Are you ready to wake up with zany Zoe?

A bad girl past and dot­tier than Chris Evans at his most ec­cen­tric — as she takes over his Ra­dio Two break­fast show this morn­ing...

Daily Mail - - News -

ZOE BALL, 48, was one of the orig­i­nal in­spi­ra­tions for new term ‘ladette’ in the Nineties. The word is de­fined by the Ox­ford Dic­tio­nary as ‘a young woman char­ac­terised by her en­joy­ment of so­cial drinking, sport, or other ac­tiv­i­ties typ­i­cally con­sid­ered to be male-ori­ented ... Ir­re­spon­si­ble or brash’. The moth­erof-two has calmed down since then. Even so, to­day she’s ex­pected to keep up the mad­cap tra­di­tion of Chris Evans as she takes over his Ra­dio 2 break­fast show. Here, MARK MA­SON de­tails some in­trigu­ing facts about zany Zoe... A long-time chum of Evans, she re­vealed they once en­joyed a ‘drunken snog’. At HER ju­nior school (Farn­ham Com­mon in Bucks), she ate 18 Spam frit­ters in one sit­ting as part of a ‘pop­u­lar­ity con­test’. PRO­CESSED meat was clearly a fea­ture of her youth: while work­ing in a shop on the ham counter, she sliced part of her thumb into a cus­tomer’s serv­ing of lun­cheon meat. AS A teenager, when­ever she brought a boyfriend home, her TV per­son­al­ity father Johnny would em­bar­rass her by an­swer­ing the door dressed as a cave­man. on HER wed­ding day in 1999, she wore a cow­boy hat, car­ried a half-drunk bot­tle of Jack daniel’s and had a cig­a­rette dan­gling from her mouth.

AS THE first fe­male host of Ra­dio 1’s Break­fast Show, she hit the party scene hard. As a re­sult, she some­times over­slept. Stand-ins had to play the first three or four records.

In HER Brit­pop days, she’d play a game in which peo­ple hit each other on the back­side with saucepans and wooden spoons ‘to see who would get the big­gest bruises’. SHE’D stay out club­bing all night and then wake at 5pm. ‘I’d have a few shots of vodka and a bag of chips, then [go out] club­bing again.’ once, Zoe said she was so wasted that she ‘knelt down to throw up, fell over, smashed my head on the sink, and knocked myself out’. SHE met her DJ husband Fat­boy Slim (real name nor­man Cook) when he was per­form­ing in Ibiza. he said to her: ‘how would you like to not go to bed with me tonight?’ they pro­ceeded to go to ‘ev­ery club’ on the is­land, with her pre­sent­ing her ra­dio 1 break­fast show live the next morn­ing on no sleep. She could hardly speak. ‘As the show fin­ished and my high from the night be­fore started to fade, I looked at the ra­dio 1 peo­ple and thought: “I might get the sack.” ’

SHE lost her di­a­mond en­gage­ment ring. ‘I was too scared to wear it be­cause I’m so scatty, so I hid it in a drawer. I fear it has been given to a char­ity shop in an old hand­bag.’

Cook said he couldn’t have a re­la­tion­ship with any­one un­able to make York­shire pud­ding. So while he was in Ja­pan, back home in the Uk, she made one, took a photo of it and faxed it to him. Born on novem­ber 23, 1970, in Black­pool, she sup­ports Manch­ester United and has pub­lished a book called legs Eleven: Zoe Ball’s dream team. SHE says she con­ceived her first child (son Woody, said to be named af­ter the toy Story char­ac­ter) in Mex­ico on Mother’s day. She re­calls: ‘We ate amaz­ing ce­viche [raw fish mar­i­nated in cit­rus and spices] af­ter see­ing dol­phins’. later that night, rac­coons sneaked into their bed­room and she fed them chips and gua­camole. DUR­ING that preg­nancy — she’s since had a daugh­ter, nelly — she be­came ob­sessed with chew­ing rub­ber. She ate a piece of her dish­washer and nib­bled at a car floor mat. When ex­pect­ing nelly, friends sent Zoe rub­ber bands.

