Zoe Louise Ball
23 November 1970
|Spouse(s)||Norman Cook (1999–2016)|
|Partner(s)||Michael Reed (2017–present)|
|Children||Woody Fred Cook, Nelly May Lois Cook|
Julia Ball (née Anderson)
Zoe Louise Ball (born 23 November 1970) is a British television and radio personality. She was the first female host of both Radio 1 Breakfast and The Radio 2 Breakfast Show for the BBC, and presented the 1990s children's show Live & Kicking, alongside Jamie Theakston from 1996-1999.
Ball was a contestant in the third series of Strictly Come Dancing. Following this, in 2011 she replaced Claudia Winkleman as host of the BBC Two spin-off show Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two until her departure in 2021. Ball also hosted the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour in 2011 and 2015.
Zoe Ball was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, and grew up in Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire. She is the daughter of the children's TV presenter Johnny Ball and his wife Julia née Anderson. The couple divorced when Zoe was two.
Ball was educated at Heston Junior School in the district of Hounslow between 1975 and 1978. Her family then moved to Farnham Common in Buckinghamshire. She attended Farnham Common First School and Farnham Common Middle School before moving to Holy Cross Convent School in Chalfont St Peter and Amersham College of Art and Technology.
She also attended the Young Theatre at Beaconsfield where she trained as an actress. Her first TV appearance was as a child in the studio audience of the 1980s Saturday morning children's show, Saturday Superstore, on which her father was appearing as a guest.
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Ball began her television career as a runner at Granada Television and researcher for the Cool Cube on BSkyB. She then worked as a researcher for quiz shows for two years. Her presenting jobs have included hosting The Big Breakfast and The Priory on Channel 4, BBC One's Saturday morning children's programme Live & Kicking, and the pre-school programme Playdays. In 1994, Ball presented SMart with Mark Speight and Jay Burridge until she left in 1996. In 1995, Ball hosted Fully Booked for the first series. Between 1996 and 1998, she was a regular presenter on Top of the Pops, usually alternating with fellow presenters and DJs Jayne Middlemiss and Jo Whiley.
Ball co-hosted the 2002 Brit Awards with Frank Skinner, following which motherhood meant that she took less television work. In 2005, she co-hosted the BBC reality show Strictly Dance Fever. In 2006, Ball co-hosted the ITV programme Extinct, alongside Trevor McDonald.
In January 2007, she presented the second series of ITV's Soapstar Superstar, taking over from Fern Britton and Ben Shephard, who hosted the first series. In March 2007, she hosted the ITV talent search Grease Is the Word.
In November 2013, she co-hosted the BBC One Children in Need telethon, alongside Sir Terry Wogan, Fearne Cotton, Nick Grimshaw and Tess Daly. In 2014, Ball presented a BBC Two spin-off from The Voice UK called The Voice: Louder on Two. The show aired for one series of ten episodes.
She also narrated two ITV Specials, The Nation's Favourite '70s Number One and The Nation's Favourite '80s Number One as well as the BBC One series Don't Tell the Bride. In 2016, Ball co-presented Can't Touch This, a Saturday night game show for BBC One, alongside Ashley Banjo. She also narrated The Nation's Favourite Carpenters Song.
In 2021, Ball appeared on The Masked Dancer, masked as Llama. She was the sixth celebrity to be unmasked.
Strictly Come Dancing and It Takes Two
In October 2005, Ball became a contestant on the third series of the BBC One talent show Strictly Come Dancing, where she was partnered by Ian Waite. Ball and Waite were ranked in third place; they also scored 38/40 (including two tens) for three dances in the series and one in the Christmas special.
In 2011, she took over from Claudia Winkleman as the host of Strictly Come Dancing's sister show It Takes Two, airing every weeknight on BBC Two; in 2014, whilst Winkleman was on leave after her daughter suffered serious burn injuries, Ball co-hosted the main show. On 17 May 2021, Ball announced she was leaving her role as presenter after 10 years.
Her salary as a BBC presenter, for the financial year 2019–2020, was revealed to be between £1,360,000 and £1,364,999.
- Strictly Come Dancing 2005 performances
|Week #||Dance/Song||Judges' scores||Result|
|1||Waltz / "Take It to the Limit"||35 (8,9,9,9)||Safe|
|2||Rumba / "One Moment in Time"||32 (7,8,8,9)|
|3||Jive / "Part-Time Lover"||29 (7,6,8,8)|
|4||Foxtrot / "Isn't She Lovely"||36 (9,9,9,9)|
|5||Samba / "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In"||35 (8,9,9,9)|
|6||Quickstep / "Almost Like Being in Love"||36 (8,9,9,10)|
|7||Tango / "Tango Argentino"||38 (9,10,9,10)|
|8||Cha-Cha-Cha / "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"||32 (8,7,8,9)||Bottom two|
|American Smooth / "Passing Strangers"||36 (9,9,9,9)|
|9||Viennese Waltz / "Always and Forever"||36 (9,9,9,9)||Bottom two|
|Paso Doble / "Manolita"||33 (8,8,8,9)|
|10||Tango / "Tango Argentino"||38 (9,10,9,10)||Third place|
|Samba / "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In"||38 (9,9,10,10)|
|Showdance / "America"||N/A|
Although known primarily for her TV work, Ball first worked in radio, after she became co-host of Radio 1 Breakfast on BBC Radio 1 in October 1997 with Kevin Greening. She became the sole host, the first female DJ to do so. At this time, her hard-drinking, hard-partying lifestyle contributed to the identification of the so-called "ladette culture" of the late 1990s. She was twice warned by the BBC for swearing on the radio.
Ball returned to radio in mid-2002 when she joined London radio station Xfm, where she presented the weekday drivetime show until December 2003. In January 2004, she took over a Friday evening music show for the station. She also stood in for Ricky Gervais while he filmed the second series of The Office. She left Xfm at the end of 2004.
From 2006, she provided relief presenting duties for BBC Radio 2, fronted specialist documentaries, sat in for Dermot O'Leary for three weeks in February 2006, and co-presented (with Danny Baker) the hastily conceived replacement for Jonathan Ross' Saturday morning show, in the wake of Ross's suspension due to Sachsgate in 2008.
In 2009, Ball became the usual relief presenter for Ken Bruce's weekday mid-morning show on BBC Radio 2. She also began hosting the Saturday breakfast show from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on the network from 6 June 2009 as part of a shake-up of weekend programming at Radio 2. Ball left Radio 2 for a while as her last show was broadcast on Saturday 28 January 2012. Her replacement in that slot was Anneka Rice.
From 4 March 2017 until 22 December 2018, Ball returned to Radio 2 on permanent basis where she presented the Saturday afternoon slot on BBC Radio 2 between 3–6pm, taking over from Dermot O'Leary. She took a four-week break following the death of her boyfriend Billy Yates; and she returned on 3 June 2017, she opened her show with a tribute to his memory.
On 3 October 2018, she was announced by Chris Evans as the new host of The Radio 2 Breakfast Show, which began on 14 January 2019. Rylan Clark-Neal replaced Ball in the Saturday mid-afternoon slot.
Whilst at BBC Radio 1, Ball began a relationship with the DJ and musician Norman Cook (also known as Fatboy Slim). The couple married at Babington House in Somerset in August 1999. In 2003, the couple split up when Ball revealed that she had had an affair; they later reconciled. The couple have a son, Woody (born 2000), and a daughter, Nelly (born 2010). They lived in a beachfront property in Western Esplanade, Brighton and Hove. On 24 September 2016, the couple announced their separation after 18 years together. She began dating the cameraman Billy Yates in February 2017 after she split from her husband Fatboy Slim. Billy died in May 2017 after struggling with depression. In December 2017, Ball met Michael Reed through a mutual friend. They dated for two years before splitting up briefly at the end of 2019; they reunited in January 2020.
In March 2018, Ball took part in the 'Hardest Ride Home' challenge, which saw her cycling from Blackpool to Brighton to raise money for Sport Relief and mental health awareness. She set off on 5 March for five days. Highlights of the challenge were broadcast in a one-off documentary, airing on 21 March 2018 on BBC One. As a result of the challenge, she was able to raise a total of £1,198,012.
|1997–1998||Radio 1 Breakfast||Co-presenter with Kevin Greening||6:30–9:00 weekdays||BBC Radio 1|
|1998–2000||Radio 1 Breakfast||Presenter||6:00-9:00 weekdays|
|2002–2003||Weekday Drivetime||Presenter||16:00–19:00 weekdays||Xfm|
|2004||Friday evenings||Presenter||19:00–21:00 Fridays|
|2007||Zoe Ball & Sara Cox||Co-presenter with Sara Cox||13:00–16:00 Sunday (one-off)||BBC Radio 1||Special 1-episode show|
|2008||Baker & Ball||10:00–13:00 Saturday||BBC Radio 2||4 episodes|
|2009–2012||Saturday weekend breakfast||Presenter||06:00–08:00 Saturday|
|2017–2018||Saturday mid-afternoons||15:00–18:00 Saturdays|
|2019–present||The Radio 2 Breakfast Show||06:30–09:30 weekdays|
|1996–1998||Top of the Pops||Co-presenter|
|1996||The Big Breakfast||Co-presenter|
|1996–1999||Live & Kicking||Co-presenter|
|1999–2001||The Priory||Co-presenter||With Jamie Theakston|
|2002||BRIT Awards||Co-presenter||With Frank Skinner|
|2005||Strictly Dance Fever||Co-presenter|
|Strictly Come Dancing||Contestant||Series 3|
|2006||Extinct||Co-presenter||1 series; with Trevor McDonald|
|2007||Soapstar Superstar||Presenter||1 series|
|Grease Is the Word||Presenter||1 series|
|2009||Britain's Best Brain||Co-presenter||1 series; with Jamie Theakston|
|2011–2020||Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two||Presenter||10 series|
|2012–2013, 2016–2017||The One Show||Guest presenter||6 episodes|
|2013||Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor||Presenter||One-off episode|
|Children in Need||Co-presenter|
|The Nation's Favourite Elvis Song||Narrator||One-off episode|
|2014||The Voice: Louder on Two||Presenter||1 series|
|Strictly Come Dancing||Stand-in presenter||6 episodes|
|2015||EastEnders: Backstage Live||Presenter||One-off episode|
|The Nation's Favourite '70s Number One||Narrator||One-off episode|
|BBC Young Dancer||Co-presenter||Grand final; with Darcey Bussell and Clemency Burton-Hill|
|Hacker's Birthday Bash: 30 Years of Children's BBC||Herself||One-off episode|
|Don't Tell the Bride||Narrator||1 series|
|The Nation's Favourite '80s Number One||Narrator||One-off episode|
|2016||Can't Touch This||Co-presenter||1 series; with Ashley Banjo|
|The Nation's Favourite Carpenters Song||Narrator||One-off episode|
