BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2023
“Actors are stupid.” One of a handful of idiotic statements I’ve heard over the years. “If actors were intelligent, they’d have a ‘real’ job – they’d be a doctor or an attorney or a teacher. Something that mattered.” Really? (Can you hear my sarcasm?). “Actors read lines off some ‘dummy cards’ in front of a camera and get paid a million dollars.” Okay, maybe a few in Hollywood. “Stage actors? All they do is get up in front of people to show off. They’re all about themselves and their giant ego.” Has anyone ever watched an attorney perform in front of a jury? Or a doctor speak to a prospective patient about his special skills? Or a professor pontificate to a group of students? Trust me, everyone has an ego. “It’s not like you can LEARN how to be an actor! I never heard of a Bachelor’s Degree in Acting!” You mean the years Michael Ball trained at Guilford, a prestigious drama school in the UK, doesn’t count? All those hours he spent learning how to speak and move properly, how to convey with his body what he’s feeling inside, how to lose his inhibitions and display raw emotion to a theater full of strangers – none of this counts? Giving people a lovely and entertaining evening out isn’t something worthwhile? It doesn’t matter? “Anyone can do what actors do.” Hmm. I wonder if any of these geniuses could juggle 8 performances a week of a musical while writing a memoir. AND put together and host a weekly radio show …
“Hello, my lovelies. Well, it’s November the 5th. I thought this was appropriate.” After which, he plays Katy Perry’s “You’re a Firework.” Wow, I love that song, and it certainly woke me up! Great start, Michael. “I’ve still got my cold. But I’ll be a brave soldier.” Okay, everyone out there listening, all together: “POOR BABY!” And with that, we’re off on another 2 hour joyride with the fabulous Michael Ball!
With fireworks going off in the UK, Michael says he built a little fort in his living room last night for his pups (who are terrified of the sounds) and crawled in with them. Glad to know I’m not the only one who will do ANYTHING to make my pets feel safe and loved. Good job, Michael! BTW, any chance there’s a photo around of this event? I can picture 3 faces peeking out of a tent – Michael & the 2 dogs!
On the Ball. The first contestant is Rose. They commiserate about the recent rainy weather and discuss cruises, something Michael adores – “All you can eat buffets – that’s for me!” I’m with you, Michael. He gives Rose a hint or 2 on the questions, so adorable, although she does well. She’s playing against older sister Margaret (Many jokes about age between Michael & Rose, naughty children!). Margaret’s first words after hearing them? “I’m going to kill her when I see her!” Margaret is a tour manager and takes people on travels around the world, which enchants Michael. Margaret’s forfeit is that Rose has to do all her ironing, even her ‘small things.’ “Oh, you’re a woman after my own heart,” Michael exclaims. “Everything gets ironed!” BTW, Michael praises the show “Strictly” thoughout this program. He’s REALLY loving it. And I love when he’s passionate about the Telly. It brings out the ‘regular guy’ in him. Rose and Margaret are both so much fun in On the Ball. Lots & lots of laughter. Enjoy!
Orna’s up in Salford today. Michael asks if she staying away because he’s still got a cold (Time to mention that cold – It’s been at least 10 minutes!). Orna says eating a raw onion is supposed to help with a cold. Raw onions are not for Michael, although he confesses he loves pickled onions. Of course there’s a ton of giggles. These 2 never disappoint.
Michael’s first guest: Judy Finnegan was at one time an English television presenter and writer. She co-presented ITV’s ‘This Morning’ & the talk show ‘Richard & Judy’ with her husband Richard Madeley. She also made periodic appearances on ITV’s ‘Loose Women.’ Her first novel ELOISE (2012) was a bestseller. So was her second I DO NOT SLEEP, published in 2015. And now she’s debuting a 3rd novel ROSELAND, which is the main topic of conversation today. Michael and Judy reminisce about when they first met on “Richard & Judy.” Michael sang at the famous weather map of the show. Judy then talks about her evolution from TV to being a writer, how she developed her first novel, which is fascinating, and how her new one continues the story. She talks about her characters as if they’re real people (Michael ‘gets’ it & so do I). Such an incredible conversation between the 2 writers, full of detail and color and how a writer’s mind works. Once again, Michael shows why his radio show continues to rise in the ratings. When it comes to interviewing people in the arts, Michael is absolutely one of the best.
Michael’s second guest: Joel Mawhinney, a Bangor, Northern Ireland native, is a magician and content creator. He has a huge following on social media, where he is well known for his illusions. His passion for magic began when he was a small child, and he started performing at the age of 11. He is currently a presenter on BBC’s ‘Blue Peter,’ one of the world’s longest running TV shows, debuting in 1958. Michael brings up his cold at the outset, and observes that Joel works with kids, who are “germ factories.” Joel has paired with Michael and others to judge the Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser of the Year Award, which they both discuss at length. Joel Mawhinney is another example of a man who is both highly entertaining and highly intelligent. He describes facets of his illusions and magic, and Michael is like a kid on Christmas morning with all of this. They also talk about burpees (called bearpees for Children in Need), which is quite physical, involving a push-up followed by a leap in the air. For Children in Need, everyone does these bearpees to raise money. With a great deal of laughter, Michael says it’s just not possible for him, then says he’s willing to have a go. I’d give anything to see him in the days after he does this, complaining about sore muscles. Actually, when Orna returns for her second go, Michael says he just did one, and you can tell it wasn’t easy. It’s that kid-like whine in his voice that gave him away. Kudos, Michael, for always jumping into everything with both feet. Literally.
It’s another top-notch show for Michael. And for us. Funny. Entertaining. And INTELLIGENT!
Actors are stupid? Could a stupid person memorize and perform a major role in a Shakespearean play where ad-libbing isn’t an option? Iambic pentameter, anyone? How about memorizing and singing a role like Sweeney Todd (very little dialogue; 3 hours of singing) written by a genius like Sondheim who’s known for his intricate lyrics? Could a dimwit think quickly on his feet when lyrics momentarily escape him? Or when a fellow actor goes up on their lines during a performance, leaving everyone hanging? Could a stupid person take the stage alone at the Donmar, no costume, no makeup, a lone piano, and sing non-stop song-after-song for an hour and a half? That’s not only brilliant. It’s brave. Could an idiot put together his own TV show? Or radio show? Or handle a curveball question with grace during an important interview? Do these know-it-alls partake in as much charity work as Michael Ball does while maintaining an extremely busy career? Michael is an actor, singer, author and radio host at the moment, plus spearheading The Children In Need charity drive and a dozen other causes “that matter.” If that’s considered ‘stupid’ I guess I never met a smart person. Nor do I want to. The people who harbor these misconceptions obviously haven’t gotten to know an actor, any actor. Especially Michael Ball. His intelligence leaves them all in his dust.
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle2023* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball & the MBFC.