"Given the subject matter, the audience of 9.6 million is astonishing. This man is obviously a master of his craft" - Broadcast
Johnny’s TV career, with the shows he wrote and presented
Johnny’s Video and DVD project involvement
PROFESSIONAL STAGE SHOWS.
Johnny has produced, written and presented seven Musical Stage Shows altogether.
The first was the result of the BBC announcing a four month break for Johnny without warning. He wrote The Think of a Number Roadshow within a week, and had the set built by BBC Bristol, copying his TV set. This show featured already established musical numbers. The shows that followed all had original music and lyrics. Being educational shows, there was a limit to the time that could be given to actual songs. So there were between 6 and 8 musical numbers per show, all written by Johnny and orchestrated by various MD’s, of which Steve Turner was most helpful, when he wasn't playing for Kylie. The shows attracted huge audiences of school parties aged from 9 to 13.
The THINK OF A NUMBER ROADSHOW - 1980 to 1993
Johnny toured this show to theatres, with pianists, Michael Omer or William Blezzard, over 13 years.
Featuring. Imagine a World without Numbers? The No Number News. Number Puzzles. Multiplying by 9 on Fingers, 6 ft Calculator/Kid in Boxing Gloves, lightening calculation; Hovering and Weightlessness. Fibonacci Series Tricks. Telephone Directory Number Trick. Kids sit on JB Bridge. Kids lift JB with fingers. JB as BA, Smallest lad withstands pressure of 9 larger boys. The Marriage of Sodium to Chlorine, The Elements, Binary Numbers with the Teachers Choir singing Inchworm, Balancing and juggling tricks.
Think of a Number - written specially by Chris Adams and Mike Sullivan.
New Math - Music and Lyrics by Tom Lehrer.
“A” Team Theme - JB as BA Barraccas
Inch Worm - Teacher Choir and Binary Numbers.
The Elements - Music Sullivan (Mod Major General), Lyrics Tom Lehrer, JB adapted.
The Minute Waltz - Chopin, Lyrics by L Q’Kun, JB adapted.
Think of a Number - reprise.
THE MICHAEL FARADAY ALL ELECTRIC ROADSHOW
Commissioned by National Grid plc, the show traced the story of Electricity in parallel with the life of Michael Faraday, the Father of Electricity. It ran from 1993 to 1995 and played to over 250,000 students and teachers.
Featuring. Young Faraday sells Newspapers, How did the story of Electricity start? Electrum, Static Electricity with the Van de Graaf Generator, Ben Franklin flies a Kite, Galvani and Volta and the Battery, Hans Christian Oersted and the Compass needle, Humphrey Davy lectures, Faraday gets a job, Learning to be a Scientist, the first invention, perpectual electrical movement, Faraday Marries.
Get a Big Top Hat, Safety Matches, Doland and toughened Glass, Stainles Steel and Rubber Baloons, the Galvanometer and Alternating Current, the worlds first Electical Generator. How a modern Power Station works. Faraday and friends discuss the changes from his day to today.
Songs - Music and Lyrics by Johnny Ball.
Faraday, Faraday, the name is Michael Faraday.
Animal Electricity - Luigi Galvani, Mrs Galvani, Allesandro Volta.
(Galvani’s Frogs Legs jumped - Why? Not because of Animal Electricity, but because the frogs legs were in salt water and touching two different metals, making a battery.)
I'm Hans Christian Oersted, a clever Dane, that's me.
One Step at a Time, (to learn to be a Scientist) Faraday,
Davy and Mrs Davy.
Tour de Force ending with Victorian Tableau.
Get a Big Top Hat - if you want to get ahead - Three Victorian Gentlemen
Power Generation Theme.
There’s One or Two Things, we did Invent.
LET THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.
Production Sponsorship support from the DTI and ITB, the show featured three scientific heroes,
Isaac Newton, James Watt and Marie Curie. It played over a period of 3 years. 1996/99
Pic. Steam Engine?
