Zoe Ball returns to Radio 2 after taking break to care for mother

The BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show host revealed how she has spent her time off since announcing that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer.

Zoe Ball outside Wogan House in London after her first morning hosting the BBC 2 Breakfast Show. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Zoe Ball has returned to host the BBC Radio Breakfast show after taking time off to care for her mum. (Getty Images)

Zoe Ball had a confession for BBC Radio 2 listeners as she she returned to host the breakfast show after taking time off to care for her mother.

The radio and TV star revealed at the beginning of March 2024 that her mum Julia Peckham has been diagnosed with cancer. She has taken just under two weeks absence from the show, with Gaby Roslin stepping in to host her show. Returning to the airwaves Ball shared her admiration for all carers and also confessed she has been watching a lot of daytime TV on rival network ITV.

Health update

Zoe Ball with her mother at the aftershow party for the new film Sex And The City 2 at the Orangery in London.   (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
Zoe Ball revealed her mother Julia has been diagnosed with cancer. (Getty Images)

Ball gave Radio 2 listeners an update on her mother Julia's health as she returned to host the Breakfast show. She said: "It's me! I've missed you all, I've been looking after my dear ma but back to bother you though. Sadly, heartbreakingly her cancer is quite advanced but we're making loads of lovely memories and taking care of her, she has some amazing people around her."

Ball revealed she had accompanied her mother to A&E the previous week in an ambulance for emergency treatment. She said she wanted to thank: "a very nice pair of chaps called Vic and Tom who took us to A&E in an ambulance last week." Ball added: "My mum and I had never been in an ambulance before. It was fascinating stuff. There was an amazing team at A&E, all of them doing such amazing week." And she said: "I've met some lovely people after going in and out of hospitals for the past few weeks."

Caring duties

Zoe Ball is the host of the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Zoe Ball said she has a new understanding of how hard carers work. (BBC)

Ball revealed she had spent her time off acting as a carer to her mother, and admitted it had been hard work.

She said: "I have a new found admiration for all carers. I have realised that perhaps my calling was below stairs after all! I make a fine tea, I've been doing a marvellous lot of ironing and doing lots of admin." But the BBC presenter also admitted she had spent her down time watching rival network ITV with her mum, as Julia is a big fan of Good Morning Britain, Lorraine, and This Morning.

She confessed: "I have now watched a lot of a certain channel with my mum, I now know my mum's habits. GMB with Susanna Reid and then we have a bit of Lorraine and then a bit of Cat [Deeley] and Ben [Shephard] on This Morning and then a lot of Ben on Tipping Point."

Warm welcome

Zoe Ball outside Wogan House in London after her first morning hosting the BBC 2 Breakfast Show. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Zoe Ball told viewers it's good to be back hosting the Radio 2 breakfast show. (Getty Images)

Radio 2 listeners were delighted to have Ball back at the helm of the show, sending her messages of support.

One wrote on social media platform X: "Good to have you back on my journey to work and hope your Mum is doing ok. Please make sure @GabyRoslin is your go to number one stand in though!" Another said: "We’ve missed you! Hope you’ve had some lovely important time with your mum and she’s feeling ok xx" And a third commented: "Gaby has done a great job but she is not you, welcome back Zoe and best wishes to you, your mom and your family."

Ball thanked listeners for their messages of support following her announcement and revealed she had received many stories from people sharing their own experience of caring for a loved one with cancer.

She said: "Many of you have been telling me your own stories about loved ones and your own cancer stories so thank you for sharing. Those messages have meant so much, I've been reading them out to my my mum." She added: "I've had some real heartbreaking messages from people who have lost loved ones to cancer recently, you are all in my heart."

Cancer diagnosis

Zoe Ball and her mother attend the after party following the UK premiere of 'Sex And The City 2' at The Orangery, Kensington Gardens on May 27, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Claire R Greenway/Getty Images)
Zoe Ball announced her mother's cancer diagnosis on social media. (Getty Images)

Ball, 53, announced on her Instagram account that she was taking some time off from the show because her mother had been diagnosed wit cancer.

She told her 702k followers: "Heartbreakingly our beautiful Mama Julia has been diagnosed with Cancer. As many of you know from experience, these are extremely tough times. Mum is being incredibly brave. My brother Jamie & I are completely in awe of the brilliant Doctors, Nurses & support teams looking after Mum. Thank you Gratitude to our families & our extended family & friends at home & at work for their support at this time.

"I'm trying to be at work on breakfast as often as I can but occasionally need to be home with my Mama. thanks to Gaby for stepping in."

Who are Zoe Ball's parents?

Johnny Ball (centre) celebrates his 84th birthday with his daughter Zoe Ball (left) and grandson Woody Cook during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show press day, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. Picture date: Monday May 23, 2022. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Johnny Ball with daughter Zoe Ball and grandson Woody Cook in 2022. (Getty Images)

Ball's father is 85-yer-old TV presenter and 2012 Strictly Come Dancing contestant Johnny Ball. He divorced first wife Julia when Zoe was two-years-old and she was raised by her father and step-mum. She said in the past "I didn't see my mum Julia for a few years - she was very young when she married my dad and had me, and when they parted I lived with my dad and my other 'mum,' his wife Diane."

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