Captain Tom: Michael Ball and Alex Jones send well-wishes
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Presenter Michael Ball, 58, admitted he used to pull a fast one when he was studying at the Guildford School of Acting. In order to skip his morning classes, he would make up some sort of serious excuse to get out of it, something he admitted was a cover up for being late.
I didn’t want to be expelled!
In a new interview with Gaby Roslin on her self-titled podcast, Michael laughed as he recalled his cheeky antics.
“I made the best mates. I didn’t work terribly hard, if I’m honest…” he chuckled.
“We always had that thing called ability in the morning… I invented a back injury and a heart condition, so I didn’t have to go!”
“It was at 9 o’clock in the morning, I’d been up late, I’m not going to make it, and I didn’t want to be expelled!”
He confessed that, at the time, he wasn’t sure whether he was going to go into the business of performing arts, but eventually found it was his “tribe”.
Crediting one of the team at the Surrey Youth Theatre as being responsible for his career, he said: “She said, ‘You should go to drama school, maybe that’s where your future lies’.
“And she got me a late audition at Guildford.
“I got in and literally from the day one, I knew I was with my tribe!” Michael beamed.
And indeed it was, as the jaunty, confident performer has gone on to have a hugely successful career as an actor, singer and a TV presenter, with his latest stint on BBC’s The One Show alongside Alex Jones.
But the cheerful and positive vocalist admitted the past year has been a struggle for him throughout the pandemic.
“It has really brought mortality to the fore,” he said frankly, in a separate interview.
“My own mortality, those I love around me and the fragility of what we have.
“We’ve all, by and large, been on the same journey, we’ve all worried about the people that we love, and missed them, we’ve all worried about ourselves, we’ve worried about the country and the world.”
Among those he’s worried about are his parents Tony and Ruth, both 87, who he hasn’t seen since last summer.
“What I’ve learnt is that it’s important not to allow yourself to spiral,” he said, looking at the positives as the UK moves out of lockdown restrictions.
“It’s very easy to get a negative thought and then to obsess about it and to let it take you down.
“You need to find your triggers and you need to break the moment and do something else and leave that thought behind. It’s really important. It’s almost like you’re tricking your own mind. But it’s easier said than done.”
However, it is something Michael has had to work hard at, after struggling with anxiety since he was first cast in the original London production of Les Miserables in 1985.
After suffering from glandular fever during the show, he was forced to take six weeks off but when he returned he began to suffer on-stage panic attacks.
Shortly afterwards he met Cathy McGowan, TV presenter and star of the sixties pop show Ready Steady Go! and as their relationship progressed he confided in her, and she has become his go-to person when he is feeling low.
“I’m anxious all the time, but that’s my private self,” he explained.
“That’s me behind the front door, that’s me with Cath talking about things.”
Michael’s episode on That Gaby Roslin Podcast is available to listen to from Monday 10th May on all podcast streaming platforms.
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