BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2023
Last week I focused on Michael giving us a safe place to go every Sunday, a place that’s familiar and comfy. Well, maybe that works both ways. Maybe the Sunday radio show also gives Michael a comfort zone, a place where he can relax and just be himself. An actor has to be ‘on’ in the public eye, displaying the persona his fans have come to love. But there’s another side to an actor, and that’s the side Michael brings to BBC RADIO 2. I don’t think it’s an accident that Michael’s show broadcasts on Sunday. Sundays are usually the day when we allow ourselves to do whatever we feel like doing, to put aside the tedious tasks for Monday. We focus on family and friends and fun. I think it’s the same for Michael. His radio show kicks off his Sunday, and then he goes home to cook and spend the rest of his day with his family (Make that onion gravy, Michael). The day belongs to him to do with as he pleases and, lucky us, he chooses to spend part of it with us, sharing whatever he’s thinking and however he’s feeling on that particular day. So what’s on his mind today?
His opening tells us he’s in a GREAT mood. You can hear it in his voice. Ste plays the possibility for the new theme music. Hmm … Kind of nice. And a little dramatic. Also, today’s Family Album is touching with talk of Grandad/Grandson. Michael always tells these stories with such heart. Oh – and he talks about the sweaters his gran knitted for him. Well … you have to hear it for yourself … Quite funny … mittens attached with a string … The images Michael conjured has me laughing. He never has a problem making fun of himself. Or those he loves. Something I admire.
On the Ball. Elaine is the first contestant, a decorator. Michael says he just had his home redecorated/redone. Elaine Paige is one of the questions, and Michael does a fabulous imitation of her laugh! Second contestant? Sarah Lovelock, a name Michael adores. A great segment. On the Ball never disappoints.
Michael’s complimenting a doubting Orna about never aging. Poor Orna is freezing in north country. Love their laughs together. No one fits into the mix of Michael’s show better than Orna.
Michael’s first guest is David Suchet, best known for playing Hercule Poirot from 1989 to 2013. He now has a show at the Hempstead Theater’s Main Stage, POIROT AND MORE, A RETROSPECTIVE. The evening covers his entire career, including Poirot. Such an amazing actor, I’d love to see this. Suchet calls himself the epitome of the old fashioned character actor. He was already 40 when he began playing Poirot. DO NOT MISS THIS INTERVIEW! I know I say this often, but Michael is superb at interviewing fellow actors because he understands them completely. This is not only a brilliant interview, it’s an important one that talks about the survival of the theater in the provinces. Both Michael and David Suchet are urging everyone to get out there and support the theater. I add my own voice, for what it’s worth. This is crucial!
Next up is Harry Hill, famed doctor, comedian and presenter, who’s written “Tony! The Tony Blair Rock Opera” which opens April 15th at Leicester Square Theater and then tours. It’s Blair’s entire story, which sounds complicated but interesting. It’s also billed as hilarious. This sounds ambitious in every respect. Michael and Harry Hill discuss the musical theater, how difficult it is, the hardest of everything done on a stage.
On Sunday mornings Michael turns up in the studio in his comfy clothes, his curly locks doing their own thing. I picture him prepped and tossing one-liners back and forth with Ste and the others, getting his giggle greased. When the moment arrives to go ‘live’ there’s no forced gaiety or flatline reading from scripted copy. No, he makes it fresh and his own because he loves what he does and he knows how to do it. The 2 hours fly by with his steady hand at the wheel. He can be cheeky, sarcastic, hilarious or sympathetic. One minute he can drop a giggle-bomb with a line about being around him after he’s eaten a curry, and the next minute he’s describing a family album, giving comfort to the people who are telling their story. The point is, he’s authentic. For 2 hours on Sunday mornings we get the genuine Michael with his mask down. I think that’s why he loves his radio show so much. It’s Sunday, and on Sunday he gets to be the real Michael Ball. And oh how we love that guy.
Try to be positive.
Always try to be kind.
And I’ll see you next week, God willing and a fair wind, my lovelies.”