Musical greats Michael Ball and Alfie Boe reveal their NEW ITV special is stuffed with festive fun and star guests… including a certain Dame of distinction
Christmas without music is unimaginable. Happily, there’s no prospect of that when musical maestros Michael Ball and Alfie Boe return with their third entertainment extravaganza for ITV.
Their latest one-off, Ball and Boe: A Very Merry Christmas, is stuffed with playful sketches, music performances and special guests, including the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey, actor Luke Evans and Grammy-winning singer Gregory Porter.
Here, good friends Michael Ball, 57, and Alfie Boe, 46, reveal more…
This is your third special – are you excited?
Alfie Boe: “Very excited! It’s going to be a great night with some amazing guests. It’s a diverse and stylish mix of people and a great seasonal celebration. This is the first time we’ve got festive with the show and we’re having fun getting into the spirit. We’re also celebrating our third album together, which is called Back Together.”
Michael Ball: “Yes, Christmas has come early. The line-up with Dame Shirley, Luke Evans and Gregory Porter just says Christmas, doesn’t it? I’m hoping Gregory will do something from the Nat King Cole era.”
You can both be quite mischievous – are you tempted to play any pranks on Dame Shirley?
Michael: “I don’t think we’ll dare, will we Alfie? The fact she’s giving us her presence is amazing. It’s a wonderful opportunity to sing with her.”
Alfie: “I’m not going to take any chances. I’m going to respect her throughout the whole show. I actually think she’s probably more up for a laugh than we realise. Anyone who’s worked with Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise and enjoyed it the way she did is probably up for anything. We like having fun but when you’re singing with someone like Dame Shirley it’s important to give her the moment to shine; she’s our guest. It’s going to be special!”
Speaking of Morecambe and Wise. Do you consider yourselves a double act?
Alfie: “For singing, yes, but not for comedy! We like to have fun, and enjoy each others company, and I hope that comes across. I’m very grateful to be continuing our Ball & Boe journey. We laugh as much as we sing!”
Michael: “The lovely thing for us is that we both have our own careers but when we come back together it just clicks and stays fun. It’s always a pleasure.”
Are you big fans of the festive season?
Alfie: “I love it, I really do. I like to think I’m a bit of a humbug but I’m not. I love Christmas and I’m already measuring which room is best for the tree! I think, Michael, you’re the same?”
Michael: “Absolutely. I put up three Christmas trees! That’s the answer Alf – don’t choose which room, just put one in every room!”
How do you plan to spend Christmas?
Alfie: “I’ll be chilling out with the family and eating my body weight in food!”
Michael: “This Christmas I will be with my family. Our traditions are lots of long walks with excited dogs, cosy fires and lots of food!”
Do you look forward to seasonal TV specials?
Michael: “I love it when the big comedies do a Christmas special that really works, like Only Fools and Horses and The Royle Family. I also love the Doctor Who specials. But nothing ever beats Morecambe and Wise… Although I heard a rumour that Ball & Boe have a Christmas special that’s going to knock everybody else out of the park.”
Alfie: “Really? That sounds like a warm, family event to get people in the Christmas mood. I’m going to set the recorder!
“With this show we want to create a warm, family, Christmas event people can look forward to tuning into.”
Michael: “That’s it exactly. We both grew up loving shiny floor Christmas specials. Hopefully celebrating with our guests and festive music will get you in the Christmas mood!”
Ball & Boe: A Very Merry Christmas airs on Friday 20th December at 9.30pm on ITV.