Bobby Ball

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This article is about the English comedian. For the American auto racer, see Bobby Ball (auto racer).
Bobby Ball
Birth name Robert Harper
Born (1944-01-28) 28 January 1944 (age 70)
Oldham, Lancashire, England
Medium Comedian, actor
Years active 1963–present
Spouse Joan Lynn (m. 1964; divorced)
Yvonne Nugent (m. 1974)[1]
Children 3

Robert Harper known as Bobby Ball (born 28 January 1944) is an English comedian, best known as one half of the double act Cannon and Ball, with Tommy Cannon. They hosted their own ITV show The Cannon and Ball Show for nine years between 1979 and 1988. Ball has since gone on to star in various sitcoms and dramas including Last of the Summer Wine, Heartbeat and Not Going Out.

In 2005, Ball took part in the fifth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.

Early life[edit]

Ball was born at Boundary Park General Hospital, Oldham, Lancashire, on 28 January 1944,[2] to May (née Savage) and Bob Harper.[3] He attended High Crompton Secondary, Shaw, Oldham.[4]

Ball went to work in a factory as a welder and it was here that he met his future partner, Thomas Derbyshire (Tommy Cannon).

Cannon and Ball[edit]

Main article: Cannon and Ball

Ball was one half of comedy duo Cannon and Ball opposite his friend and former colleague Tommy Cannon (real name Thomas Derbyshire). The duo's primetime Saturday night television series The Cannon and Ball Show, was one of LWT's most successful series, with consistently high viewing ratings that lasted for twelve years. They starred in the film The Boys in Blue together in 1982 and guest starred in the Eric Sykes slapstick film, Mr H is Late in 1988. Other notable guest appearances were The Kenny Everett Show in 1982 and Shooting Stars in 1996.


Year Show Role
1979–1988 The Cannon and Ball Show Himself, co-star
1980 Summer Royal Himself
1982 The Kenny Everett Show Himself, Guest
1991 Plaza Patrol Trevor Purvis
1996 Shooting Stars Himself, Guest
2001 Rex the Runt Wayne the Zebra
2004 Revolver Various Characters
The Royal John Wilson
2005 I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Himself, Contestant
2005–08 Last of the Summer Wine Lenny
2005–06 Heartbeat Mr. Turner/Topsy Turner
2007 The Afternoon Play Bingo Manager
2009 The Fattest Man in Britain Morris Morrissey
2009— Not Going Out Frank (Lee's Father); recurring role
2010 All Star Mr & Mrs Himself, Contestant
2011 Show Me the Funny Guest judge
2011–12 Mount Pleasant Barry
2012 Coach Trip Himself, Guest
Casualty Gerry Davies
Strictly Come Dancing: Christmas Special Himself, Contestant
2013 The Security Men Duckers

Other television work[edit]

Ball is the creator of the BBC children's cartoon series Juniper Jungle, which aired on the network in 1992.

Since 2009, Ball has played Frank (Lee's Father) in the BBC sitcom Not Going Out, appearing in the episodes: "Absent Father Christmas" (2009), "Life on Mars Bars" (2011), "Dads" (2012), "Therapy" (2013), "Boat" (2013) and "The House" (2013 Christmas special).

Cannon and Ball star in the Safestyle UK television advertisements.

Ball has taken part in two episodes of BBC One's Pointless Celebrities, the first in 2012 with Tommy Cannon. The second time he appeared in the show was for a Children in Need special in November 2013 with Lee Mack.[5]


Year Show Role
1982 The Boys in Blue PC. Bobby Ball
1988 Mr H is Late Driver's Mate

Personal life[edit]

Ball married his first wife, Joan Lynn, in 1964,[6] with whom he had two sons, Robert (born 1965) and Darren (born 1969), who are now a comedy double act in their own right, performing under their surname 'Harper'. Ball and Lynn separated in 1970. He married his second wife, Yvonne Nugent, in 1974[7] (although some reports say 1971[8]). The couple have a daughter, Joanne[9] (born 1972).[10] Ball and Nugent live in Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire.[11]

Ball became a born-again Christian in 1986, as did Cannon in 1992, with their conversion having a lot to do with the re-kindling of their broken friendship. Together, they published a book called Christianity for Beginners.[12] They now regularly feature in their own gospel and "An audience with..." show in churches around the country.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Biographies at
  3. ^ Birth details at
  4. ^ Biographies at
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ Marriage details at
  7. ^ Marriage details at
  8. ^ Biographies at
  9. ^ Death threats and menacing phone calls: Bobby Ball describes what it is like to have a maniac in the family
  10. ^ Cannon & Ball profile
  11. ^ How we met: Tommy Cannon & Bobby Ball
  12. ^ Christianity for Beginners

External links[edit]