Thousands of love-struck teenage girls will be screaming the house down at Sheffield City Hall tonight.


Amongst them will be a 38-year-old Doncaster mum of five, covering her ears, beaming with pride and still trying to work out what all the fuss is about.

Johannah Tomlinson is mum to one fifth of boyband sensation One Direction.

She’s still getting used to the fact that Louis, her eldest child, is now officially a chart-topping pop star and teen heart-throb.

In the last year, since the band the X Factor created in 2010 soared to the crest of a hysteria and hormone-driven tsunami, she and her four daughters have had to get used to a heck of a lot. Like seeing Louis’ face plastered all over pencil cases and school bags. And waking up to find 100 love-struck girls sitting on the front lawn of their home in Bessecarr.



“The boys have a good fan base,” she says, giggling when she realises how mildly she has put it. Concert dates for Sheffield, and every other date on this, their first ever tour, sold out within minutes. Girls camped out on the streets to be first in the ticket queues.

The band’s debut single “What Makes You Beautiful”, released on September 11 last year on Simon Cowell’s record label, was UK Number One within a week. Their first album became a UK record-breaker last November - and the boys have five million followers on Twitter.

“It’s all pretty incredible, particularly the heart-throb status,” says Johannah, a midwife at Doncaster Royal Infirmary who tries to spend an hour a night tweeting with her son’s fans, girls head-over-heels for a boy they have never met, but whom she knows inside-out.

“They are really lovely girls. They send me pictures of their school bags with my son’s face and name all over them,” she says.

“If they think he’s coming home, they arrive at the house. We regularly have up to a hundred in the front garden. I realised I couldn’t start making cups of tea for them all, but Louis’ sisters love going out to chat to them. Though they think it’s hilarious that anyone would fancy their big brother.”

The band’s first, long-awaited tour kicked off on December 23 but tonight will be extra special for Louis. “It’s home territory; he is really looking forward to it,” says his mum. “His friends from Hall Cross sixth form will be there and so will me and his four sisters.”

The family have already been to a handful of dates on the tour and Johannah is bubbling with excitement about her ticket for the band’s performance at the O2 Arena in Dublin next week.

“They sold all 9,500 tickets in five minutes 30 seconds,” she tells me.

“The day after, the boys fly straight to Los Angeles to go into recording studios.”

Her voice is a mixture of glowing maternal pride and pinch-me incredulity.

“I still can’t quite believe this has happened to him,” she says.

Louis was 18 and doing A levels with a plan to study performing arts at university when he auditioned for the X Factor in Manchester. “I went with him because I felt he was so young. We queued for hours,” she says.

“In the last year they have done so much; they’ve travelled the world,” she says.

“At the beginning I worried about him - he was so young - he still is. I worried about what their pastoral care would be like. But the people who look after the band do their job well and are in constant contact with the parents.”

So is Louis; he calls his mum five or six times a day. she explains: “He’s very caring and protective to me and his sisters, Lottie, 13, Felicite, 11, and the twins Phoebe and Daisy, who are seven. He sends money for their school trips and posts them Topshop vouchers.

“He does lots of little things for me; he even paid for me to have a gardener because he wanted to make my life easier,” adds Johannah, whose marriage broke up during Louis’ 2010 X Factor auditions.

“I haven’t seen a lot of him for the last year, though. He rarely gets to come home, though he loves it when he does. He misses his sisters and his old bedroom, which we’ve kept exactly the same. He says sleeping in it gives him a sense of calm.

“I do miss him very much,” she says. “But at the same time I am bursting with pride and it’s brilliant to see him so happy; he’s having fun doing what so many boys dream of. And the boys in the band are so close; they’re like five brothers.”

Louis, who was just 20 on Christmas Eve, has grown up fast. He has travelled the world with the band already - including a six-country publicity tour in just five days, and has bought a flat in London with bandmate Harry Styles, who is 18 on February 1.

“Louis is very measured, very mature. He’s always analysing the band’s success so they can keep on growing,” says mum.

And he hasn’t let the adoration of all those female fans go to his head; he has been dating one girl, student Eleanor Calder, 20, a friend of Harry’s, for the last six months.

Fans may not be happy, but mum is delighted: “She came for Christmas; she’s such a lovely girl.”

She adds: “I did want him to steer clear of the promiscuous lifestyle that is so easy to lead in the music business. Not that he would ever be that kid of boy. He’s the one woman type; very loyal.”