To my kids he is the old bloke from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, to some he is Zoe Ball’s dad but to many many more he is a much loved face from children’s television who inspired a generation with his programmes on mathematics and science.
Johnny Ball has been back on our screens strutting his stuff on the dance floor and his return to TV has brought on a wave of nostalgia from many people of a certain age for his programme Think of a Number. I have been frankly amazed by the number of people who have mentioned Johnny in conversation recently; people who never watch Strictly started watching it now just because he was in it.
Johnny has not been idle in the years since Think of a Number however. He has written and produced five educational stage musicals, written numerous books, appeared on numerous more recent TV shows including Bang Goes the Theory, given many talks (once making 40 speeches in two weeks!), acted as an Ambassador for British Engineering, been awarded four honorary doctorates and the list goes on. His most recent focus has obviously been Strictly Come Dancing (and by the way he tweeted that he did NOT break Aliona’s leg) but he has plans to continue with his other commitments once his commitments to the show are over.
If you are one of those who remember Think of a Number with affection you can now view some of the sketches online. The links are on Johnny’s website Johnny Ball Maths. Parents Homeschooling Key Stage 3 children may find the episodes on Angles useful in inspiring their children if they can get past the slightly dated nature of the films. Johnny’s book “Think of a Number” has a similar approach to that of the programmes but is more up to date looking and may be a better option. It has consistently been given 5 star reviews on Amazon.
Perhaps now you have been reminded of Johnny Ball’s TV shows you would like to give learning Maths or Science another go. After all Johnny’s appearance on Strictly Come Dancing at the age of 74 shows that you are never too old to learn. Oxford Open Learning offers many Maths and Science Distance Learning Courses including GCSEs and A levels so why not give it a try. In the words of Johnny Ball himself “It is never too late to repair a bad experience in school, and once you get your head down and start to read books, you can really achieve.”