BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2023
Saying ‘no’ doesn’t come naturally to Michael Ball. Not when someone is in need or a worthwhile cause is struggling. A friend comes to him with a problem? “What can I do?” is his response. A charity needs to raise funds? He’s there. A child or animal is hurting? He’s on it. It’s a no-brainer for him. His instincts kick in, and he gets the job done. The list of his involvement in charities is far too long to list. But a few stand out. Two of his favorites are highlighted at the holidays, The Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice and the Royal Theatrical Fund. Shooting Star focuses on local children’s hospice services, taking care of both the kids & the families who are facing life-ending diseases. The Theatrical Fund, founded in 1839 with Charles Dickens as it’s first Chairman, takes care of actors who’ve fallen on hard times or who are retired and in financial need. One of his newest passions was becoming a Patron for The Music Man Project, a group that provides educational and performance opportunities for people with learning disabilities. Michael met this group last March at The Big Night of Musicals and instantly fell in love with them. That’s how it works for Michael. But I think the cause that touches his heart in the deepest way is the Sir Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser of the Year. And that’s what today’s radio show is all about …
“Ah, my favorite 2 hours of the week,” Michael opines, opening the show. “You. Me. The real thing. We’ve got a good show coming up. I’ll shut up now.” He’s in good spirits. And I think I hear just the tiniest flicker of devilry in that silky voice. We’ll see …
Michael plays a recap of BBC Radio 2 host Vernon’s days-long marathon to raise money for Children in Need. I’m not sure of the final total of miles he ran, but listening to his radio pals and fans cheer him on is lovely (and he raised a boatload of money!). Michael calls him a hero, and reminds everyone they can still donate to this worthy cause.
On the Ball. The first contestant is Charlotte, who confesses she had owls greeting her guests at her wedding last month. Michael tells her he LOVES owls. Of course he does. He loves all creatures great and small! The TV show “Strictly” comes up in the questions, and Michael is appalled that Charlotte has NEVER watched it. How he loves this show! “Crash and burn” is Michael’s summation as Charlotte finishes up with a few major misses. Still, her total isn’t bad, and Michael is kind, as always. Her competition is her mum Dawn, from a town called Hoo, which has Michael in stitches. She keeps Michael laughing as she describes sitting in front of the telly, knitting attire for a nativity scene, including the animals, and he describes having to wear his gran’s knitted mittens. And when the conversation turns to food, Michael confesses he’s making a lamb casserole for tonight, a VERY big night, the conclusion of “Strictly.” That show again! This is one of those times when On the Ball ends in a tie – so they go to the tie-breaker – but there’s a snag – You’ll have to listen to find out what happened and who wins. Michael closes the segment by declaring, “I love On the Ball!”
Orna. She’s in the studio and they get in a few giggles, of course, but the segment is short. When she returns Michael tells her how much he’s loved today’s show. You can hear the joy in his voice – he means it. Michael Ball is a happy man today, doing what he loves best – helping others.
Many of today’s Sunday boasts are about children doing such special things to raise money for Children in Need. Michael sounds so proud. And he should be. He follows the boasts by playing Marisha Wallace singing “Tomorrow,” which she sang on the Award Show Friday night. Her rendition always brings tears to my eyes. Having trouble seeing the keyboard …
Sir Cliff Richard is a legend. Literally. Number 3 in the all-time UK singles charts. Films. His own TV show. He has a new album out – :”Cliff With Strings. My Kinda Life.” And a book “A Head Full of Music.” A very busy man. Just like Michael. Listening to Cliff talk about his long career is simply incredible, beginning with the years before the Beatles. We once again become flies on the wall as we eavesdrop on this conversation between two greats artists – and two great friends. They talk about songs and people and performing and … You simply have to listen to it yourself. It’s impossible to find the words to describe a special interview like this one. It’s not really an interview, it’s a conversation between 2 insiders. Michael wraps with playing Cliff’s “The Best of Me.” Such a gorgeous song. The follow-up after the song is a GREAT surprise! DO NOT MISS MICHAEL’S SPECIAL GUEST! A true moment in time. So wonderful! I can’t stop smiling.
Joel is the winner of The Sir Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser of the Year Award. Joel rode his bicycle 600 km from Hertfordshire to his grandparents’ home in Holland! He rode on, despite inclement weather, tire punctures and so many other hurdles. Joel is in the studio, along with mum Valerie and dad Guy. He’s such an incredibly well-spoken young man. He says he raised money because he considers himself lucky – to have a home, to have a bike, to be able to cycle this far – and he wants everyone to have the opportunities he has. Michael surprises Joel by bringing on his hero, famed cyclist Chris Hoy, who praises Joel for what he’s done. Michael play’s Queen’s “Bicycle” and heartily thanks all the young people who raised money for this cause.
Michael ends this fabulous 2 hours by playing “We Are Family.” After wishing his father and sister a Happy Birthday, he signs off with “God bless, my lovelies.”
Today’s show is a tribute to Children in Need and Michael’s devotion to it. Michael Ball and children. Incredibly heartwarming to witness. There’s a little boy in Michael that never grew up, will NEVER grow up, thank God. His innate curiosity about anything & everything, his laughter that bubbles to the surface with the tiniest things, his embrace of the world around him is a delight to behold. It’s that little boy who communicates so beautifully with every child he meets. He loves them. He genuinely loves them. There are so many aspects of Michael Ball I admire, but for me, this passion for those in need rivals his enormous talent. Hand-in-hand, they make up a diverse and fascinating man, an anomaly in a business that is usually all about ego. Such is Michael Ball, and aren’t we lucky to have found him?
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle2023* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball & the MBFC.