Education: Passed/Failed Zoe Ball

Zoe Ball, 27, presents `The Breakfast Show' on Radio 1 on weekdays and, on Saturday mornings, `Live and Kicking' on BBC1. She started as a `runner' at Granada TV and researcher at BSkyB. After Children's BBC, she worked on Channel 4's `The Big Breakfast'.

Fool's Paradise? I've always loved school, all the way through. I hated the holidays, which went on for too long. Admittedly, I was very haphazard, doing the work at the last minute. I got away with it because of my cheeky grin. All my school reports say, "If Zoe were as enthusiastic about her work as she is about playing the fool ..."

I remember my first day at school - "big" school, Heston Primary in Middlesex. I was so excited by the big building and the big playground and all these children. The others were crying but I was telling my parents, "Go." We moved away to Buckinghamshire and I went to the final year of Farnham Common First School, then over the road to Farnham Common Middle School. My favourite teacher ever was Mr Grandige; he was really inspiring and played us the Beatles. He played us "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and we had to illustrate it; we didn't know what it was actually all about! He is now a head teacher and two years ago I got a letter from him, asking me to open his school fete.

Is Zoe A Catholic? If you passed your 12-plus, which is what they had in Buckinghamshire, you would go to the grammar school. My father [the broadcaster Johnny Ball] was worried that some of the secondary schools weren't very good, which is where I would have to go if I failed. As it was, I did pass - but had already gone to Holy Cross Convent School in Chalfont St Peter. I hated being at an all-girls' [private] school. The convent uniform was oatmeal socks and yellow shirt; the person who designed it must have been colour-blind. And we weren't even a Catholic family!

Culture Clash? I discovered pop music very late. I was always listening to Songs from the Shows and Big Band jazz while everyone else was listening to The Clash and David Bowie. I went to see a Tony Bennett show. This shocked someone at Beaconsfield Young Theatre, where I used to cycle after Sunday lunch and was in three or four productions a year, and he gave me a lot of tapes of the Velvet Underground and the Sex Pistols. I forced myself to listen to these on my Walkman: "I will like this." Then I really got into it.

A Legend In Her Lunch Break? I used to do "Zoe Ball Productions" in the lunch hour and charge 10p: pantomime and re-enactments of Live Aid. They would seem terrible now but I lived for them. The headmistress was called Sister Kevin, which I thought was very odd, but she was one of my two favourite teachers. The other was my form teacher, Sister Immaculata. And Mrs Smith was fabulous. She taught English and didn't take any messing around. She made everything so exciting; she even made Chaucer exciting when we did The Pardoner's Tale. I hated the biology teacher, who used to say "Zoe Ball, you're a very silly girl", although I did get biology O-level.

Don't Know Much About History? I took 10 O-levels and got seven. I failed history but we'd only done part of the syllabus and I think the only person who passed had had private tuition. I failed French - and Latin, which was disappointing, as I had a great teacher. I didn't do much work on the set book, which was The Odyssey. Wasn't that in Greek? Could it have been The Iliad? Shows how much I remember of the subject ...

Guilded Youth? I escaped the grip of the nuns and went to Amersham College of Art and Technology. I did a City & Guilds in radio and journalism - at which I learnt absolutely nothing - and two A-levels, in English language and English literature. I dropped the English literature, which I've always regretted. Had I known then what I know now, I would have done three A- levels and dropped the City & Guilds. I got two A-levels, again with the absolute minimum of work: two Ds and also the City & Guilds. I was quite impressed with myself! Then I went to the City Poly [in London] to do media with geology - that was a joke! - and computer sciences. I left after four months. The lecturers said, "There's no point in your going to university - go and get a job." If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have done an English degree - anywhere that would have me.

Is That Mr Ball On The Line? My father regretted spending a fortune at the convent, when I mucked about; I could have mucked about free at a grammar school!

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform