Radio Recap – 7 January 2024

“I don’t have hobbies. Other than watching telly and walking my dogs, what I do is work. That’s who I am,” Michael Ball has said. Well, it’s a new year and a fresh slate for Michael. What will 2024 bring? What is certain at this point is that Michael will embark on a solo tour in March and debut his second installation of THE EMPIRE series of novels in the Fall. Which is a lot for most celebrities. But we know Michael never sits still. He goes from one challenge to the next. So 2024 will bring more – much, much more. Will he go back onstage in the West End? Will he tour again with Alfie Boe? Questions abound. But there’s never any question about his BBC Radio 2 show. Michael will bring his relaxed self to the studio every Sunday to spend the morning chatting with his friends …
“Happy New Year, my lovelies. Did you see it in with Rick? I did.” After declaring he’ll never give us up (you can hear the merriment in his voice), he opens by playing – you guessed it – Rick Astley’s “Never Going to Give You Up.” What a nice start to the morning – and to the new year! “So the decorations are down. Now we look forward to 2024. And it’s going to be a great year. Thanks for being with me.” Michael sounds relaxed but exhilarated. Next song? “It’s Almost Like Being in Love.” Yep. Michael is feeling good this A.M.
On the Ball. The first contestant is Lynn, who’s down with a cold, which you can definitely hear in her voice, poor sweet lady. She’s playing against her best friend, whom she calls her rock. She’s so funny when talking about this lady, and she has Michael cackling. When their talk turns to food, Michael admits he put on weight over Christmas and is now living in the elasticized end of his wardrobe. I love how honest he always is on the radio. It’s just Michael being that regular guy we all know and love, talking with his friends, not thousands of people around the world. 😂 When the questions start, Michael throws her a few hints, sprinkled with laughter, so adorable! In between contestants, Michael plays The Mamas & the Papas’ “California Dreaming.” What a heartwarming blast from the past – Thank you, Michael & Ste! Next up is good friend Mandy, who sounds so much like Lynn. She’s a character, so much fun, and keeps Michael in hysterics. The winner has to take the 2 of them to Mandy’s first concert (gig), and Michael hints broadly about a major gig coming up in March. Oh, Michael, you are ornery! What a great On the Ball!
Orna’s sad to see the Christmas decorations come down. Michael says it’s time, they’ve been up for a long, long time. Orna talks about the recent heavy rains, the ground saturated, and now it’s getting cold, so it may freeze. Michael feels badly for the people whose houses are flooded. When Orna returns, she laughs at Michael’s hair, saying the curls are back. I hope Ste gets a photo.
While reading some of the Sunday boasts, Michael reveals he has a lamb stew cooking, waiting for him to get home. Always impressive, Michael. Your audience loves hearing about your Sunday feats in the kitchen. There isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t admire a man who can cook.
Michael opens Hour 2 of The Michael Ball Show with Sister Sledge’s “We are Family.” I am LOVING Michael & Ste’s choice of music this morning! The theme throughout the broadcast seems to be about showing Michael’s love for his radio fans and guests. Thank you, Michael, from all of us across the globe who are listening this morning.
Tommy Blaize, a singer, composer, pianist, and guitarist, is best known as a singer on BBC ONE’s “Strictly Come Dancing.” Blaize has been singing professionally since he was 9-years-old and has worked with such names as Queen, The Beach Boys, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder. He’s about to head out on his very own tour, showcasing his talent at the piano and other musical instruments on top of his magnificent voice. Of course Tommy talks about his stint on “Strictly,” the show we all know is Michael’s favorite. Tommy sings a bit of an oldie called “Peek-a-boo” and talks about the famous people he’s sung with. There’s a powerful connection between these 2 lovely men. The respect Michael always shows his fellow performers is both admirable and touching. Also rare. Michael closes this segment with Tommy Blaize singing “Georgia On My Mind.” Sigh. So beautiful.
Between interviews – another great song – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Ste & Michael are hitting it out of the ballpark with their choice of music this morning, IMO. Uplifting and fun!
Simon Mundie was the lead sports presenter for BBC Radio 1, covering all the biggest sporting events including the London 2012 Olympics. Although he still loved sports, Simon eventually wanted to branch out. That’s when he launched his podcast “The Life Lessons.” While exploring many diverse subjects, Mundie maintains his interest in sports, often interviewing sports figures who want to talk about how their careers influenced their life philosophy. He now has a book coming out in January called “Champion Thinking: How to Find Success Without Losing Yourself.” He talks at great length about how success doesn’t necessarily mean happiness. That it’s about “being in the flow” of success, of recognizing it in the present moment as it’s happening. He mentions something Michael said years ago about how incredible it is when there is a roller coaster moment between artist and audience. It’s quite an in-depth conversation. Michael’s panic attacks are brought up, and Simon says you need to recognize them and move on. Allowing them to be there. Michael says it’s a wave that you either drown in or ride. And that’s what he does. Acknowledges them and rides the wave until it passes. Michael closes the segment with the perfect song: “We Are the Champions, My Friends.” Another stellar interview.
What an incredible show today, the fascinating interviews, the spectacular music, Michael’s endless laughter and good spirits, his teasing with Orna, it all just works so beautifully. But then, The Michael Ball Show is always a gem, isn’t it? Michael’s given us more than enough to get us through another week.
No matter where Michael takes us in 2024, he will give his all. Michael Ball loves his work, whether it be in a West End theatre, on a concert stage, writing at his laptop or sitting in front of the microphone at BBC Radio 2. His work ethic is the best, his talent is boundless, his joy is inspirational, and his laughter, infectious. Here’s to our very own Pied Piper leading us through the streets of this new year, piping his way to new challenges as we follow and dance to his tune. Bring it on, Michael! We’re more than ready for your 2024 …
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle2024* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball & the MBFC.