After a year which has seen her fill in on one on BBC1’s most popular shows at the very last moment, it must be almost a relief for veteran presenter Zoë Ball to return to the Bafta red carpet for another year. Before she glammed up for the awards, we had a chance to catch up with her for all the goss from previous years – and find out some of her small screen favourites as well.
This is your fifth year doing the Bafta red carpet. Who have you been most starstruck by?
Meryl Streep got me to hold her up because she was a bit shocked after winning her best actress award [for The Iron Lady in 2012]. Then last year I had this lovely moment when Brad Pitt turned to me at the end of the interview and said, “You did good, girl!” You have all these random little moments with your big-screen heroes.
Which film are you rooting for this year?
The Theory of Everything. My stepdad lost his life to motor neurone disease. Eddie Redmayne is just outstanding as Stephen Hawking. The way he portrays him as he deteriorates is uncanny.
How did you feel standing in for Claudia Winkleman [following her daughter’s accident] on the Strictly live shows last year?
Fear and terror, but I didn’t have much time to panic. They called me at 8am on the Saturday, I grabbed a frock and on we went.
There were calls for you to become a permanent host…
It’s very lovely when people say such nice things but it’s Tess and Claud’s (below) show and my show’s It Takes Two. We’re all pretty happy like that.
You’re just finishing the Strictly live tour. Any wild nights out with the contestants?
They’re all a bit younger than me so I haven’t been out as much as they have, but I did find myself listening to Thom Evans, Joanne Clifton, Scott Mills and Craig Revel Horwood singing Celine Dion songs until 4am, which was pretty terrifying.
You used to be known as a bit of a party girl. What’s your idea of a dream Friday night?
Staying in, watching BBC4 music documentaries. It’s the new going out! They did a brilliant one on Jimi Hendrix. My husband [DJ Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim] makes me steak and greens or a snack tray like a smorgasbord, which we call Norman’s Board.
What are you hooked on now?
Wolf Hall – I’m obsessed with Mark Rylance. I saw him in a stage production of Much Ado about Nothing when I was 14 and ever since then I’ve thought he’s one of the country’s most amazing actors.
What’s the first thing you turn on in the morning?
If I’m at home with Norm, it’s BBC Breakfast. We were devastated when Sian [Williams] left. Bill Turnbull and Sian were our favourites. If I’m in the car with the kids, they like Grimmy [Nick Grimshaw] on Radio 1.
Have your children, Woody (15) and Nelly (five), introduced you to any shows?
Woody watches The Inbetweeners. It’s hilarious. Obviously there are awkward moments but I’m quite frank with him. It’s a good education. With Nelly, we’ve all seen every episode of Peppa Pig ever made. I do worry about them having too much screen time, but my favourite thing as a kid was watching films with my grandma and it never did me any harm.
Who’s your TV crush?
Most of the cast of The Good Wife. One day I love Kalinda [Archie Panjabi] and the next it’s Diane [Christine Baranski]. They’re both amazing.
Zoë Ball will be presenting for bafta.org. Watch the Baftas on Sunday 8th February at 9.00pm