Zoë Ball

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Zoë Ball
Presenter Zoe Ball.jpg
Ball at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards
Born Zoë Louise Ball
(1970-11-23) 23 November 1970 (age 46)
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Residence Hove, East Sussex, England
Occupation Presenter, broadcaster
Employer BBC
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Spouse(s) Norman Cook (m. 1999; separated 2016)
Children 2
Parent(s) Johnny Ball
Julia Ball (née Anderson)

Zoë Louise Ball (born 23 November 1970)[1] is an English television and radio personality, best known as the first female host of The Radio 1 Breakfast Show, as well as for presenting the 1990s children's show Live & Kicking.

Ball was a contestant in the third series of Strictly Come Dancing. Following this she replaced Claudia Winkleman in 2011 as host of the BBC Two spin-off show Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two. Ball also hosted the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour in 2011 and 2015.

Early life[edit]

Ball was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, and grew up in Buckinghamshire. She attended Holy Cross Convent School in Chalfont St. Peter [2] and 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, Johnny Ball, was appearing as a guest.

Career[edit]

Television[edit]

She began her television career as a runner at Granada Television and researcher on BSkyB. She 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 Zoë Ball presented SMart with Mark Speight and Jay Burridge until she left in 1996. 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.

Between 1999 and 2001, she was a co-host with Jamie Theakston on the Wednesday night chat/music show The Priory, which was commissioned by Chris Evans's then production company Ginger Productions.

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.

Alongside Jamie Theakston, Ball presented Channel 5's quiz series Britain's Best Brain in 2009. Ball has guest presented several episodes of The One Show as a stand-in for Alex Jones.

On 4 August 2013, as hostess of a special entitled Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, she revealed Peter Capaldi as the incoming Twelfth Doctor and hosted his first interview in that capacity.

In November 2013, she co-hosted the BBC One Children in Need telethon, alongside 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 lasting for ten episodes.

In 2015, Ball hosted EastEnders: Backstage Live, a spin-off show during the EastEnders live week. She co-presented the BBC Young Dancer competition with Darcey Bussell on BBC Two.

She also narrated 2 ITV Specials, The Nation's Favourite '70s Number One and The Nation's Favourite '80s Number One as well as the BBC One series of 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.[3] She also narrated The Nation's Favourite Carpenters Song.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

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 and in 2014 co-hosted the main show whilst Claudia Winkleman was on leave following serious burn injuries to her daughter.

Radio[edit]

Although known primarily for her TV work, Ball first worked in radio, after she became co-host of The Radio 1 Breakfast Show 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 left BBC Radio 1 in March 2000 to bring up a family. Her final breakfast show was on 30 March 2000, and she was succeeded by Sara Cox.

Ball returned to radio in mid-2002 when she joined London rock station XFM, where she presented the weekday drivetime show until December 2003, and then in January 2004 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.

In September 2007 she hosted a show with Sara Cox celebrating 40 years of BBC Radio 1.

Since 2006, she has 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 the Saturday breakfast show on Radio 2; her last show was broadcast on Saturday 28 January 2012. Her replacement in that slot was Anneka Rice. Ball continued on Radio 2 as Ken Bruce's cover.[4]

Ball covered the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show for Chris Evans on several occasions.[5]

Since 4 March 2017, Ball has presented her own BBC Radio 2 show on Saturday afternoons, from 3–6pm, taking over from Dermot O'Leary.

Personal life[edit]

The daughter of the children's TV presenter Johnny Ball and his wife Julia (née Anderson, divorced when Zoë was two),[6] Ball was educated at Heston Junior School in west London 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.[7]

While 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[8] in August 1999. In 2003, the couple split up when Ball revealed that she had had an affair with a close friend of Cook, fellow DJ Dan Peppe. They were later reconciled.[9]

The couple have a son (born 2000), and a daughter (born 2010).[10] They lived in a beachfront property in Western Esplanade, Hove.[11]

On 24 September 2016, the couple announced their separation after 18 years together.[12]

More recently, Ball was reported to have been in a relationship with BBC cameraman Billy Yates for several months. On 4 May 2017, Yates was found dead at his home in south London. It is understood that Yates committed suicide by hanging himself,[13] and was depressed after falling victim to a financial scammer.[14]

Filmography[edit]

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1994–1996 SMart Co-presenter
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 Co-presenter 1 series; with Ben Shephard
Grease Is the Word Presenter 1 series
2009 Britain's Best Brain Co-presenter 1 series; with Jamie Theakston
2011— Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two Presenter
2012, 2013, 2016 The One Show Guest presenter 5 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
Hacker's Birthday Bash: 30 Years of Children's BBC[15] 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 BBC One game show
The Nation's Favourite Carpenters Song Narrator One-off episode
Film 2016 Guest presenter 1 episode
2017— The Big Family Cooking Showdown[16] Co-presenter with Nadiya Hussain

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Profile: Zoe Ball", Metro, Associated Newspapers, retrieved 21 June 2011 
  2. ^ Rachel Sixsmith & Carla Delaney (6 February 2006). "Zoe Ball: 'Holy Cross was like movies'". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "Zoe Ball to present new BBC game show". digitalspy.co.uk. 6 September 2015. 
  4. ^ Plunkett, John (27 May 2009). "Zoe Ball to host Saturday early breakfast show on Radio 2". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans loses voice on air". BBC News. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Sale, Jonathan (18 December 1997). "Education: Passed/Failed Zoe Ball". The Independent. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  8. ^ Williams, Gill (6 February 2005). "Holidays: Bed and bawd". Sunday Mirror. 
  9. ^ "Zoe Ball admits to new love". BBC News. 28 January 2003. 
    - "Zoe Ball regrets her 'mad period'". Daily Mail. London. 26 June 2006. 
  10. ^ "BBC Presenter Ball is pregnant". BBC News. 11 July 2009. 
    - "Zoë Ball, Cook 'welcome second daughter'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 January 2010. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "TV's Zoe Ball and DJ Norman Cook announce separation". BBC News. 24 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "Billy Yates, Zoe Ball's partner dies". The Guardian. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  14. ^ "Zoe Ball's boyfriend fell victim to conman accountant before his death". 8 May 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]