Born in Blackpool, Zoe Ball, 50, became the first solo woman to front Radio 1’s breakfast show. She currently hosts the Radio 2 breakfast show and Strictly’s It Takes Two. She has written the foreword to the new QI book, Funny You Should Ask… Your Questions Answered By The QI Elves. She lives in Sussex, and has two children with her ex-husband, DJ Norman Cook.
What is your earliest memory?
My dad wrapping me up in his coat on a cold, rainy night in the 1970s when our car broke down and we had to wait by the road for help.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
All the NHS workers, care home staff and teachers who are the real superheroes of 2020.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Telling people the ending of films, books or plays. I have to stop myself from letting slip spoilers on the radio.
What is your most treasured possession?
A collection of letters and notes from lost loved ones.
What is your wallpaper?
Always a pic of the kids. In delightful sibling rivalry, they often replace it with photos of themselves on their own. It’s always a nice surprise to see who it’s going to be.
What would your superpower be?
To remember what’s in the fridge-freezer when I get to the supermarket for the big shop.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I only ever wanted to be Barbra Streisand. I probably still do.
What is top of your bucket list?
The only thing on my bucket list right now is to spend a whole weekend with all my family, all together in one place and not on a ruddy Zoom call.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Eating Christmas pudding when it’s not Christmas. Everything seems to taste better when you aren’t allowed it yet.
What do you owe your parents?
A strong back and gallows humour.
What is the worst job you’ve done?
The failed attempt at a home perm on myself in the 80s. I wanted to look like Kelly McGillis in Top Gun.
How do you relax?
Watching Gardeners’ World in front of the fire on a Friday night. There is nothing better than an evening with Monty Don and the gang. It’s pure “warm hug” TV.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being mum to my awesome children, Woody and Nelly. They make my day, every day. I do joke with them that I’m happy to pay for the therapy they’ll inevitably need in later years due to my terrible parenting.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
The one and only Olive from On The Buses, specs and all.
What has been your closest brush with the law?
I was almost arrested in Camden in the 90s. I was caught dancing on a wall in only thigh-high boots and an overcoat. Absinthe might have been involved.
What keeps you awake at night?
My son playing drum’n’bass.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
That’s All by Mel Tormé.
How would you like to be remembered?
As Naughty Grandma – you know, the one who is always causing mischief at Christmas.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To hold those you love close, as we’re never sure how long we’re going to get on this crazy, beautiful planet.
Where would you most like to be right now?
At Glastonbury, singing and dancing with my kids and best friends. I have everything crossed for 2021.