Bobby Ball

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Bobby Ball
Born Robert Harper
(1944-01-28) 28 January 1944 (age 74)
Oldham, Lancashire, England
Residence Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England
Occupation Comedian, actor, singer
Years active 1963–present
Joan Lynn
(m. 1964; div. 1970)

Yvonne Nugent
(m. 1974)
Children 3
Website Official website

Robert Harper (born 28 January 1944), known professionally as Bobby Ball, is an English comedian, actor, and singer. He is 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 in Oldham, Lancashire, on 28 January 1944,[1] to May (née Savage) and Bob Harper.[2] He attended High Crompton Secondary, Shaw, Oldham.[1] Ball, later went to work in a factory as a welder, where he also met his future partner, Thomas Derbyshire (Tommy Cannon).[3]


Cannon and Ball[edit]

Ball is one half of comedy duo Cannon and Ball, opposite his friend and colleague Tommy Cannon. 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.

Cannon and Ball competed in the fifth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, and in 2011, Cannon and Ball were guest judges on one episode of ITV's Show Me the Funny'.


Ball is the creator of the BBC children's cartoon series Juniper Jungle, which aired in 1992. He played Mr. Turner (also known as Topsy Turner) in the ITV drama series Heartbeat from 2005-2006. From 2005 - 2008, he played Lenny in the BBC series Last of the Summer Wine. In 2009, Ball starred in the comedy The Fattest Man in Britain playing Morris Morrissey.

Since 2009, Ball has played Frank in the long-running BBC One Sitcom Not Going Out, he first made a guest appearance in the 2009 and two further guest appearance in 2011 (Series 4) and 2012 (Series 5), but since became a recurring fixture from series 6 onwards appearing in roughly three episodes per series, he also was a main character in the 2015 Christmas special. He returned alongside the cast for the eighth series in 2017.

He has played Barry in the Sky1 sitcom series Mount Pleasant since 2011. 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.[4]

In 2013, Ball played the role of Duckers in the ITV sitcom pilot The Security Men, starring alongside the likes of Brendan O'Carroll and Paddy McGuinness. The episode, written by Caroline Aherne and Jeff Pope, was later not picked up for a full series. Cannon and Ball will appear in ITV's Last Laugh in Vegas in 2018. Cannon and Ball have also previously starred in the Safestyle UK television advertisements.[5]

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. Ball married his second wife, Yvonne Nugent,[7] in 1974[8] (although some reports say 1971).[1] In an interview on BBC Tees on 28 June 2016, Ball said that he met Yvonne while performing with Cannon at a club in Norton, County Durham: "We were playing there ... she came downstairs in a little mini skirt, looked at me and Tommy, shook her head and walked away. I thought, 'I'd spend my life with her.'" Ball and his wife live in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.[9]

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.[10] They now regularly feature in their own gospel and "An audience with..." show in churches around the country.


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
2010 All Star Mr & Mrs Himself, Contestant
2011 Show Me the Funny Guest judge
2011–2017 Mount Pleasant Barry
2012 Coach Trip Himself, Guest
Casualty Gerry Davies
Strictly Come Dancing: Christmas Special Himself, Contestant
2013 The Security Men Duckers
2018 Last Laugh in Vegas[11] Himself
2018 Benidorm Ron Pickford
Year Show Role
1982 The Boys in Blue PC. Bobby Ball
1988 Mr H is Late Driver's Mate


  1. ^ a b c "Cannon & Ball.Com - Cannon and Ball Biographies".
  2. ^ "Pay as you go".
  3. ^ "How we met: Tommy Cannon & Bobby Ball". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  4. ^ Jamie Harris (14 November 2013). "McFly, Lee Mack, Terry Wogan for 'Pointless' Children in Need special". Digital Spy.
  5. ^ "Safestyle UK - Cannon & Ball". Telly Ads. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  6. ^ "Pay as you go".
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Pay as you go".
  9. ^ "How we met: Tommy Cannon & Bobby Ball - Profiles - News - The Independent". The Independent. 24 December 2006.
  10. ^ Christianity for Beginners Archived 13 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^

External links[edit]