BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2023
As the doldrums of February descend on my Sunday morning, in bursts Michael with his larger-than-life personality. “Hello, my lovelies. How was your week? How’s your Sunday? It’ll get better. You’ve got me for 2 hours.” And off he whisks us on his magic carpet!
First of all, today’s family album is oh-so romantic, a young man falling for his French teacher. Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I can see why Michael mentioned its beautiful theme. Theirs is a lovely story.
On the Ball. The first contestant, Jo, not only has 2 dogs, she has 5 sheep (5 fat sheep, she adds with a laugh). Michael moaned that she was making him feel guilty about his Sunday roast, but Jo said she named the sheep so as to never, ever be tempted in that respect. When Jo mentioned she was looking forward to a hot tub party later this week, Michael declared that a herd of people getting into a hot tub is human soup. Oh, wow, the image that leaves in my mind! I’m trying hard to erase it. Kate, the 2nd contestant, has a farm with MANY sheep, inspiring Michael to talk about the time he was able to watch a little lamb being born. But the best is when Michael loses it – LOSES IT – over the answer to a simple question, giggling and giggling and giggling … Not to be missed!
Orna is again in-house, and the 2 of them catch up. Apparently sheep seems to be the theme of the day as Orna warns that some sheep are blocking a roadway. And they’re still talking about HAPPY VALLEY and how sad they are the series has concluded. I’m going to have to go searching for this one.
Michael gives a nice shout-out and a huge thank you to the BBC Radio for their magnificent Piano Room series, bringing so many styles of music into the homes of its listeners. I agree. So unusual. And so brilliant.
Michael’s first guest is Russell T. Davies, a man with a million credits to his name who is the creator of a new three-part biographical mini-series. NOLLY is about Noelle Gordon who played Meg Richardson in the long-running soap opera CROSSROADS in the 70’s & 80’s. In 1981, at the height of the show’s popularity, she was suddenly axed with no explanation. Davies goes digging for the truth, and unearths agism and sexism, among other things. Michael remembers CROSSROADS well, having watched the series with his beloved Gran. Helena Bonham Carter plays Noelle, and she’s getting raves. Michael can’t say enough good things about the series, piquing my curiosity. This is a detailed interview, Michael at his very best, and well worth the listen.
Michael’s 2nd interview is with Clive Anderson, a well known TV presenter and star. He’s currently doing a play in the West End, WINTER’S CURSE, something new for him. This is another one of those interviews between 2 people in the business that is so much fun to eavesdrop on, with Michael giving Simon Anderson a little advice and even talking about HAIRSPRAY a bit.
Michael closes the show with a moving tribute to Burt Bacharach. “He wrote the soundtrack to our lives, didn’t he? There will never be another like him.” And he plays ‘That’s What Friends Are For.’
For me, February is the low point of the year, the month when darkness owns too much of the day, when frigid temperatures cancel out the sun’s warmth, and when hugging the hearth triumphs over a night on the town. Michael’s positive attitude and infectious giggle get me through the week, infusing me like one battery charging another. Just when my spirits start to plummet, Sunday morning rolls around, and the cycle begins anew. Thank you, Michael, for being the perfect antidote to the dreary month of February.