Gary Barlow asked taxi drivers and monitored social media to gauge the success of Take That as a trio.

The singer admits when Jason Orange left the band in 2014 the group was ''close'' to splitting up, because he had no idea if he, Mark Owen and Howard Donald could make it as a threesome.

Gary decided to ask cab drivers for advice on his dilemma and also took to Twitter to find out what fans thought of the plan.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper in New York at the launch of his 'Finding Neverland' musical, the 'Back For Good' singer said: ''I had huge doubts whether it would work as a trio. I was worried and thought, 'This might be the end.' It's the closest we've come to calling it a day. We heavily researched what reaction would be like if we performed as a three. We spent days monitoring social media to get a sense of what fans thought. I even got the views of taxi drivers.''

Once he saw the response to a Take That trio was positive, Gary knew they could carry on.

He added: ''It was all overwhelmingly positive, so we stayed together.''

The 44-year-old musician also needed to know if Mark and Howard were still completely committed to Take That before making their album 'III'.

He added: ''It would have been hard to drag an album out if one of us didn't want to do it. But it works as a three and it's exciting.''