mark-free, glowing complexion for the next fan.

Lipstick has been left on the 1D figures, reveals Fenner, but the popularity between the band members and of other figures changes frequently.

Fenner expects the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to gain more attention with their baby excitement, while in 2012 the wax version of Queen Elizabeth II was a hit surrounding the Jubilee.

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But back to the boys. One Direction, the real band, will have more "groupies" following them around the world when the wax figures travel to New York on July 11 to time with the band's US tour.

Then, in October, the figures will head to Sydney for 1D's tour Down Under.

So if you're not travelling to London this northern summer, you can still get that special photo with Harry and co. You just have to head to the Big Apple or Sydney.

Don't forget your lippy.

IF YOU GO

GETTING THERE: Madame Tussauds London is on Marylebone Rd, near Regent's Park and Baker Street tube station.

STAYING THERE: For accommodation that's walking distance to many of London's main tourist attractions, check out The Nadler Soho. The luxury boutique hotel is at 10 Carlisle Street.

PLAYING THERE: Buy your tickets to Madame Tussauds London online for £22.50 ($43) for adults and £19.35 ($37) for children (4-15 years). At the door, tickets cost £30 ($57.6) for adults and £25.80 ($49.55) for children. You can also purchase family passes and children under four are free.

To find out more about Madame Tussauds figures and events, and for more ticket options, check out madametussauds.com/londonn.

For more on what to do in London, go to visitbritain.com.

The writer travelled as a guest of Madame Tussauds London, VisitBritain, The Nadler and Princess Cruises.

- AAP

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