BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, APRIL 30, 2023
What an iconic time this is for Michael Ball. He’s about to open in ASPECTS OF LOVE, a musical he knows like the back of his hand – only this time in the role of Uncle George, a fresh challenge. Simultaneously, he’s hard at work on the sequel to his highly successful novel, “The Empire.” AND he was just named celebrity patron to The Music Man Project, something near and dear to his heart, a heart that spills over to children of all kinds. Michael has a drive, a deep-seeded desire to bring music and joy into the lives of those who need it the most. Which is exactly what he does each Sunday morning on his radio show. Michael Ball fills the airwaves with his positive energy and infectious laughter, sprinkled with a heaping dose of music. And best of all, for 2 hours he’s just a regular guy, one of us.
Hang onto your cuppa. Here we go!
“Hello, my lovelies. Got a great show for you. That’s a promise!” And he interjects “Blankety-Blank” to the beat a few times in the opening song. Michael is a bundle of energy today – You can hear it in his voice. “It’s not my show, it’s OUR show!” He means it. He proves it every week.
Theme music: Cagney & Lacy. I was an addict of this show. NYC in the 80’s, one of my favorite eras in Gotham. And as proof of Michael’s great mood today, he sings or hums off & on throughout the show.
Michael sends a special Happy Birthday to Mark Jenkinson and tells him to “keep dancing, lovely man.” I’m sure that will make both Mark & his mom Janice’s day. So nice. And so thoughtful, as always.
On the Ball. Dominique is the first contestant. Michael ruminates on whether he’d be a good teacher, ultimately deciding he’d probably be a disciplinarian. And we learn Michael’s granny taught him how to knit. Dominique’s Aunt Mary is the 2nd contestant. The forfeit for both is choosing where to dine before seeing ASPECTS in May, which of course THRILLS Michael! BTW, he admits he likes a facial, proof of the care that goes into his ageless looks. We always learn new things about Michael during On the Ball, one of the chief reasons to pay close attention. A good segment, and Mary is a pip!
Orna and Michael have a few giggles as they talk about next weekend’s coronation. They really are adorable together. And a short time later, Michael makes an error with a cue, setting off a giggle-fit. He’s in SUCH a delicious frame of mind today! My early morning rainy-day grumpy mood has completely dissipated. Thank you, Michael.
Giles Wood & Mary Killen, Michael’s first guests, are well-known for their Channel 4 hit GOGGLEBOX. Their new book, “Country Life” expands on their TV show, describing their 30 years of living in what they call their grottage and focusing on life in their community. Mary is a journalist with a weekly column in The Spectator and is the author of 6 previous books. Giles is an artist & writer with columns in The Telegraph & The Oldie. These 2 are so charming. Lots & lots of laughs throughout this segment. Their humor is droll and self-deprecating as they discuss their life together in the country.
Make sure you have the tissues handy when Michael plays Ed Sheeran’s moving “Calling Hours” for the Family Album. Wow.
Michael’s 2nd guest is nine-year-old Betsy Griffin (and her dad Stuart) who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 2, leaving her blind. Despite many adversities, Betsy has a remarkably positive attitude and inspires all around her. She’s been raising money for special causes in recent years, has her own YouTube Channel called, “Betsy’s Positive Videos” and has penned a book, “Out of the Woods” which passes on her inspirational philosophy to thousands of readers. This girl is ASTOUNDING! She’s funny, she’s exuberant, she’s highly intelligent and she completely enchants Michael Ball. He is a delight when he gets around kids – he connects with them, probably because he’s a big kid himself. They speak the same language. And as a surprise for Betsy, Michael brings on David Walliams, her favorite author of children’s books. Walliams is HILARIOUS, teasing Michael endlessly! WHAT AN INTERVIEW THIS IS!!! Not to be missed. This young girl is SUCH an inspiration. I can’t stop smiling.
There was a time when I listened to the radio daily, especially when I was on the road, but this was 30-40 years ago. I have to admit Michael has lured me back to the medium. BBC RADIO 2 has some great hosts, but Michael is the key for me. He reminds me that sometimes a “voice” alone is enough, especially when that voice is the rich & mellifluous tones of a Michael Ball. The images he creates with his humor, with his colorful descriptions of everyday life, are far more creative & vivid than anything I can see with my own eyes. Just think of last week’s “boiled sweet.” In my mind, it became a melting blob of disgusting slime. The actual photo of the lozenge was tame compared to Michael’s hilarious description!! And by the way, the mystery surrounding that boiled sweet was trending on both Twitter and Instagram for hours after Michael’s show last Sunday. Now that’s what I call “influence!”
Today’s show is FABULOUS! But then, they all are, aren’t they? Bless you, Michael, for making me fall in love with the radio again. Your influence knows no bounds.