This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2020)
28 January 1944
Oldham, Lancashire, England
|Died||28 October 2020 (aged 76)|
|Occupation||Comedian and Actor|
(m. 1964; div. 1970)
Robert Harper (28 January 1944 – 28 October 2020), known professionally as Bobby Ball, was a British comic, actor, singer and television host. He was best known as a member of the comic double act Cannon and Ball, with Tommy Cannon (real name Thomas Derbyshire).
They hosted their own ITV show, The Cannon and Ball Show, for nine years between 1979 and 1988. Ball then went on to star in various sitcoms and dramas including Last of the Summer Wine, Heartbeat and Not Going Out. In 2005, Ball took part in the fifth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.
Ball was born at Boundary Park General Hospital in Oldham, Lancashire, on 28 January 1944, to May (née Savage) and Bob Harper. He attended Crompton House C of E school, Shaw, Oldham, and briefly studied Shipping Management at Wigan Mining & Technical College before going to work in a factory as a welder, where he also met his future partner in comedy, Thomas Derbyshire (Tommy Cannon).
Ball was one half of comedy duo Cannon and Ball, opposite his friend and colleague Tommy Cannon. The duo's primetime Saturday night television series The Cannon and Ball Show, was one of LWT's most successful series, with consistently high viewing ratings that lasted for twelve years. They starred in the film The Boys in Blue together in 1982 and guest starred in the Eric Sykes slapstick film, Mr H Is Late, in 1988. Other notable guest appearances were The Kenny Everett Television Show in 1982 and Shooting Stars in 1996.
Cannon and Ball competed in the fifth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, and in 2011, Cannon and Ball were guest judges on one episode of ITV's Show Me the Funny.
Ball was the creator of the ITV children's cartoon series Military Style!, which aired in 1990, and the BBC children's cartoon series Juniper Jungle, which aired in 1992. He played Mr. Turner (also known as Topsy Turner) in the ITV drama series Heartbeat from 2005–2006. From 2005–2008, he played Lenny in the BBC series Last of the Summer Wine. In 2009, Ball starred in the comedy The Fattest Man in Britain playing Morris Morrissey.
In 2009, Ball was cast as Frank in the long-running BBC One Sitcom Not Going Out. He first made a guest appearance in 2009 and two further guest appearances in 2011 (Series 4) and 2012 (Series 5), and became a recurring fixture from series 6 onwards. He appeared in the 2015 Christmas special, and returned alongside the cast for the eighth series in 2017, the ninth series in 2018 and the tenth series in 2019. Ball made his final appearance as Frank in the eleventh season, which began airing in January 2021, and was filmed a few weeks before his death.
From 2011, Ball played Barry in the Sky1 sitcom series Mount Pleasant. The following year, he took part in BBC One's Pointless Celebrities alongside Cannon. His second appearance on the show was for a Children in Need special in November 2013 with Lee Mack.
In 2013, Ball played the role of Duckers in the ITV sitcom pilot The Security Men, starring alongside the likes of Brendan O'Carroll and Paddy McGuinness. The episode, written by Caroline Aherne and Jeff Pope, was later not picked up for a full series. Cannon and Ball appeared in ITV's Last Laugh in Vegas in 2018. Cannon and Ball have also previously starred in the Safestyle UK television advertisements.
In November 2019 he played the regular character Ray, stepdad to Joe Wilkinson's character Simon, in The Cockfields.
Ball married his first wife, Joan Lynn, in 1964, with whom he had two sons, Robert (born 1965) and Darren (born 1969), who are now a comedy double act in their own right, performing under their surname 'Harper'. Ball and Lynn separated in 1970.
Ball married his second wife, Yvonne Nugent, in 1974. In an interview on BBC Tees on 28 June 2016, Ball said that he met Yvonne while performing with Cannon at a club in Norton, County Durham: "We were playing there ... she came downstairs in a little mini skirt, looked at me and Tommy, shook her head and walked away. I thought, 'I'd spend my life with her.'"
Ball and his wife lived in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire. Together they had a daughter Joanne born in 1972.
By 1983, Ball's friendship with Cannon had deteriorated and the pair did not speak to each other outside of rehearsals and performances. In 1986, while working at the Bradford Alhambra, Ball began talking with chaplain Max Wrigley. Ball said: "I got talking to him and attacked him verbally about God. But he had a peace about him. I can't explain exactly what he had but he had something that I didn't have. One day I asked to speak to him and after a while he said, 'Let's pray.' I'd never prayed in my life but we prayed and it just changed my life – like that [he snaps his fingers]." Shortly afterward Ball became a Christian, which helped re-kindle his broken friendship with Cannon. Cannon became a Christian in 1992, with the pair publishing a book called Christianity for Beginners. They regularly featured in their own gospel and "An audience with..." show in churches around the country. He also taught vicars and clergy how to incorporate humor in sermons.
He published an autobiography, entitled My Life, in 1993.
He was a supporter of the Variety Children's Charity, presiding over the organization's ceremonies and appearing in fundraising events. He received a lifetime achievement honor from Variety, in 2018.
Ball died at the Victoria Hospital in Blackpool on 28 October 2020 at the age of 76, from COVID-19 complications. A small tribute was paid to Ball after the closing credits of the 2021 New Year’s special of Not Going Out, which was the first episode broadcast after his death. A longer tribute of about 2 minutes was broadcast at the end of Series 11 Episode 5 entitled War, his last television performance, which was first aired on 5 February 2021.
|1982||The Boys in Blue||PC. Bobby Ball|
|1988||Mr H Is Late||Driver's mate|
|1974||Win, Place or Steal||Professor|
|1979–1988||The Cannon and Ball Show||Himself (co-star)|
|1980||Summer Royal||Himself|
|1982||The Kenny Everett Show||Himself (guest)|
|The Children's Royal Variety Performance||Cast member|
|1983||The Boys in Blue||Police Constable Bobby Ball|
|1987||Prisoners in Park Lane|
|Anything but the Truth|
|1988||A Night of Comic Relief|
|Mr. H. is Late|
|1990||Day out with Dana|
|Casino||Host (3 episodes)|
|1991||Plaza Patrol||Trevor Purvis (6 episodes)|
|1996||Shooting Stars||Himself (guest)|
|2004||Revolver||Various characters|
|The Royal||John Wilson|
|2005||I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!||Himself (contestant)|
|2005–2008||Last of the Summer Wine||Lenny|
|2005–2006||Heartbeat||Mr. Turner/Topsy Turner|
|2006||It's Behind You...|
|2007||The Afternoon Play||Bingo Manager|
|2009||The Fattest Man in Britain||Morris|
|2009–2021||Not Going Out||Frank (Lee's Dad)|
|2010||All Star Mr & Mrs||Himself (contestant)|
|2011||Show Me the Funny||Himself (guest judge)|
|2012||Blackpool: Big Night Out|
|Coach Trip||Himself (guest)|
|Casualty||Gerry Davies|
|Strictly Come Dancing: Christmas Special||Himself (contestant)|
|2013||Mount Pleasant||Barry (3 episodes)|
|Success and Television|
|The Security Men||Duckers|
|2018||Last Laugh in Vegas||Himself |
Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2021-06-13 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=1112506