Ball and Boe: Michael and Alfie join forces again for second TV special

~ Sunday Express ~ 28/10/2017 ~

When Alfie Boe and Michael Ball met 10 years ago, they had no idea they would eventually be working together and touring the world as a duo.

“When we first met each other I thought, ‘He’s younger than me, better-looking than me, sings better than me,’” recalls Michael, 55, with a laugh.

“That was 10 years ago, when we were taking part in Kismet,” he adds, referring to the nightmare that was the English National Opera’s revival of the 1953 Broadway musical.

It did not work as a show and got horrendous critic reviews.

“I was impressed by how he kept everyone together when there was a really hard job to do,” says Alfie, 44.

“We went through a lot together on that, and here we are still friends.

Alfie, the nation’s biggest-selling tenor, first performed with double Olivier Award-winning Michael at the world famous Proms in London.

Now they are on their second album, Together Again, and their second TV special Ball And Boe: Back Together, which goes out this week on ITV.

Together Again sees the two friends follow the amazing success of their debut record Together, which was not only 2016’s best-selling album in the UK (beating the likes of the Rolling Stones and Little Mix) but soared to the Christmas number one album slot last year, reaching double-platinum status.

The latest album features West End and Broadway classics, with a West Side Story medley and old favourites Bring Me Sunshine and New York, New York.

Some of these songs will also be performed on their TV special, where they’ll also be joined by special guests Imelda May and Jason Manford.

Michael reveals, “Jason and Imelda absolutely got into the spirit of the whole thing and performed magnificently. 

"The only real worry from me was that we were dancing with Jason.” They both laugh.

“Yeah,” admits Alfie, “that was the biggest pressure of the night.”

“And funnily enough neither of us are trained dancers,” laughs Michael, adding, “I know you wouldn’t know it to look at us but...”

No chance of a call up to Strictly Come Dancing any time soon then, Michael? “I’m waiting for Matthew Bourne to call and ask me to join Swan Lake.

"I think I’m a natural,” he deadpans.

Ball and Boe have a great relationship, which is evident from their easy camaraderie and admiration for each other.

But being so close means they have to have some very honest conversations, too.

“We do – those conversations are important to go through, especially if we don’t think something is right for the show or an album,” says Alfie.

“When we are coming up with a repertoire for an album, we have to talk about the key it will be sung in or the arrangement. It’s a creative process and we have to make sure that we compromise and are both doing our best for the project.” Michael agrees. “

We wouldn’t be able to do this job if that got in the way. I hear about people working together that never speak to each other. How does that work?

I can’t imagine going on stage with someone I’m not speaking to.”

Alfie adds that they’ve always been very supportive of one another.

“I think that’s the best thing, because we encourage each other to do the best job we possibly can. We get each other through the hard times and good times as well.”

So could they foresee a third album and TV show?

“I would like to think so, eventually.

"This album will take us to the end of the year. We’ll tour the UK from the end of November, this time with fewer dates but at arenas, which is an exciting prospect,” says Michael.

“And then we are doing a little tour in Japan, before doing our own solo stuff for a bit. But if there’s a big enough appetite then you will certainly see us back together again.”

Alfie agrees.

“We are enjoying this project, so if people still want it then we will pull material out of the bag. We’d be more than happy to keep going.”s

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