BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, JULY 9, 2023
Resilience. An important word in the entertainment industry. Celebrities come and go. They burst onto the scene, their star burning bright, until the next big sensation replaces them. The great ones, the smart ones, never disappear. They constantly reinvent themselves, understanding that their career is a journey, not a sprint. Their talent is honed with each passing year, their instincts are sharpened. And when adversity strikes, they’re a phoenix, rising from the ashes, able to move on. Their world is the theater, a concert stage or a recording studio. And in front of a microphone at BBC Radio 2 …
“Was my mike open while you were doing the news?” Michael asks Katherine, the newscaster. She laughed. “I thought you were getting involved.” Michael’s response? “At least I didn’t say anything wrong!” And so the show begins today … with a misstep and a giggle. Loved it! “Hello, my lovelies. What’s our theme this week?” Okay, now we’re back on track. “Remember, it’s not my MY show. It’s OUR show.”
On the Ball. First contestant is Smiley, who’s a clown by profession. Michael’s fabulous giggle is on full display during this segment. And it’s infectious! The second contestant is Steven, Smiley’s partner. Michael talks musicals with him, and there’s a good rapport between the two.
Next is Orna, who’s not in the studio this week. Michael moans that he doesn’t get out much anymore, that he’s chained to the desk (meaning he’s writing). He also moans about road work, gritting his teeth. Well, I guess we all have to moan at times, even Michael Ball. Their second segment is hilarious as Orna talks about Wimbledon, something Michael knows NOTHING about! They are ON today and adorable.
Michael plays “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood before introducing his first guest, Holly Johnson, the lead vocalist for the group. In May, Johnson and the other members of the group reunited for a performance of this famous song at the opening night of Eurovision (celebrating the 40th anniversary). Johnson is doing a long tour this fall with extra dates added because of the demand. Weaving into my theme of this recap (Bless you, Michael!), they discuss longevity of a career and how Johnson would love to retire. Finally they talk about the making of RELAX, a musical bio based on Holly’s autobiography “A Bone in My Flute, starring Callum Scott Howells as Johnson. The segment closes with Michael playing Holly’s song, “Amercanos.”
Michael treats us to the new song “You Can’t Be Twenty-One Forever” sung by Chris Janson, Slash & Dolly Parton. “So true,” he sighs afterwards. Michael is so transparent, revealing how he feels about EVERYTHING. One of the things I admire most about him.
Michael gives us the song “Murder on the Dance Floor” before we meet his second guest, Sophie Ellis-Bextor. This musician just released her seventh solo album “Hana”, a candid record loosely inspired by a family trip to Japan. She and Michael discuss festivals, which she adores doing, also how to balance everything in their lives. She’s a charming lady, refreshing and honest, as she talks about all the balls she’s juggling, plus being a mother of 5. It’s a lovely interview from beginning to end with lots of laughter and warm conversation. The segment closes with her song, “Beyond the Universe.” (Michael plans the format of these interviews perfectly, IMO).
“Try to keep positive. ALWAYS be kind. And I’ll see you next week. Bye, bye, my lovelies.” Sadly, as always, the 2 hour show wraps far too quickly, leaving us hungry for more …
Michael’s resilience was borne from a passion deep inside him. It’s a fire in his gut that can’t be extinguished. He comes alive in front of an audience, whether creating a multi-dimensional character in a West End musical or standing center stage, microphone in hand, telling a story with a song in concert. It’s his life sustenance. He wears his heart on his sleeve, draws on his emotions, things he feels down to his bones, making us feel them, too. He’s the very definition of an artist, and it’s what’s given him a career that’s lasted decades. Michael is a smart man. A very smart man.
Resilience. Michael has endless resilience. There is no expiration date stamped on him. Michael Ball will continue to wow audiences and his fans as long as that flame burns bright inside him.
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle2023* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball and the MBFC.