Zoe Ball pays tribute to “angel” boyfriend as she returns to BBC Radio 2 show

Billy Yates passed away last month

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Zoe Ball thanked her fans for their support as she returned to host her radio show for the first time since the death of her “angel” boyfriend Billy Yates.

As she returned to the airwaves, Zoe said she was glad to be back but told her listeners she was “a little wobbly of knee”, before playing a song as a tribute to Yates.

She had been absent from her weekly BBC Radio 2 show since cameraman Yates’ death in May at the age of 40.

Zoe Ball

Zoe said: “Hello everyone, so glad to be back here at Radio 2, if a little wobbly of knee, so bear with me today, as most of you will know, I’ve been away for the past four weeks.

“It’s been a bit of a tough time having lost my dear, dear boyfriend Billy, but I’d really like to thank the ever-gorgeous ladies Kate Thornton, Suzi Perry and Melanie C for holding the fort so brilliantly whilst I was away, and everyone at the BBC and all my friends at Radio 2 for their support.”

She added: “Billy’s dear family, his brilliant friends, my family and I would like to thank you, the listeners, for all your kind thoughts and for reaching out with love, especially many of you who’ve experienced your own loss and grief in similar circumstances.

Billy was seeing Zoe for several months (Credit: FameFlynet)

“Your messages have meant the world to us all, and so I send you love from the bottom of my heart.”

Zoe, who had been in a relationship with Yates for several months, said: “Billy was a truly special chap, and the things he loved to do, he loved to make everybody laugh, he loved to love and he loved to dance.”

Before playing soul song Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson, she added: “So Billy Will Yates-face, this is for you angel.”

The Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two host, 46, was left devastated after Yates was found dead at his London home a month ago.

Zoe with Billy earlier this year (Credit: FameFlynet)

Prior to her relationship with Yates, a cameraman for the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, Zoe was married to DJ Norman Cook, known as Fatboy Slim.

They announced their separation after 18 years of marriage in September last year.

:: The Zoe Ball show airs every Saturday on BBC Radio 2 from 3pm until 6pm.