Newton and his apple. James Watt and Steam Power, Marie Curie and Radiation.
Archimedes burning the Roman Fleet.
Archimedes and Hydrostatics. Eureka, I’ve found it. Ctesibius, Hero. Levers and Inventions
Galileo and Pendulums,
Newton’s Three Laws of Motion
James Watt’s Steam Engine, three states of matter and atmospheric pressure.
Dalton’s Atomic theory.
Curie and the Periodic table, Molecular marriage of Sodium and Chlorine.
Radiation and it’s benefits. Einstein and sending Rockets into Space.
Songs - Music and Lyrics - Johnny Ball.
Let the Force be with You -
Newton - An Apple fell upon my head, had it been a piano, I would have been dead!
Watt - My name’s James Watt and as a lad, I worked in Glasgow, which was’ne bad.
Curie - I’m Marie Curie and I come from Poland, but I made my home,
In Paris, where I married - Guess? My teacher! Really ? Never? Yes.
Eureka, I’ve found it - and it wasn’t even lost - A Nude Archimedes dresses and reveals Hydrostatics.
When a pendulum wings, it’s the strangest of things - Galileo’s principle of the pendulum.
Ahha, My deep felicitations - Newton, with Galileo and Kepler, explains Gravity and the Three Laws of Motion.
Steam Engine Song - James Watt, Boulton and Customer. An Engine that is strong and sound, to make the wheel go round and round.
My Atomic Theory - John Dalton (a la George Formby) explains Oxygen, CO2 and Water, in Fire or Human Activity.
Let the Force, be with You - reprise.
Commissioned by NORWEB and United Utilities, the show played to invited
audiences in Lancashire in 1997. Clear Channel graciously hired the
2000 seat Manchester Opera House to Johnny for £500.
1. INTRO - THE EARTH AT BIRTH - Poetic Intro covering the
history of the Earth from beginning to present day.
Songs. Music and Lyrics by Johnny Ball.
The Earth at Birth
One Step at a Time, to learn to be a Scientist.
What is it makes a rabbit thump, or makes an elephant, go kerflump, It's Animal Electricity -
Rhythm of Power.
20th Century Rag
Save It - Don’t Waste It.
We want you to be Energy Champions / 1812 explosive finale. Music by Tchaikovsky
TALES OF MATHS AND LEGEND. 2000 and 2002
Commissioned by the DFES as the Maths Year 2000 Centerpiece.
Opened at the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly, with Prime Minister Blair
and Education Minister Blunkett on stage. Johnny starred, along with
Adam Stafford and Lucy Cullinan, with Steve Turner on Keyboards.
It was the most successful of all the shows, reaching over 160,000 students and teachers in the year. It toured again in 2002.
Act 1. Think of a number. A two hour show on Maths? 5000 puzzle, 180 degrees in triangle. Heroes of Mathematics. Gauss adds 1 to 100, Euler’s 7 Bridge problem, Pythagoras and a musical string. Archimedes burns ships, Hydrostatics, Levers, Ctesibius and Hero. Al Khuwarizmi and Algebra. Ancient Number Systems and the invention of Zero. Fibonacci Maths, Pineapple and Nautilus.
Act 2. Get your pencil out, Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Gravity. Descartes and Princes Christina of Sweden, the Mesolabe Compass and Square Roots. Boole, Babbage, Odds and Probability, Pascal’s Triangle, Galton Board and insurance. Lady Ada. Computers and Binary Numbers, Victorian Juggling tricks.
Songs - Music and Lyrics by Johnny Ball.
Act 1. Think of a Number.
These are the Tales of Maths and Legend - Gauss adds1 to 100, Euler’s Seven Bridges of Konigsberg, Pythagoras and the Musical String.
Eureka, I’ve found it - The nude Archimedes, dresses and explains Hydrostatics.
