UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Johnny Ball, 79, answers our health quiz


Occasionally two at a time! I walk about five miles a day with my cocker spaniel, Holly. I ski every year and, now and again, I do a fitness regimen that I set up when I was on Strictly Come Dancing five years ago.

Yes. I don’t think much about my diet, but my wife Di does. I have five prunes or five apricots on my cereal and I love fresh vegetables. There’s nothing nicer than a chopped red onion and cheese.

I do like going to the pub, and four or five nights a week I’ll have a couple of pints, which is of immense value because a little bit of alcohol is such a relaxant — but it can add a few pounds. I’m 5ft 10½ and weigh 14st. If I get too plump, Di will serve up smaller meals.

I have a very sweet tooth. As I’ve got older, driving is more tiring so I chain-eat sweets to keep my blood sugar up. If I’ve been lecturing [he gives talks on science and mathematics]in Manchester, say, and have a 180-mile drive home, I’ll polish off a full bag of Liquorice Allsorts.

I am a wimp. I’ll go on about the slightest niggle. In 1974, I was filming in Scotland and at 11pm, coming out of the bar, our skiing instructor took us onto the dry ski slope without any training. I fell and my little finger hooked onto the mesh slope. It was the worst pain I’ve ever been in.

Not overly. We have a nice cuddle and we’re fine.

I worry about kids using handheld gadgets because it’s making them anti social. When something is worrying me, I get to sleep by going through the songs on Frank Sinatra’s Songs For Swingin’ Lovers album in my head.

None, but years ago I recorded a TV programme at Billingsgate Fish Market and had to put my hand into a tray of live eels. They wrapped themselves around my fingers. It was horrendous.

From time to time, perhaps for half a day or so. I remedy down feelings with humour. My wife and I laugh a lot.

I never have hangovers. My brother-in-law used to sink eight pints on a Friday but I’ve never been able to do that. By the third, I get fed up of drinking.

Gout. I’ve had it for five years in my wrist and ankle. I’ve read that it’s more painful than childbirth. If I’m certain it’s coming, I take a naproxen tablet I’m prescribed every 12 hours and it’s gone within two days.

NO. I’m quite happy with how I look.

When people ask me if I’m going to be cremated or buried, I always say ‘I’m not going’. By that I mean that I’m not going until I do, so why think about it?

Johnny Ball’s book, Wonders Beyond Numbers, A Brief History Of All Things Mathematical (Bloomsbury, £16.99) is on sale now.




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