Radio Recap – 3 March 2024

“I’ve got soft features, curly hair with blonde bits and dimples. People think of me as a singer, an entertainer, someone who’s always there with a ready smile.” Michael Ball
The changing face of Michael Ball has been fascinating to examine. From adorable young newcomer to handsome and distinguished legend, Michael’s look has been redefined with each passing year. When Michael was in his twenties, he still had the youthful appearance of a teenager, the epitome of what the ‘juvenile’ leading man should be – blond hair, blue eyes and dimples that could be seen a mile away. As Michael moved into his thirties, he still defied his age, looking twenty-something, melding into a sexy heartthrob, a man women adored, a man women screamed for and followed everywhere. In his forties, those looks matured with an added few lines here and there on that classic face, giving his looks more definition and more style. His dazzling smile still reflected the stage lights, those blue eyes became even more piercing and that blond hair was tempered with different colored strands. Recent years have been good to Michael, a goatee giving him a suave, distinguished-looking image with the same eyes, the same dimples and that same perfect smile. Of course, we don’t get to enjoy Michael’s stunning looks on the radio, which says everything about how deep his talent goes …
“Hello, my lovelies. Let’s do this, shall we?” And Michael plays Bryan Adams & Melanie C’s “Baby, When You’re Gone.” A nice upbeat song to start the show. Michael matches the mood of the song – He sounds happy this morning! He should be. He has a tour coming up in a little over a week. We all know how much Michael adores the concert stage and being able to connect with an audience.
Michael has some fun with his Sunday Boasts, his sense of humor front-and-center. Yes, this man is DEFINITELY in a great mood today. It’s going to be a fun show!
On the Ball. The first contestant is Karen, and Michael starts out by mispronouncing the name of her town! She’s playing against her sister, the 2 of them having just gone on holiday for the first time since they were teenagers. Michael has fun teasing her, talking about “f-a-m-i-l-y!” You have to hear the way he says it – Hilarious! This is also a woman who’s been on many competitive shows – including “Catch Phrase.” Michael sheepishly admits to having been on that show at one time, and apparently he behaved very badly. Being far too competitive, he actually broke the buzzer. During the questions, Michael tries to help Karen out in the category of Science Fiction by making the sound of a dinosaur growling. Um, Michael, I don’t think that sounded like a dinosaur. This whole segment is fun because of Michael and his – what should I call it? – sound effects? I’m struggling here to find the right word. Anyway, Claire comes on next, Karen’s younger sister, who works in a children’s hospice as a fundraiser. And it turns out that Karen introduced Claire to her husband 38 years ago. Michael and Claire discuss the the movie “One Life” with Anthony Hopkins, which Michael adored and highly recommends. And when Claire says her little pug is curled on her lap, Michael is enchanted but can’t resist saying, “Pugs make noise from both ends!” You know what’s best about this segment of On the Ball? Claire brought out Michael’s giggles. Big time!
Orna and Michael talk about The Brit Awards before she gets right to the traffic. Football and a run will be snarling traffic, which Michael jokes that he will of course be in the middle of because he LOVES them both so much! 😂 I love listening to their mingled laughter as the segment fades out. “You know I love you,” he says when she returns for her 2nd segment. “I just hate the news you bring.” Michael and traffic will always be enemies.
Giovanna Fletcher is an English blogger, podcaster, author, actress, and presenter. Since 2019, she has presented the CBeebies series “The Baby Club” and won Series 20 of “I am a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here,” a survival reality TV series that puts celebrities out in the wilds and gives them challenges. She’s also starring in the West End hit musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.” Michael & Giovanna have some laughs over the differences between doing a play and doing a musical. When something goes wrong in a musical, it’s much harder to get through it because the music just keeps going! Giovanna also discusses the plot of her show and her role. I loved hearing about her 3 sons and how different each of them are. And how important family is, something vital to Michael also. Michael compliments her stint on “I’m a Celebrity” and says there was never any doubt she was going to win. She also talks about her podcast. There’s so much going on with this woman! She even discusses gardening with Michael, who confesses he’s going to try asparagus this year, along with his tomatoes and other veggies. A very enjoyable interview.
Lesley Joseph is an actress whose career has spanned over 50 years. Best known for playing Dorien Green in the television sitcom “Birds of a Feather” over many years, she is also a veteran of the stage, having been nominated for an Olivier for her performance in the musical “Young Frankenstein.” She recently played Grandma in the concert version of “The Addams Family” at the London Palladium and will now be playing Sister Mary Lazarus in the West End’s “Sister Act.” Michael opens the segment by playing “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” by the Eurythmics. Clever. Leslie talks at great length about “Sister Act,” which is such an entertaining show. The musical appeared at the time of COVID, and Leslie talks about how emotional it was to return to the stage after the lockdown. Michael can relate, as he returned to “Hairspray” at the same time. The 2 have one of those artist-to-artist conversations where we feel like we’re eavesdropping. So lovely. Michael ends the segment with a simple “I love you.”
And that’s it for today. These 2 hours fly by at a rapid pace. Michael closes the show with Elbow’s “We Have All the Time in the World.” So beautiful. “Be safe.” Michael’s signature sign-off. “Try to be positive. Always be kind. Take care, love lovelies. See you next week.”
Some may feel this recap is superficial, focusing on Michael’s countenance instead of his enormous talent. But Michael’s remarkable looks enabled him to play his dream roles – from Marius in LES MIS to Alex in ASPECTS OF LOVE to Giorgio in PASSION to Caracticus Potts in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG to Joe Gillis in SUNSET BOULEVARD. When he got a little older, he was able to adept his looks in order to play some distinctive roles, with a great deal of help from stage makeup – but those expressive eyes were still recognizable to his legions of fans. Think Count Fosco in THE WOMAN IN WHITE, Edna in HAIRSPRAY & the title role in SWEENEY TODD. An actor’s looks are part of his arsenal, whether they be gorgeous, bland or different. His looks play a part in whether he gets a role or not, or what kind of roles he gets. Michael never sat back, however, and relied on what was given to him at birth. He matched that chiseled face by working hard, learning and growing as an actor. And his solo concerts have adapted with him, are still electric and heart-stopping – and still have women screaming for him.
From the concert stage to the West End, Michael Ball became far more than “a singer, an entertainer, someone with a ready smile who’s always there.” Because of his striking looks and extraordinary talent in all genres, he’s developed a following that has remained true to him throughout the years. He is now and always will be a handsome man, a gifted work of art that only gets better with time …