IN 2004, she was voted the Sex­i­est Fe­male Voice on the Ra­dio in a poll con­ducted by a brand of con­dom.

HOME was Brighton — and a seafront prop­erty with a gi­gan­tic ‘acid house’ smi­ley face on the roof. SHE and Cook reg­u­larly fre­quented the Big Beach Cafe in neigh­bour­ing hove which had been owned by paul Mc­Cart­ney’s ex- wife, heather Mills. Cook later bought the cafe. EV­ERY year on their wed­ding an­niver­sary, they’d go for ke­babs and eat them on a bench out­side the shop. Cook suf­fered ter­ri­ble prob­lems with drink and drugs — say­ing he had ‘al­co­hol and chem­i­cals rat­tling around’ his brain on stage. DUR­ING their bat­tle to give up booze, she gave his collection of hip flasks to char­ity shops. he was fu­ri­ous and she tried in vain to buy them back. Cook had a stint in re­hab and when Zoe was a DJ with in­die ra­dio sta­tion XFM, she had an affair with a lit­tle-known DJ many years her ju­nior called dan peppe. Con­se­quently, she and Cook split af­ter 18 years of mar­riage. THEY an­nounced their break-up on twit­ter, quot­ing lyrics from lionel richie’s three times A lady bal­lad: ‘We have come to the end of our rain­bow.’ SHE also quit ra­dio 1 in 2000 with BBC bosses in­creas­ingly con­cerned for her men­tal health.

IN 2009, she stopped drinking, say­ing: ‘I was a binger. Noth­ing at all and then I’d drink any­thing and go crack­ers and not know when to stop or when to go home. I found an amaz­ing ther­a­pist who helped me stop. It was hard, very hard. Even now when I’m on holiday and I see a waiter pass by with a tray of mar­gar­i­tas, it al­most kills me.’

‘I don’t think that slid­ing down a wall with a bot­tle of Sancerre in your hand at 6.30 in the morn­ing is par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive when you’re approaching 40 and you’ve got a kid,’ she once said. FRIENDS have said she can ‘flirt with a chair’. In­deed, it’s a fam­ily trait. ‘there’s noth­ing wrong with it,’ says her dad. ‘I like flirt­ing; it’s just be­ing nice and spread­ing bon­homie, lift­ing peo­ple’s spir­its.’ A CON­TES­TANT on Strictly Come danc­ing in 2005. She scored 35 for her first dance — the best de­but any­one has achieved on the show. But she said she dances ‘like Aun­tie Sylvia at a wed­ding’.

TO COPE with the menopause, she has said she’ll have more sex and take HRT.

TRAG­I­CALLY lost her boyfriend, Billy Yates, aged 40, to sui­cide in 2017. Af­ter her mar­riage break-up, she said the former royal Ma­rine-turned-An­tiques road­show cam­era­man had given a her a ‘new lease of life’. She re­flected on his death dur­ing a Sport relief chal­lenge — Zoe’s hard­est road home — which she did, she said, to raise aware­ness around men­tal health. SHE’S re­cently moved to the gen­teel Sus­sex vil­lage of ditch­ling — home to singer Vera lynn. the one-time ladette now says it would be ‘good fun’ to be a bell-ringer in the local church. CUR­RENTLY dat­ing a con­struc­tion boss. last June, she said: ‘Spe­cial mo­ment. 2 years no booze — through two of the tough­est years of my life. I’m not sure I’d have sur­vived in­tact had it had not been for my so­bri­ety.’ THE songs she wants played at her fu­neral in­clude Bring Me Sun­shine by More­cambe and Wise. Cer­tainly, a burst of Chris Evansstyle sun­shine and fun is what BBC bosses want Zoe Ball to give her lis­ten­ers — starting on a gloomy Jan­uary morn­ing to­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.