Michael Ball is limbering up for the Last Night of the Proms – but only after enjoying Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach and watching Sir Tom Jones strut his stuff!
West End star Michael Ball has confessed he’s an adrenaline junkie – with a passion for rollercoasters.
He revealed his love of fast rides as he prepares for a visit to Lancashire’s fun coast – home of some of the biggest and best rollercoaster rides in the world.
Michael said: “I love Blackpool and particularly the Pleasure Beach.
“I have been on the Big One many times and am something of a white-knuckle rider.
“I love the big old roller coasters – but I went on the Wild Mouse ride only once… never again!”
Michael is making his debut at the three-day Lytham Proms Festival this weekend – performing in front of the town’s famous old windmill.
He said: “I’ve lived in a windmill – when I was in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ – but I’ve never performed in front of one.
“It should make a spectacular backdrop.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”
Michael is currently standing in as presenter for Ken Bruce on the Radio 2 mid-morning show for two weeks, as well as presenting his own two hour show every Sunday evening.
He is also putting the finishing touches to his 19th solo album due to come out in November, to be followed by a UK tour in March and April.
And he also revealed he has been working on a Christmas film written by Victoria Wood for the BBC.
That Day We Sang also features Imelda Staunton and the Hallé Orchestra, who are performing alongside Michael at Lytham Proms this weekend too.
Michael is no stranger to the Lancashire coast.
He said: “I have performed in the resort many times and, of course, the ultimate honour was to switch on the Blackpool Illuminations in 1997.
“Whenever I do a tour I always include Blackpool.
“I always get a great reception from the audiences there.
Michael heads a stellar gathering for the Last Night of the Proms on Sunday. But first he aims to travel to join the festival crowds to watch headliner Tom Jones on Saturday evening.
He said: “I wouldn’t want to miss my old mate strut his stuff.”
Michael will be joined on Sunday by Lesley Garrett, Britain’s most popular soprano, and former X Factor finalist Rhydian Roberts.
It is a welcome and timely return for Lesley, who wowed the crowds in 2010 during the first-ever Lytham Proms.
They will also be joined by Kerry Ellis, Tenors of Rock and backed by the world-famous Hallé Orchestra, as the festival celebrates its fifth birthday in full voice.
Michael added: “What’s great is that we will have all those big voices on one night.
“The programme will have a really good mix of classics and it should be very powerful – and, of course, ending the evening in style with Last Night of the Proms.
“You can’t beat Jerusalem – in a setting like that and with an orchestra like that – it makes you proud to be British.
“It’s what we do well.
“It should be brilliant.
“There’s always something special about performing outdoors.
“It’s a unique atmosphere.
“There’s a really good interaction with the audience and real sense of excitement.
“There’s a certain magic as the sun sets and the twilight begins and the lights come up on stage and the music drifts out.”
The singer is also full of praise for Preston-based promoters, Cuffe and Taylor, for introducing free children’s tickets for the Last Night of the Proms, so that the whole family can enjoy the event together.
“It’s a great idea and introduces youngsters to live music performance,” he said.
It’s a familiar non-stop existence for the versatile actor, singer, presenter and housewives favourite.
For many years he has been in the enviable position of combining these individual aspects of show business with continuing success.
He will always be known for his hit song Love Changes Everything, as well as his breakthrough West End role as Marius in ‘Les Miserables’.
He is also the proud holder of two Laurence Olivier Awards – earned on the West End stage for Hairspray in 2008 and, more recently, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 2013.
Organisers of Lytham Proms are expecting another massive turnout for the three days of top music entertainment that will start tonight.
Chart stars of the 1980s and 1990s will go head to head on the opening night for the ultimate 80s versus 90s pop battle.
The 80s team is packed with talent, including Hue & Cry, The Christians, Howard Jones, China Crisis and Captain Sensible.
Representing the 90s will be pop legends Blue, Heather Small, Atomic Kitten and B*witched.
On Saturday, music legend Tom Jones, whose music spans the decades, is lined up to wow the crowds.
He will be joined on stage and supported by singing star and Catatonia founder Cerys Matthews.
Promoters have also arranged a host of international classical music and West End stars for the final night of the festival, which promises to be a spectacular evening of music, concluding with a breath-taking fireworks display.
And to mark the Sunday night fifth anniversary celebrations, all children aged under 16 will be able to get tickets free for that evening, when purchased with at least one adult ticket, to enable the Last Night of the Proms sound to reach a new, younger audience.
Tickets for all three nights are available from www.ticketline.co.uk or www.lythamproms.co.uk or by calling 0844 888 9991.
Prices start from:
Friday, August 1 - £35 (inc. booking fee) and £15 for children, aged 5-14. Tickets for under-fives are free.
Saturday, August 2 – Now Sold Out.
Sunday, August 3 - £35 (inc. booking fee).
Tickets for children under 16 are free when accompanied by a paying adult.