Johnny left school with 2 O-levels, but scoring 100% in Maths. He then got three more on his own and started his career in the Aircraft Industry in 1954, followed by three years in the RAF from 1957 to 1959 - his University.
From 1960 to 1962 he was a Butlin’s Redcoat at Pwllheli, North Wales and The Metropole Hotel, Blackpool.
Johnny performed as a drummer in Liverpool in 1960/61.
Johnny was a successful stand-up comic from 1964, appearing with Val Doonican and Harry Secombe in their respective shows, and he compered the 90 minute 1967 ITV Christmas Night Spectacular.
Also in 1967 he began presenting BBC’s Playschool. He also wrote Cabbages and Kings, (3 series) most of the comedy for Playaway and Star Turn as well as for adult TV shows.
Johnny conceived, wrote and presented Think of a Number for the BBC in 1978 winning a BAFTA. Think Again followed and won two World TV Awards and an International Emmy Nomination and Johnny’s shows over the next 10 years inspired a whole generation of children towards careers in mathematics, engineering, science and teaching.
Johnny Ball Reveals All for ITV followed from 1989 to 1994 (5 Series)
In 1986 he wrote/presented the BISFA Sales Video of the Year and received the ITVA Craft Award as Presenter of the Year.
From 1993 to 2003 he wrote, designed, produced, starred in and toured five educational stage musicals which sold around 160,000 tickets per year, working the UK's major provincial theatres.
His Mind Zone Live Show in the Millenium Dome for 2000 was a Total Sell Out for the entire Year.
He has been an Ambassador for British Engineering since 1995. He staged the DofE Exhibition Maths Stands, National STEM Projects and still gives Keynote speaches at many educational and public awareness projects.
Johnny was Lord Rector of Glasgow University 1993/6 and has Seven Honourary Degrees from Glasgow, Salford, Sheffield Hallam, Liverpool John Moores (Fellowship), Bishop Grossteste Lincoln/Leicester, Brighton and The Institute of Teaching.
In 2012, he became the oldest ever contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.
He lives in Buckinghamshire with his wife Di and dog Holly. His daughter Zoe presents BBC TV’s It Takes Two, son Nick writing for 21st Century Fox and on major TV Commercials and Dan with his own company Centre Space Design in Henley. Johnny’s new book, Wonders Beyond Numbers - A History of all things Mathematical, is selling well worldwide, and the Paperback will be released by Bloomsbury Press on 21st February 2019.