BBC RADIO 2: THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2023
Friends come and go in the theatre. You work together briefly and find fellow actors you can bond with during the run of the play. When the show ends, too often the friendships also end. But if you’re lucky, you find a handful of people who cross over into your personal life. And if you’re VERY lucky, they stay with you for life. Michael Ball has made many friends over his career, and for the most part, he keeps that part of his life private, as he should. Fellow actors sing his praise, not only as an actor/singer or as the leader of a production, but as a human being. Michael seems to know everyone in the business, and he seems to like them all. That’s the ‘public’ Michael Ball, the one everyone watches and admires. We’re not privy to his true feelings. Except in a few rare cases.
“Hello, my lovelies. Have you been affected from this big storm Babet? You have a big hug coming from me. Let’s party like it’s 1999.” And we’re off on another Sunday morning ride with Michael! “How do they decide on the names of these storms?” He says he’s only known one Babet (the mother of a friend) and she was a force of nature!
On the Ball. The first contestant is Edwina, newly retired. Having recently visited Las Vegas, they talk about how exhausting that city is. When the questioning begins, Edwina – gulp – chooses the middle one – HORRORS! “Have you NOT listened to this show???” Michael shouts. He is in shock after that – but still gentle with this sweet lady. He then plays Elvis singing “The Wonder of You.” How I love that song! The second contestant is Ashley, Edwina’s daughter, who jokes that her mother just embarrassed her on national radio by choosing the middle one! Ashley’s forfeit for her mother (if she wins) sets Michael off on a fit of giggles. This whole segment is full of laughter. You’ll have to listen to find out who the winner is.
Orna describes the devastation of Babet. It sounds awful with so many roads closed due to flooding. It’s also affecting the trains. Michael’s response to it all is to play “Hold On.” And later he praises all the music being played today – so many of his favorites. Well … it’s HIS show. He SHOULD like the music, but it’s his enthusiasm that matters. When Orna returns, Michael is especially happy to see her – he’s trying to fill the airwaves left empty by the lack of Brian Conley. And of course it’s filled beautifully with hilarious banter and gales of giggles! This was Michael & Orna at their VERY best!!
Michael’s first guest is Alfie Boe O.B.E., a tenor with a legion of fans and a huge list of credits on the concert stage, the West End and Broadway, including LES MISERABLES, FINDING NEVERLAND & LA BOHEME. Alfie has sold more than one million albums and is currently wrapping up a solo tour of the UK. He’s been a busy man, with a new book out, “Face the Music” and a new album “Open Arms.” It’s no surprise to see Alfie turn up on Michael’s radio show. After all, as Michael always says with a HUGE grin, they’re best mates. Michael and Alfie met in 2007 while doing KISMET at the London Coliseum and first performed together at 2 BBC Proms concerts that same year. Five CDs later – and a variety of concert tours together – and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael opens the segment by playing Queen’s “My Best Friend” and introduces Alfie tongue-in-cheek, saying he likes giving newcomers a break! They begin by discussing Alfie’s book, which Michael describes as honest and open about the struggles Alfie has gone through. It was quite interesting to listen as Alfie described being in the studio recording the audio book – he says it brought out ghosts from his past and was a bit therapeutic. Michael brings up one of their concerts when Alfie didn’t think he could get through it. He did, and he ended up being proud of himself. Michael was proud of him, too. They then move on to discuss Alfie’s new album, something he’s wanted to do for 20 years. It’s a compilation of classic rock music played with a symphony orchestra and a full contemporary band. Alfie Boe sounds like he’s in a good place. As he says, he’s smiling again. There’s more, much, much more, but you’ll have to listen for yourself. It’s too detailed to describe. Their camaraderie is touching. Laughter is the music of their affection, teasing is their dialogue. Yes, friends come and go in the theatre, but I suspect Michael and Alfie’s off-stage bond will last a lifetime, no matter where each of their careers takes them in the future. The segment closes with Michael playing Alfie singing “Wicked Game.”
Michael plays James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” reminding his audience that he once sang that song with Mr. Brown on his 90s TV show. “I don’t know how good I was, but I had a go at it. That’s what I can always say – I had a go!” That’s right, Michael. You are never afraid to ‘have a go’ at anything, one of your greatest qualities.
Michael’s second guest was supposed to be actor, singer, TV presenter and comedian Brian Conley, but as Michael said, he’s missing in action. I’m sorry to hear this as I was looking forward to listening to their conversation.
So many of Michael’s radio guests have a personal connection, but with Alfie on today’s show, this broadcast was the epitome of why THE MICHAEL BALL SHOW is such a hit. Michael manages to combine the personal with the professional in an open and easy manner that other radio hosts don’t – or can’t. He has no fear, not of bringing all aspects of his world to his listening audience, nor of admitting when something has gone wrong, such as a guest not showing up. He is who he is, and that’s why so many people tune in week-after-week to his BBC show. Every Sunday he gives them two hours of the highest quality and the most riveting entertainment on the global radio today. Thank you, Michael Ball, for once again kicking my new week into gear with your high-voltage energy, quick wit and laughter.
*CopyrightDeborahFezelle2023* This material is the exclusive property of Deborah Fezelle, Michael Ball & the MBFC.