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Zoë Ball

Zoë Ball
Ball at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards
Born Zoë Louise Ball
(1970-11-23) 23 November 1970
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Residence Hove, East Sussex
Occupation Presenter, broadcaster
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Spouse(s) Norman Cook (m. 1999)
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 on BBC Radio 1, 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 hosting the BBC Two spin-off show Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two and has been since 2011. Ball also hosted the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour in 2011 and 2015.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Television 2.1
    • Strictly Come Dancing 2.2
    • Radio 2.3
  • Personal life 3
  • Filmography 4
    • Television 4.1
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Ball was born in Blackpool, Lancashire. She joined 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.



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. The three only ever presented together once, on Christmas Day 1997.

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. Despite initial strong ratings, the show failed to capitalise on this despite the demise of TFI Friday (also a Ginger production) and figures slowly dropped. A fourth series was never commissioned. Despite the show's relative failure, fans of the former UK Play spoof interviews show Rock Profile, often recall the creators and future stars of Little Britain, Matt Lucas and David Walliams's, appearance on the show as Danny and Noel from Hear'Say, in which they constantly sang "Monday, Monday" after Theakston asked them a question. As Theakston was the interviewer on Rock Profile, he as a result reprised his role from that show.

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.

At the end of 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. In 2012 and 2013, Ball presented four 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 for The Voice UK called The Voice: Louder on Two. The show aired for one series lasting for ten episodes.

In 2015, Ball hosted the 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 2015, Ball will co-present Can't Touch This, a brand new BBC game show alongside Ashley Banjo.[2]

As of 13th September 2015 she is now the front runner to be chosen as a female presenter of the UK motor programme Top Gear (2002 TV Series) This is after Chris Evans was named as a presenter in mid June 2015. This is after the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

Strictly Come Dancing

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


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 antics contributed to the identification of the so-called "ladette culture" of the late 1990s. She later re-created the naked pose on a backturned chair made famous by Christine Keeler when doing an interview and spread with SKY magazine.

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 was twice warned by the BBC for swearing on the radio – first when she used the word "bastard" while being interviewed by Chris Evans during his stint on the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show (she was publicising her appointment to The Big Breakfast at the time); then, as host of the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show, for using the expression "fucking brilliant" to describe a night out she had.

She 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 Radio 1.

Since 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 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.[3]

Ball covered the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show for Chris Evans on several occasions.[4]

Personal life

The daughter of the children's TV presenter Johnny Ball and his wife Julia (née Anderson, divorced when Zoë was two),[5][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 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 an affair with close friend of Cook and fellow DJ Dan Peppe. They later reconciled.[9][10]

The couple have a son, Woody (born 15 December 2000), and a daughter, Nelly May Lois (born 14 January 2010).[11][12] They live in a beachfront property in Western Esplanade, Hove.[13][14]



Year Title Role Notes
1994–1996 SMart Co-presenter
1996–1998 Top of the Pops Co-presenter
2006 Extinct Co-presenter
2007 Soapstar Superstar Co-presenter
2009 Britain's Best Brain Co-presenter
2011— Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two Presenter
2012, 2013 The One Show Guest presenter 4 episodes
2013 Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor Presenter
Children in Need Co-presenter
The Nation's Favourite Elvis Song Narrator One-off episode
2014 The Voice: Louder on Two Presenter
2014 Strictly Come Dancing Guest presenter Three 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
Don't Tell the Bride Narrator
The Nation's Favourite 80s Number One Narrator One-off episode
Can't Touch This Co-presenter Upcoming BBC game show


  1. ^ "Profile: Zoe Ball",  
  2. ^
  3. ^ Plunkett, John (27 May 2009). "Zoe Ball to host Saturday early breakfast show on Radio 2". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 27 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans loses voice on air". BBC. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Hannah Stephenson , "Johnny Ball: Children's TV and the lost years of daughter Zoe Ball", Chester Chronicle, 29 June 2009
  6. ^ Births registered in March 1971, starting with B, ref: 1971B1-B-0071, via
  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". " 
  10. ^ "'"Zoe Ball regrets her 'mad period. Daily Mail (London). 26 June 2006. 
  11. ^ "BBC Presenter Ball is pregnant". " 
  12. ^ "'"Zoë Ball, Cook 'welcome second daughter.  
  13. ^ Petridis, Alexis (4 September 2010). "How the Fatboy grew up". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "Zoe Ball launches subscription YouTube channel". The Argus. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Mark and Lard
BBC Radio 1
Breakfast Show presenter

(until 1998 with Kevin Greening)
Succeeded by
Sara Cox
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