Radio Recap – 7 April 2024

He’s B-A-C-K !! And in top form. Having come off a highly successful solo tour of the UK, Michael spent part of this past week in rehearsal for The Music Man Project’s “Music is Magic,” a concert on Monday, April 8th, in which he will be their special guest. These children and the mission of this amazing group means a great deal to him. But I also hope Michael was able to have some down time. Michael Ball is, by his own definition, a workaholic, his greatest joy. “I don’t have hobbies. Other than watching telly and walking my dogs, what I do is work. That’s who I am.” Many successful actors/singers are like Michael. They thrive on work. It’s where they live, what makes them get up each morning, what fills them up. It’s why they are stars. And part of the work schedule of this particular star is his Sunday morning radio show, something he loves doing, something he takes great pride in, a place where he can employ his talents but also be himself …
“Oh, I’ve missed you! How are you, my lovelies? You want a little less conversation? You’ve come to the wrong place!” And Michael opens the show with the upbeat ‘A Little Less Conversation’ with Elvis. “You’ve heard the news,” he continues, immediately bringing up his new show. Smart move, IMO. “Come June, I’ll be hosting ‘Love Songs.’ Which means we’ll be getting together 2 hours earlier.” Michael is upbeat, tons of energy this morning. He sounds happy to be back on the radio and is DEFINITELY having fun! And oh, how I love listening to that rich speaking voice. Michael came back to the airwaves in cracking form. Meaning it’s going to be a great show!
On the Ball. The first contestant is Giselle. Michael immediately compliments her classy name. Giselle talks about her partner Emma, who she will be playing against. They are apparently totally different, her descriptions making Michael giggle. Their conversation is quite adorable, full of Michael’s laughter. On comes Emma, who also talks about the relationship. She’s a chef who cooks for children, and her signature dish is vegetarian, although she personally eats everything. Michael, with a ready cackle, agrees that he eats everything also! During the questions, Michael does a VERY quirky imitation of ‘Angry Birds.’ Not to be missed! Michael just LOVES giving clues during these question segments, doing imitations, singing (at times, warbling!) and tossing out broad hints. This is a classic On the Ball episode, lots of teasing, lots of giggles and very entertaining!
Orna and Michael are reunited and they’re thrilled! “Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone?” He teases. “We’ve only got a few weeks left,” he adds, making them both sad. So we know for sure Orna will NOT be part of Michael’s new show. Traffic hasn’t been part of those early hours in the past, so I’m not surprised, just terribly, terribly sad. Orna Merchant has contributed greatly to THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW, always kind, always funny, always compassionate, always one of Michael’s greatest cheerleaders.
Uh-oh. Looks like Michael forgot to cut his microphone during the news broadcast! We can hear him. Oh yes, we can hear him! 😂 My giggles right now sound like Michael’s!!! Of course Michael apologizes afterwards, followed by his own giggles. I have to admit I enjoyed that! 😂
Three Dad’s Walking – Tim Owen (daughter Sophie), Mike Palmer (daughter Beth) & Andy Aires (daughter Emily) – each tragically lost a child to suicide. Through PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide) they will embark on another 25 day walk to raise both money and awareness of the prevalence of suicide in youth. So far they have raised over 1 million pounds, enabling many more branch offices to be opened and their Helpline to be available 24/7. Each of their stories breaks your heart, as a parent never thinks suicide could touch their family. These 3 men are doing their best to prevent it from happening to others. Their new book, “Three Dads Walking: Three Hundred Miles of Hope” is just out this week. They start by describing how they came together, a fascinating story, and they don’t hold back describing how these deaths shattered their lives. They “get” each other, which has been incredibly supportive as they cope with what happened. They talk about the blame, the guilt you feel afterwards. It’s an honest and frank conversation, so productive, so moving. “Suicide is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35 in the UK.” But no one talks about it, so these 3 men decided to begin discussing it. I am in awe of all 3 of them. Michael is quite touching in this interview, sensitive and thoughtful, asking the right questions gently. I continue to be in awe of Michael’s skill as an interviewer, no matter what the subject is. He always adjusts and approaches each one with finesse. Wow. Just wow. Afterwards, Michael plays Ben King’s “Stand By Me.” So appropriate.
Mazz Murray is a beloved veteran of stage and TV, a singer with a 3-octave range. She’s currently starring as Donna in “Mama Mia” in the West End, and next November Ms. Murray will bring to the West End a performance entitiled “Mazz Murray: The Music of Dusty Springfield.” No stranger to Dusty Springfield, Mazz previously sang her music in “A Girl Called Dusty.” Michael opens the segment with Ms. Murray singing ‘Money, Money, Money’ from “Mama Mia.” They start out by joking about Michael getting her name wrong before the news break, which led to his forgetting to cut his mike, which led to …. 😂 “So unprofessional,” Michael admits while laughing, as he apologizes to her and they both break out in laughter. Mazz goes into great detail about the Dusty Springfield performance, which focuses on her music, not her private life. Michael is proud to have sung with Dusty, as he should be, and he talks about it a bit. Fascinating to watch him switch gears after the last interview, both completely different. This one is about 2 actor/singers talking about what they do and how they do it. And their sign-off is hilarious!
It’s so great to have Michael back, but as always, the 2 hours flew by. I especially loved today’s show because it was full of Michael being Michael, like forgetting about his mike. I hope the rest of his Sunday is relaxing, spent with his family, cooking his roast and watching his telly …
Spare time for an actor/singer falls into two categories: you either have too much of it or not enough. Yes, Michael loves his work, but he also knows how important it is to relax between jobs, to recharge his batteries and regroup. Burnout is far too easy otherwise, and that’s not a word in Michael’s vocabulary. Outside of the business, there’s a great deal Michael enjoys – his family, his dogs, his telly, his garden, books, good friends. And then there’s his music, a sweet combination of work and play. Music is the epitome of who Michael Ball is, both the man & the performer. We know change is afoot at BBC Radio 2 for Michael, and there are questions surrounding his new show, all of which will be answered in the coming weeks. As I’ve said before, Michael Ball is an innovator, not a follower. And don’t forget – he loves to surprise! No matter what “Love Songs with Michael Ball” ultimately becomes, Michael will be surrounded by his passion – music. His talent, humor and joy will burst through, whatever the format. Michael’s personality is too gregarious to ever be tamed. He is who he is, beloved by legions, and he will continue to bring his true self to each new challenge.