Radio Recap – 10 September 2023

Michael Ball has two speeds. He’s either The Roadrunner, juggling five tasks at one time as he races from place to place. Or he’s Cecil Turtle, the guy who chills out on the couch, his feet up, streaming his favorites on the Telly. Both speeds represent this diverse man. Michael adores his work and thrives on being busy, but he also adores spending laid-back time with his family and beloved pups.
Well, after three Sundays off, after taking a much deserved vacation and catching up on his sleep, after spending his days doing whatever he felt like doing, after indulging in (I hope) sumptuous food and even finer spirits, he’s b-a-a-a-ck! Oh, is he EVER! Cecil Turtle has turned back into The Roadrunner, and the BBC Radio 2 network owns him for the next 2 scintillating hours.
“Hello, my, lovelies. Oh, how I’ve missed you. Good to be back.” And it’s great to have you back, Michael. He opens with “The Best Years of my Life.” Perfect choice. “I’m back. I’m browner. I’m fatter,” he adds with his usual dose of humor. “I’ve just come back from Majorca. I love Majorca!”
The giggles begin early – in the Family Album – as Michael has tongue trouble. If you want to know more, ask Shirley Bathey!
On the Ball. The contestants are both CEOs involved in hospices with Children in Need. The first is Julie Heath, who explains her background and her devotion to Treetop Hospice and their care of both the children and their families. Michael is just as devoted to the cause, so their conversation is delightful. Also loaded with Michael’s giggles! The second guest is Rachel Hopnell (spelling?) who possesses both a pillowcase and a mug with Michael’s picture on it. Can you guess who Michael is rooting for? Rachel even takes the pillowcase on holiday with her, but she puts the pillow next to her so she doesn’t smash his face! Michael reveals there’s a woman who has his face on a loo seat! Even HE thinks that’s a bit much. 😂 Rachel talks about her hospice, the give and take of hospice work, the volunteers and the donations and people leaving gifts in wills. While this segment is about all that is done to help people die with dignity and how generous humanity can be, it also showcases Michael’s big heart. This is a VERY special On the Ball and one for the record books.
Orna. A reunion with Michael in person. Both were thrilled. Orna says there was a big fat hole in her life without Michael. A big fat hole? A BIG FAT HOLE??? Michael asks, with mock outrage. He then grabs onto the word ‘fat’ and, like a dog with a bone, teases her mercilessly. This is classic Michael-Orna.
Adam Garcia, Michael’s first guest, is an Australian actor, singer and legendary tap dancer. His film background is vast, including “Coyote Ugly,” and he’s starred in many West End musicals, having been nominated for 2 Oliviers. Now he’s doing something truly different. Publicized as “Irish dance reborn,” EMERALD STORM is a show co-written and co-choreographed by Adam and set for a long tour across the UK, beginning now. Set against the backdrop of Celtic mythology, it is an extravaganza of a musical told mostly through dance. I loved Michael & Adam’s conversation because, once again, it’s 2 legends talking about ‘the business,’ giving the listener insider info and what it’s like to do what they do. Michael tells a great story about doing a commercial for a beer. I’ll let you hear it for yourself. Adam’s description of EMERALD STORM is fascinating, the journey from the idea of doing a different kind of show to actually putting it on a stage. As always, a magnificent interview.
Michael’s next guest, Jimmy Doherty, is an English TV presenter and farmer. His company, The Essex Pig Company, began on a dilapidated farm in 2002, and his story was picked up by the BBC to air on the Telly (“Jimmy’s Farm”). His company has now expanded into a wildlife park, restaurant, wedding venue, vegetable and flower gardens and farm shop. Jimmy tells his story far better than I can, and as Michael says, it’s clever. He is also doing something truly wonderful, which is rescuing animals. He has far too many TV shows to list (He talks a great deal about ‘Food Unwrapped’), but his newest show is “Jimmy’s New Zealand Escape,” bringing beautiful New Zealand into people’s homes. Michael comments that he’s never been there, but he DOES love their wine! Why am I not surprised he knows about their wine? Michael Ball, Wine Connoisseur. I’d take his recommendation any day. This segment is filled with Michael’s infectious giggle. So much fun.
Michael’s final guest is OJ Borg, the overnight host on BBC RADIO 2. He’s doing the Great North Run in the UK as Michael talks to him. I admit I know nothing about this event, but I’m impressed with anyone who sets out to do a long run.
This was a great show, a FABULOUS return for Michael. Also a jam-packed program, so I apologize if I missed anything or got something wrong. Michael really kept me on my toes this morning and I had to scramble to keep up with him! Unlike Michael, I’m no Roadrunner. Next Sunday Michael and others at BBC RADIO 2 will broadcast from Victoria Park in Leicester. This is all tied into raising money for a special project with Children in Need – D.I.Y.S.O.S. I’m sure we’ll learn more next week.
Welcome back, Michael. We missed your Sunday morning music, your heartfelt Family Albums, your insightful and informative interviews and your hilarious banter with Orna and ‘On the Ball’ contestants And oh how we missed your signature giggle! But most of all, we missed ‘you just being you.’
As Summer turns to Autumn, Michael will move into the next phase of his career, just as he’s done in the past. His memoir “Different Aspects” is about to debut, and then, who knows? Michael Ball is a constant surprise, always expanding his horizons. But whatever he sets his sights on, he’s sure to hit the bullseye.
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle2023* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball and the MBFC.