CITV Memories – Johnny Ball Reveals All.

Johnny Ball Reveals All (CITV, 1989-1994)

In the 70s and 80s, Johnny Ball became a popular figure on children’s TV for hosting shows about educational subjects, particularly maths and science. These included Think Of A Number, but I don’t remember that one. After a couple of decades, he defected to CITV to host a new show with a similar idea, and this is the one that I do remember watching.

Johnny Ball Reveals All was the show that as the opening theme explained would investigate the “how, who, what, why, where, and when” of various things in the world. Johnny would tackle a different subject every week, such as the planets or the human body, and explain how it worked. And once again, he proved that learning about various topics really could be fun, and I thought he was the cleverest man there had ever been. vlcsnap-00930

There were several memorable ways that Johnny would explain things. These would include running around the studio to point at and demonstrate or experiment with various things. He would also open a cupboard which contained a sequence where he would be dressed as an historical figure to explain something (along with some rather bad puns), and this would usually be accompanied by some blue-screen technology. There would also occasionally be a young studio audience who would watch and listen to all of this intently. vlcsnap-00924

Another great thing about the show was that the producer was Clive Doig, who was also the creator of Turnabout, which is one of my favourite game shows (yes, really). This was a lively and enjoyable show, and viewers could also send off for a factpack where Johnny would expand even more on the various topics featured (well, the topics would be expanded, not Johnny himself, that would just be weird). vlcsnap-00925

Between the second and third series, Johnny also contributed to Carol Vorderman’s BBC1 series about maths A Way With Numbers (that I reviewed recently), where once again he showed off his talent for explaining things in an entertaining way. Johnny Ball Reveals All came to an end after five series on CITV in 1994, and after this he finally left the children’s TV scene. vlcsnap-00935

He hasn’t appeared on TV that much since, although he has contributed to a few shows, including Channel 5’s bizarre game show Swapheads and The Terry And Gaby Show (although he vanished from that one day without explanation). In more recent years he has toured across the country to explain more about the world (and still does his bad jokes), written some books, and, oh, his daughter has done very well as a TV and radio presenter too.


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