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...

Scottish 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 Marine­turned-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.

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