BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, MAY 28, 2023
“And yet, in Ball they have a one-man rescue operation. His big, furry, faintly camp, six-gigawatt stage presence warms the audience like a sun lamp — while his honeyed voice blows us to sunnier climes. And in his more thoughtful moments alone, he is tender, garlanding his performance with the grace notes of an impish glance, rueful smile and a moistened eye.”
ASPECTS OF LOVE review. THE DAILY MAIL.
Oh how we’ve missed him on Sunday mornings. An understatement. In the 2 weeks he’s been away, Michael opened in a new production of ASPECTS OF LOVE (to rave reviews for himself and the cast) and announced he’s writing a memoir. His autobiography will be framed by his productions of ASPECTS, the play that changed his life, both professionally and personally. This book will immediately shoot to the top of the Best Seller list, as Michael’s legions of fans have been begging for a memoir for many, many years. As usual, Michael’s instincts and timing are spot-on.
So as we settle in for Michael’s return to the radio, Michael settles in for his run of ASPECTS. This is when he’ll find his groove, when he’ll establish a routine that works for him. He’s wisely taken Mondays off to rest his voice and, quite frankly, to have a life. Yes, he’s a workaholic, but he also loves his family, his dogs and chilling “in his pants” (his quote, not mine). Plus, he has a book to write!
But today is Sunday, a day when Michael can throw on comfy clothes and drive himself to the radio station. A day when he can just be ‘Michael, regular guy.’ When he can relax behind that microphone and chat with his friends …
“Ooh. I’ve only been gone 2 weeks! They changed me jingle! Hello, my lovelies. The sun is shining and all is well. Let’s do this, shall we?” And he plays “Celebration.” How perfect! “Did you miss me? I certainly missed you.”
Family Album honors “Celebration Day, a day when we remember those who are no longer with us.” Today there are 2 albums, a granddaughter honoring her grandpa and a son honoring his parents. Both albums are detailed in the telling, and the sentiments are beautifully expressed, as always, by a compassionate Michael.
On the Ball. First contestant: Sandra in Wimbledon. Michael’s taking his “doggies for a walk” in Wimbledon later, followed by a visit to the local pub (“of course,” he adds). Michael whines he’s had to watch a bunch of rom-coms with Cathy on Sunday nights (I don’t buy his whine – I think he enjoys them, especially when he admits he’s watched “When Harry Met Sally” 46 times). In between contestants, Michael plays “Part of That World” from THE LITTLE MERMAID and apparently he was singing and emoting along with it. I would give ANYTHING to have seen that! Alan is the 2nd contestant, and the 2 of them have a boatload – a BOATLOAD of explosive giggles! Michael again goes off on rom-coms. Methinks the man doth protest too much. And he talks about his home life with Cathy – ‘cooking vs cleaning’. On the Ball is fabulous today because of what it reveals about Michael. And for the laughs!
Orna’s segment has new background music. And of course she missed him! “It was only 2 weeks,” he says. “I didn’t do much.” Right, Michael. He can’t get over how all the radio jingles for his show are new. He can be such a kid, especially when he gets that wondrous, childlike tone in his voice. He then plays Michael Buble’s “It’s a beautiful day.” I can feel his all-consuming happiness today. It’s lovely. He deserves it.
Lily Allen, known for her singing, is Michael’s first guest. She’s rehearsing a revival of THE PILLOWMAN which will open June 12th at the Duke of York Theater in London. Michael says it’s REALLY funny and REALLY dark. Lily plays a writer who pens dark fairy tales as murders are occurring, which mirror her books. It’s also about relationships and, as she said, “the times we’re living in.” Lily and Michael compare their 2 productions and their 2 companies. She says she’s living the dream, to which Michael responds, “You deserve it. If you put the energy out, you get the energy back.” It’s always fascinating to hear Michael chat with a fellow actor, and this interview delivers. Enjoy!
Harrison Holmes, who has cerebral palsy, is Michael’s 2nd interview, along with his mum, Joan. Harrison hosts a show on Radio Lonsdale at Furness General in Barrow. Michael calls him a real inspiration and does a beautiful interview with this 22-yr-old man, bringing out details of his radio broadcast, of his guests and what music he likes to play. Meeting Michael Ball is Harrison’s dream. When he reveals his other dream is to work at BBC Radio 2, Michael surprises him with his own jingle. And he invites him to see ASPECTS OF LOVE. There are times when Michael so warms my heart. What a delightful young man Harrison is!
Michael wraps his show with a tribute to Tina Turner and plays “Simply the Best.” RIP, iconic lady.
After what had to be an exhausting week, Michael Ball just gave us two hours of fabulous interviews, great conversation, giggles and fun. This man’s energy is boundless. His enthusiasm and joy, infectious. I’ve said from the beginning that there are 2 Michael Balls: the Star & the Regular Guy. This week we’ve witnessed both as one was the toast of the West End and the other returned to the radio. What bridges the gap between these 2 personas was summed up perfectly in a review for ASPECTS: Michael Ball is “the nicest guy in show business.” I couldn’t agree more.
So, Michael … grab your keys and run a quick hand through your tousled curls. Oblige your fans with that dazzling smile, a kind word and a few photos outside Wogan House. Then head home, walk your furry friends and whip up your famous Sunday roast and potatoes (I’m trying hard to contain my jealousy here!). Spend quality time with your lovely family over dinner. Then load the dishwasher ‘properly’ (remember that “Loose Women” show). Later, pour yourself your favorite libation in your favorite glass, park yourself on the couch in your pants, and “veg” out on TV (a rom-com?). Tomorrow is your day off.
Have a good rest, Michael. You’ve earned your private time, my friend.