BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2023
We all know what a gifted storyteller Michael Ball is. Whether telling a story through song, or when giving an interview or enchanting his radio listeners with his amusing antics, Michael knows how to grab your attention and keep it. This is especially true with his memoir DIFFERENT ASPECTS, which is back in the spotlight this week. Michael hooks his readers immediately and takes them on a ride through his life. Using his signature humor, often self-deprecating (so ingratiating), the reader feels what he feels as he leads them through the ups and downs of his long and successful career, the productions of ASPECTS OF LOVE being his bookends in the narrative. It’s a story you wish would never end, and maybe one day he will write another memoir. You never know what this mastermind will be up to next. But now, lucky us, we get Michael on the radio, the medium where he can just be himself. This is usually where we get the most surprising stories, always laced with his signature giggles. Okay, hang on, here we go …
“Hello, my lovelies. How are you? Not many sleeps left.” Of course Michael’s talking about Christmas. How I love the little boy lurking in Michael Ball, waiting for all those pressies on Christmas morning! But then, who doesn’t love presents? Michael’s voice sounds a tiny bit froggy this morning. He may still be battling that cold. But he’s in good spirits. High spirits. He’s obviously having a great time behind that microphone. As he always says, he loves doing this radio show. Michael tells his listeners about the BBC4/ITV special about disco, and admits he loves the medium, recalling his early days at discos (would have loved to have seen that!). And as he’s doing this he tries to find the button to play another disco song. “I’m rubbish at this,” he finally admits, giggling. That’s the Michael we all adore, the guy who fumbles at times and makes mistakes – like we all do!
On the Ball. The first contestant is Maizie, who’s studying music/business and would like to one day have her own record label. She also discusses her relationship with Alastair who she’s playing against. Michael gets her to sing part of a song she wrote for Alastair, and Michael acts as backup. Lovely. Uh-oh. UH-OH! Maizie chooses the MIDDLE one!!! “IT’S NEVER THE MIDDLE ONE!!!” Michael shouts. Maizie gets a good tongue lashing from him. “And we were getting on so well!” Next is Alastair, who is a financier, and he’s from Bristol – Michael recognized his regionalistic traits. Michael is the BEST at spotting traces of regionalism, which is why he’s able to do so many voices. There’s a question in today’s quiz about Streisand, and Michael can’t help talking about interviewing her last week. “We talked about Hoisin Ribs!” I love how he just throws out that tidbit! Oh, Michael, you do make me laugh. Alistair’s forfeit is that he has to sing “Bye, Bye, Baby, Bye, Bye” on the air, which he does. He’s not really a singer, and Michael and Maizie laugh, but they’re also kind.
Orna is in the house! Michael and Orna commiserate about the new studio being in the basement and how cold it is and how Michael can’t work the buttons. Orna points out that there’s no carpeting but quite a few pianos! All they need are some drums, she jokes. A-a-a-n-d then they’re back to talking about “Dr. Who” until Michael says, “Let’s do your job, shall we?” And they close out their 2nd segment with enough signature giggles to have tears streaming down Orna’s face. There’s something about their banter that’s put me in the Christmas mood. Michael plays “Traveling Home for Christmas” and admits it’s his favorite Christmas song. And he says all his trees are up and decorated and that Maison Ball is looking very Christmasy. Yep. I’m now in the Christmas spirit. Thank you Michael and Orna.
Luke Evans is a Welsh actor and singer who began his career on the stage, performing in West End productions before making his film breakthrough in the 2010 remake of “Clash of the Titans.” This was followed by action films far too numerous to list, but a few are “Immortals,” “The Raven” and “The Three Musketeers.” He is currently starring in a new film “Our Son,” about a couple divorcing, just released this past week. And he’s onstage in the West End in “Backstairs Billy.” A very busy man. Luke tells the fascinating and true story about Backstairs Billy and the character’s relationship with the Queen. Michael says both he and Cathy knew this man, which surprises Luke, so Michael’s story about Billy is equally enchanting. I adored the queen, so I found the conversation between these 2 men riveting. They made me want to desperately see this play, especially when Luke said it’s reminiscent of Noel Coward! Michael closes the segment with Luke Evans singing, “Silent Night.” Oh, so beautiful … Michael, you are giving us the BEST show today!
Bear Grylls, a British adventurer and TV presenter, is best known for his TV series “Man vs Wild.” His adventures over the years have been both numerous and daring. Bear released 2 books in 2023: “You vs the World: The Bear Grylls Guide to Never Giving Up,” a motivational book for children; and “How to be a Scout.” Bear Grylls is also a tireless fundraiser for many, many causes. Michael opens by making jokes about how “adventurous” he himself is! “We are so alike!” Michael laughs. But Bear comes back with kudos for Michael, saying it’s not about the physicality, it’s about meeting challenges and conquering them. That Michael has the “champion spirit.” I couldn’t agree more. They discuss family and how Bear wants to bring his children into what he does. Michael compliments the incredible work Bear has done with the Scouts, which now number 60 million strong. What an extraordinary human being Bear is. The world needs more men like Bear Grylls & Michael Ball.
He ends the show with the Beach Boys’ “Run, Run, Reindeer,” a nice bit of nostalgia. And then he says, “Hang on everybody … I’ve done it again … I’ve double-pressed.” Oh, Michael, those blasted buttons seem to get you every week! Your listeners don’t mind. It makes you human, like the rest of us.
In 2024, Michael will release the sequel to his novel, THE EMPIRE. His imagination will take over and once again he will spin a fascinating story, told as only Michael Ball can tell it. Great characters. Intricate detail. Laughter. Drama. Another backstage story for the ages. But in the meantime, tonight Michael will sit down and chat with one of his favorite interviewers for Fane to discuss his memoir. After listening to the first one he hosted, you can bet this one will keep us spellbound and laughing long after it has concluded. I’ll be watching from across the pond. So we’ve now listened to Michael on the radio. Then later we get to hear him discuss his book, something he’s passionate about. What a magnificent Sunday. A Michael Ball Sunday!
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle2023* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball & the MBFC.