BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, JUNE 25, 2023
“Try to leave people feeling better for having met you” is one of Michael Ball’s mantras.
Recently Michael and AOL co-star Danielle de Niese teamed up with 16-yr-old Ukrainian refugee and violinist Solomiia to record “Love Changes Everything.” It was done to share a message of love and peace for all refugees. Just another example of Michael’s loving spirit. No matter how busy he is, if he’s needed he drops everything and comes through. This is who Michael is, who he’s always been. It’s why he’s one of the most beloved stars of the UK. And after a week of 7 performances, of an appearance on GMB, of working on his book and of making a recording for refugees (and these are just the things we know of for sure), here he is at BBC Radio 2, ready to engage with his audience for the next 2 hours. He might be exhausted. His clothes might be a little rumpled. His hair might be a little tousled. But he’s here. Michael Ball doesn’t like to let ANYONE down.
“Ah, you got me for the next 2 hours. Shall we have a little less conversation? … Nah, you got ME. You know we’ll be talking like crazy!” Michael’s energy level is high. How does he do it?? The obvious answer is he ADORES what he’s doing.
Sunday boasts. From our very own Carol Cox, Michael read her anniversary wish to husband Stuart with great enthusiasm and a hint of familiarity. And of course she marched down the aisle to “Love Changes Everything.” Happy 28th, Carol & Stuart!
Side note: Michael’s speaking voice is incredibly rich today, and he’s using it in brilliant ways (not a hint of fatigue – amazing!). Being back onstage has definitely sharpened all of Michael’s acting skills – and oh how they shine when he’s on the radio. That beautiful mellifluous voice! I’m loving every syllable.
On the Ball. Michael opens with talk of the heat and that he has “his legs out. Not a pretty sight. They haven’t seen much sun.” First contestant is Jean who works at a donkey sanctuary. Say the word “animal” and Michael’s ears perk up. He also happens to LOVE donkeys! No surprise. What animal doesn’t Michael love? Best of all we get to hear his award-winning giggle during this segment. He plays “Hot Stuff” between the the 2 contestants. Why do I picture Michael dancing around the studio to this music? (I know he sang it a while back – and it had a few dance moves, as I recall ). The second contestant is Helen, who’s a football fan. Michael confesses he HATES football. Boy, Michael, when you don’t like something, you REALLY don’t like it!
Michael does a fabulous tribute to the Glastonbury Festival, including a buildup to Elton John appearing there tonight, playing “Rocket Man.”
“Oh we’ve been singing our hearts out.” Michael introduces us to Beverly Knight MBE, the Queen of British Soul. She also won an Olivier for SYLVIA. Michael asks her about transitioning from concert to musical theater, and it turns out she has an extensive background in the theater. They talk about how to sustain doing 8 shows a week, particularly caring for the singing voice. It takes great discipline, they agree. Not going out partying on a Tuesday night before doing 2 shows on Wednesday is a start. Ms Knight is turning 50, and she’s celebrating in many ways, including going back into SISTER ACT in 2024. “The next 12 months are just fun, fun, fun.” She and Michael discuss blending their personal and professional lives. It’s again a magnificent conversation between 2 professionals giving us a peek behind the scenes. A conversation to be relished and enjoyed. The segment ends with Beverly Knight’s recording of “Last One on my Mind.”
Michael’s next guest is Wendy Mitchell, author of “One Last Thing: How to Live With the End in Mind.” Wendy has been living with dementia for nine years. ”To better get on with the business of living… we need to talk about death,” she writes. “The only certainty we have in life is this moment. No one knows what’s round the corner.” Michael calls her “truly inspirational” and that she is. This is her 3rd best seller. She speaks openly about what it’s like living with dementia. It’s emotional listening to this amazing woman. Michael believes it’s important to talk about this subject, as it affects so many families and is difficult for both the sufferer and those around them. In essence, Wendy takes us inside her mind, intent on helping others. Michael, as always, asks the important questions. What an extraordinary woman! And an extraordinary conversation. And – perfectly – after the interview Michael plays Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely?” Yes, she is.
Michael announces next Sunday on his radio show he’s hosting a special “Thank You Day” in honor of the carers. Tony Christie will join him, who has inspired this celebration, and the song “Thank you for Being a Friend” will be featured. I hope I got all this info correct, but Michael said we’ll hear more about it during the week. The song will be recorded on Tuesday. Something wonderful to look forward to! And ANOTHER example of Michael’s enormous heart.
Michael wraps his show with Harry Styles’ “Treat People With Kindness.” This is SOOO Michael. Thank you, dear man.
“Try to leave people feeling better for having met you.” For the past 2 hours, Michael did just that. He has an aura that draws people to him. Whether he’s on a West End stage wowing an audience or at the stage door wowing his fans or on the radio wowing his listeners, Michael delivers. He makes all of us feel better, his high-voltage battery recharging ours, sending us off with renewed energy and a determination to be a little more like Michael, to be kind to those around us.
I wish Michael a restful Sunday, doing all the things he loves most. I hope he heads home, shuts the door and enjoys today with his family and beloved pups. He’s earned his down time.
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball and the MBFC.