|Film 2016||Guest presenter||1 episode|
|2017||Saturday Mash-Up!||Guest||1 episode|
|2017||The Big Family Cooking Showdown||Co-presenter||1 series; with Nadiya Hussain|
|2018||Zoe Ball's Hardest Road Home||One-off|
|2018||Zoe Ball on...Saturday/Sunday||Presenter||1 Series + Christmas Specials|
|2020||The Big Night In||Co-presenter|
|2020–present||Celebrity Gogglebox||Herself||2 Series; with son Woody Fred Cook|
|2021||The Masked Dancer||Contestant||Llama, revealed in Episode 5|
- "Profile: Zoe Ball", Metro, Associated Newspapers, retrieved 21 June 2011
- "BBC - Zoe Ball to host the new BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
- Hannah Stephenson, "Johnny Ball: Children's TV and the lost years of daughter Zoe Ball", Chester Chronicle, 29 June 2009
- Births registered in March 1971, starting with B, ref: 1971B1-B-0071, via freeBMD.org.uk
- Sale, Jonathan (18 December 1997). "Education: Passed/Failed Zoe Ball". The Independent. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
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- "Cringe along with Frank". bbc.co.uk. 21 February 2002. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
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- "Zoe, Holly and Sinitta start search for new Sandy and Danny". 29 March 2007. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
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- Jackson, Jasper (17 March 2016). "One Show's Alex Jones and Matt Baker swap places in nod to BBC Breakfast row". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- BBC News (1 August 2013). "BBC News - New Doctor Who star to be unveiled". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "In pictures: Children in Need telethon". bbc.co.uk. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
- Gregory, Kim (3 November 2014). "8 reasons why Strictly's Zoe Ball just gets more awesome with age". celebsnow.co.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
- Shenton, Zoe (20 February 2015). "EastEnders live: Creepy man lurking behind Zoe Ball prompts hilarious Twitter reaction". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
- "Darcey Bussell to front BBC's search for UK's best young dancer". The Guardian. UK. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- "10 things we learned during episode one of the new series of Don't Tell The Bride on BBC One". The Argus. 24 June 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
- "Zoe Ball to present new BBC game show". digitalspy.co.uk. 6 September 2015.
- "Zoe Ball". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
- Sansome, Jessica (3 July 2020). "Who is on Celebrity Gogglebox 2020? Full cast list". men. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
- Jones, Paul (6 July 2011). "Strictly Ball-room: Zoë is the new It Takes Two host". Radio Times. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
- "BBC Group Annual Report 2019-20" (PDF).
- "Zoe Ball and the 90s ladettes: Where are they now?". celebsnow.co.uk. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
- "Radio report slams swearing". bbc.co.uk. 24 July 2000. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
- "BBC Genome Project". Zoe Ball. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
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- Day, Julia (16 December 2003). "Ball quits Xfm drivetime slot". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- Plunkett, John (27 May 2009). "Zoe Ball to host Saturday early breakfast show on Radio 2". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- "BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans loses voice on air". BBC News. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
- "Zoe Ball thanks her fans in first radio show since the death of boyfriend Billy Yates". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
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- "Zoe Ball admits to new love". BBC News. 28 January 2003.
- "BBC Presenter Ball is pregnant". BBC News. 11 July 2009.
- "Zoë Ball, Cook 'welcome second daughter'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- Petridis, Alexis (4 September 2010). "How the Fatboy grew up". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
- "Zoe Ball launches subscription YouTube channel". The Argus. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
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- "Zoe Ball and boyfriend Michael Reed 'split after nearly two years together'". 19 November 2019.
- "Presenter Zoe Ball riding through Shropshire in memory of her partner".
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- "Zoe's Hardest Road Home". 24 May 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "CBBC offers life-line to Gordon The Gopher as stars reunite to celebrate 30 years of live Children's BBC Presentation". www.bbc.co.uk.
- Furness, Hannah (3 March 2017). "'I just don't sleep': Nadiya Hussain set for new family challenge ahead of Bake Off battle". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 March 2017.