We Three Men of a Grecian Age - Archimedes, Ctesibius and Hero. Levers and Inventions
My name is Al Khuwarizmi and Al Khuwarizmi, is me. The origins of Algebra.
I’m Adelard of Bath, I’m a monk, no please, don’t laugh. How Algebra works
What is it? It’s Nothing - The invention of Zero. Al Khuwarizmi, Adelard, Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa,
Numbers systems, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Hindu and Arabic.
These are the Tales of Maths and Legend -Reprise
Act 2. Get Your Pencil Out, Write it Down - Rousing
second half opener.
Ahha My deep felicitations, I am Isaac Newton, man of celebration - Newton explains Gravity.
I think, therefore I Am - Rene Descartes and Queen Christina - A lesson in Psychology and Maths.
Lady Ada - Augusta Byron, Babbage and Boole.
Think of a Number - Reprise.
WITH YOUR MIND AND TOMORROW’S TECHNOLOGY, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
Commissioned by BAE Systems for the Mind Zone in the Millennium Dome 2000.
The show sold out every single performance in the Millennium Dome’s Year.
Johnny wrote the show for 5 actors and the £25,000 Melvis the Robot. It toured 100 people around the Mind Zone on a journey to reveal how the human mind works, and how we apply our ingenuity to improve technology.
The show earned huge teacher acclaim. Indeed the main consensus from return appreciation forms, was that students who began their Dome visit by seeing this show, had a vastly more rewarding experience, over the whole day.
An audience can be fooled. Things are not always as they seem. Can robots help? It’s done with mirrors. Why being the right size matters. How technology can improve human senses. Do we work better than ants. What can we learn from watching football? That a team can achieve more than a collection of individuals; that some of us are naturally defensive and some are go getting risk all forwards. Why will robots never control us. Even with computers we will have to make future decisions - how easy or hard will that be. Why we must work together as we are all trapped in the same world. Looking at the Dome to discover what the world of tomorrow has to offer. Why the future is brighter than we can yet imagine and with your mind and tomorrow’s technology anything is possible.
TALES OF BLOOMING SCIENCE.
Sponsored by the DFES as the Centrepiece for Science Year, 2001.
Johnny starred with Adam Stafford and Sally Hathaway.
Act 1. Featured Newton and Forces, Hero’s Steam Engine, Otto Von Guericke, James Watt and Matthew Boulton selling the Power of Steam to the world, Three States of Matter - John Dalton’s Atomic Theory, The Electrical World, Davy and Faraday, Oersted magnetism and electricity, Faraday's, motor, dynamo and transformer, electrical generation. Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species, Gregor Mendel breeds Peas, Rosie Franklin explains Chromosomes and DNA.
Act 2. 19th Century movers and shakers, we build Brunel’s elliptical Maidenhead bridge 5 times wider than it’s height; Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone, Swan and Edison and the true story of the First Lightbulb, Nicola Tesla and glowing gas, Marie Curie explains Elements and Molecules, marrying Sodium and Chlorine, Einstein explains the size and power of the Atom, Hydrogen power, 1812 and an explosive finish.
Songs - Music and Lyrics by Johnny Ball.
Act 1. An Apple fell upon my head - Newton.
My name’s Otto Von Guericke, from Magdeberg I com - Guericke.
An Engine that is strong and sound, to make the wheels go round and round - Boulton and Watt.
My Atomic Theory - John Dalton.
I’m Hans Christian Oersted, a clever Dane, that’s me.
The Rhythm of Power - Electrical Generation.
The Origin of the Species, shows that mice have little meeces - Darwin, Mendel, Rosie Franklin.
Act 2. Get a Big Top Hat.
IKB, IKB, never was a better man than IKB. Brunel builds
Mary Bell song. Phone invented.
A Candle as you’re all aware, burns thanks to Oxygen in the air - Swan/Edison light bulb saga.
Energy Champions - an explosive 1812 - Tchaikovsky.
These were the Tales of Blooming Science - Company.