BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2023
For most creatures great and small, both humans and our furry friends, our voice is our means of communication. For actors, it’s a vital tool for their career. No two voices are alike, each having its own characteristics. Michael Ball was born with a rich voice. How he uses it and the way he forms his words is what distinguishes him from everyone else. Have you noticed how Michael’s speech patterns vary, depending on the medium he’s working in? When he does an interview on the radio, he speaks in a slower pattern, enunciating clearly. He knows he has to rely on his spoken words alone to get his point across. When doing a television interview, however, his delivery is sometimes rapid-fire, the way he speaks naturally, because the audience can both see his expressions and hear his words to understand what he’s saying. On stage, Michael vocal pattern can vary, depending on the role he’s playing. Still, it’s been ingrained in him since acting school to make sure the audience can both hear and process his words, using his voice in the most appropriate way. And speaking of his voice …
Michael opens the show with Elton John’s ‘Step into Christmas.’ It certainly woke me up and got me in the Christmas mood! “Hello, my lovelies. Are you feeling a bit festive yet? I am. If you’re not, stick with me.” There’s excitement in Michael’s voice. He’s in a GREAT mood! Well, of course he is – Christmas is coming! He then plays Sam Ryder’s ‘You are Christmas to me,’ adding to all of us, “YOU are Christmas to me.” Oh, yes, Michael is feeling good today! You can hear the joy in his voice.
On the Ball. The first contestant is Liz, who’s been down with a cold. Michael commiserates, having just gotten over one himself. They also commiserate over neither of them being able to get tickets for Mariah Carey’s concert in the new year. Wow, Michael can’t get tickets? He really IS just a regular guy! And then – of course – “Strictly” is one of the questions. We can’t have a radio show without a mention of “Strictly!” Oh, how Michael makes me laugh. Liz is playing against her sister Kate, who is 12 years younger. Despite the age difference, the sisters are close. Michael and Kate talk music groups before getting down to the questions. And this time, ‘Dr. Who’ comes up … Ah, Michael … !! The sisters’ forfeits are both amusing. I won’t give away the winner/loser.
Orna is in the house. They discuss “Strictly” immediately. Okay, okay, I guess I HAVE to watch this show. You’ve both convinced me. And Michael’s never wrong with his recommendations. When Orna returns later for her transportation update, she reports that traffic is backed up because of animals on the road. What kind of animals? That bit of information was included! After a few of Michael’s animal jokes and a lot of giggles between the 2 of them, the show resumes …
Scott Mills is a DJ best known for “The Scott Mills Show” on BBC Radio 1 from 2004 to 2022, and now heard on BBC Radio 2. He has also occasionally appeared in guest roles on TV (sometimes as himself), most notably in the BBC medical drama “Casualty” in the role of reporter Paul Lang. Michael gets him on the phone and finds him still in bed. Scott is currently doing a panto of “Jack and the Beanstalk” in the West End and pays tribute to Michael for how hard it is to do this kind of stage work. Michael gets Scott to sing part of his solo in the show, and because Scott’s show ends with “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” he says he FINALLY gets why Michael loves that song so much. Oh – something interesting – Michael said he was talking with Imelda Staunton yesterday, and he hasn’t ruled out doing “Sweeney Todd” again. Michael, If you ever play Sweeney again, I will definitely cross the pond to see you in that role. And I’ll see it multiple times!
Dame Sian Phillips, a Welsh actress, began acting at the age of 11. She has portrayed almost every famous classical role on the stage over the years, and has appeared in numerous films and TV series. She is best known for her portrayal of Livia in the 1976 BBC production of “I, Claudius,” for which she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress. At the age of 90, this amazing actress is still going strong. She attributes her longevity to growing up during the war – no sweets and walking everywhere! Now there’s a documentary out celebrating her amazing career, which she’s chosen not to view, partly because she doesn’t want to revisit certain times in her life. She loved, however, going back to her childhood in Wales. In her early career, there was no crossing over between stage and film. Sian Phillips was considered a stage actress, but luckily, she DID crossover and has done some memorable film roles. What an extraordinary woman and actress! And Michael does a fabulous job, as always, of getting her to talk in depth about both her career and her life.
Adrian Chiles is a writer and presenter who currently hosts a talk and entertainment show for BBC Radio 5 Live each Thursday. His broadcasting training, business smarts and passion for football have made for a diverse career in both radio and TV. He’s out with the 3rd edition of his show called “My Life,” where he interviews a celebrity and gets them to talk about their life through their Christmases. He discusses some he’s interviewed and the events that changed their lives. And it’s interesting how differently we all celebrate Christmas. What a fascinating concept.
BTW, great, GREAT music today. All upbeat and FUN! Bravo, Ste. Michael’s sparkly mood made today’s show an absolute joy. Always keeping us on our toes, Michael shifts moods and closes the show softly with “You take care … Keep safe … Try to be kind … I’ll see you next week, my lovelies … Christmas Eve.”
All three of Michael’s guests today have made a career with their magnificent voices. So has Michael Ball. Not everyone has the kind of voice that works on the radio. Michael’s voice is mellifluous, the timbre and resonance perfect. With that voice and his training in speech, it’s understandable how he’s able to do so many distinct character voices. He also has a good ear for vocal idiosyncrasies, dialects, accents and the different paces of speaking. He learned at an early age to LISTEN (which he explained in his book), and he’s able to imitate, an ability that doesn’t come naturally to all. Michael’s natural talent and hard work, combined with his resonant speaking voice adds up to a man destined for a successful career on the stage. And in television. And on the radio. It also means he’s able to bring the audio version of his own work of fiction and memoir to vivid life with his own voice. Michael Ball took every gift given to him at birth and developed it to its fullest, making him deserving of every single accolade he’s ever received. Even better, he’s willing to pass his knowledge on to a new generation. If they’re smart enough to LISTEN!
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle2023* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball & the MBFC.