BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2023
To play the leading role in a West End musical often requires being a triple threat: singer, actor & dancer. Michael Ball has been a shining star on the musical stage for decades, yet when it came to dancing, well, it wasn’t at the top of his list of things he enjoyed. Singing? Yes. Acting? Absolutely! But dancing … In interviews he confessed he was insecure about it and joked about doing his own choreography in his concerts – badly. In Acting School, he came up with excuse after excuse to get out of Dance Class, including faking a heart condition. But in actuality, Michael is quite a talented dancer, as he’s demonstrated over the years. His ability was on full display in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. He worked his xxx off learning “Me Ol’ Bamboo,” and as with all the challenges Michael takes on, he not only accomplishes them, he excels at them. And speaking of excelling …
“Hello, my lovelies. Sun’s shining. And Banarama are here. Well, they’re not here, but you know what I mean. Get out in the sun, will ya? And take your radio with you.” And with that opening, we’re off …
Theme tune: Miami Vice. “Let’s get out the shoulder pads. Let’s roll up our sleeves,” Michael enthuses. “Oh, I LOVE this music!” He’s definitely ‘up’ this morning. “If it makes you smile, it makes me smile. I’m already smiling.”
Michael gives us a few bars of “Truly Scrumptious” from CHITTY during the Sunday boasts. Always a treat to hear that lovely voice. And his reading of the Family Album is quite striking, a combination of Michael’s rich speaking voice, his acting ability, but mostly the emotions emanating from that great big heart of his. Later, Michael stumbles over several words, laughing through it all and admitting he’s had a long week. I’m surprised he’s able to speak at all on Sundays after the week he puts in!
On the Ball. First contestant is Donna, who’s playing against her husband Paul (Donna says he’s always grumpy, presenting a challenge for Michael). Michael tells a very funny airplane story about a relative (great accent, Michael!) He’s actually at his best, doing many, many spot-on imitations throughout, and is truly ‘on the ball’ today! On comes Grumpy Paul, who chalks up his grumpiness to ‘life,’ which tickles Michael. After Paul answers (or fails to answer) the questions, Michael tells him, “That was pretty rubbish!” This segment always has a lot of laughs, and today’s doesn’t disappoint.
Orna. And they start off with a boatload of giggles. Absolutely adorable. I’m not even sure what they’re laughing at, but they’ve pulled me into their high spirits. Orna said the roads are okay – to which Michael responds, “but you’ve had a breakdown here.” More giggles. Just. Love. These. Two.
Michael’s first guest is Dame Arlene Phillips DBE, an English choreographer, talent scout, television judge and presenter, theatre director, and former dancer. She’s choreographing the production of GREASE which is returning to the West End. This one is quite different from the original. It goes back to the original book and is more of a raw, edgy story. She calls it “the next generation” of GREASE. “High camp.” Michael knows many actors in the show. He also admits that when the original movie came out, he and his chums went down every Thursday afternoon for 11 weeks and watched it. That’s what you call LOVE for the show/music! Dame Arlene reinvented the current production of GUYS & DOLLS. Now she’s reinventing GREASE. This is again one of those conversations between two icons speaking their own language. Such a treat to listen to them. Michael closes the segment by playing “Summer Nights.” Sublime! When Michael returns to the microphone he breathlessly says he’s exhausted. Dame Arlene had him dancing around the studio. Ste Softley, I hope you filmed this!
Ben Earle of the Shires, Michael’s second guest, has done a bit of everything, including hosting a radio show. He recently recorded “Make It Easy” with Nina Nesbit. Ben talks about how musical his household and family is – He has 3 young children. So charming! The Shires are still going strong, he confirms to Michael. They discuss how personal it is to write a song, and they share many memories. Like Michael, he loves telling a story with his songs. These two are old friends, and I almost felt like I was eavesdropping on a private conversation. Michael is SOO good at this sort of thing. And he closes with “Make It Easy.” Great song.
Michael did it again. He gave us another 2 hours of his infectious giggles, great music and interesting conversation. And he managed to infuse this sleep-deprived lady with a dose of his high-octane energy, desperately needed. Thank you, Michael, from all of us.
Yes, Michael is a talented singer, actor & dancer, but he’s a triple threat in so many ways: He’s a star in the West End, in film & TV, and on the radio; He’s a phenom as a singer in musicals, the concert stage and as a recording artist; And he’s equal parts celebrity, family man & animal lover.
Michael Ball. Triple threat.
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle2023* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle & the Michael Ball Fan Club