Bob Mortimer

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Bob Mortimer
Bob mortimer Middlesbrough.jpg
Bob Mortimer in 2010
Birth nameRobert Renwick Mortimer
Born (1959-05-23) 23 May 1959 (age 62)
Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Medium Stand up, television
Years active1986 – present
Genres Surreal humour, Physical comedy
SpouseLisa Matthews (m. 2015)
Notable works and roles Vic Reeves Big Night Out
The Weekenders
The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer
Bang, Bang, It's Reeves and Mortimer
Shooting Stars
Families at War
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)
29 Minutes of Fame
Monkey Trousers
House of Fools
Athletico Mince
Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing

Robert Renwick Mortimer (born 23 May 1959)[ citation needed ] is an English comedian, podcast presenter, and actor. He is known for his work with Vic Reeves as part of their Vic and Bob comedy double act, and more recently the Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing series with comedian Paul Whitehouse. He has also appeared on panel shows such as Would I Lie to You? and Taskmaster.


Early life

Mortimer was raised with three brothers in the Linthorpe area of Middlesbrough. [1] His father, a biscuit salesman, died in a car crash when Mortimer was seven. [2]

Mortimer attended Acklam High School on the site of Acklam Hall in Acklam, Middlesbrough. His schoolmates included Ali Brownlee, who would go on to become a sports presenter on BBC Tees. [3]

He had trials for local professional football club Middlesbrough, and although he was not able to join the club as a professional due to arthritis, he still supports them. He left school with three A-levels and went on to study law at the universities of Sussex and Leicester. There, Mortimer became involved in political causes and the punk movement, starting a band called Dog Dirt. [4] After leaving university with an LLM in Welfare Law, Mortimer moved to London and became a solicitor for Southwark Council. He then moved to a private practice in Peckham, where his work with Public Health Act cases regarding cockroach infestation of council properties led to a local paper dubbing Mortimer "The Cockroach King". [5]


Partnership with Vic Reeves

In 1986, Mortimer went to the Goldsmith's Tavern in New Cross, London, to see a new show by a comedian called Vic Reeves. Mortimer was impressed by the performance, particularly the character Tappy Lappy, which was Reeves attempting to tap dance while wearing a Bryan Ferry mask and planks on his feet. Mortimer approached Reeves after the show, and the two began writing material for the next week's show together. They also became good friends, even forming a band called the Potter's Wheel. Mortimer began to perform on the show, which was christened Vic Reeves Big Night Out , creating such characters as the Singing Lawyer, Graham Lister, Judge Nutmeg and the Man With the Stick.

The show became successful in South London and eventually outgrew Goldsmith's Tavern, moving in 1988 to the Albany Empire in Deptford. Mortimer soon became an integral part of the performance, providing him with a weekly break from the legal work, which had begun to disillusion him. He once quipped that the final straw was a run in with a mugger who, recognising Mortimer as having represented him legally, promptly stood down and apologised for not recognising him.[ citation needed ]

Reeves and Mortimer made their television debut on the short-lived 1989 comedy chat show One Hour with Jonathan Ross , in the game show segment known as knock down ginger .

Later that year, the duo made their first television pilot together, Vic Reeves Big Night Out, in late 1989. The television show remained true to the nightclub act's variety show format. Mortimer took a 10-week break from his legal job to film the series and never returned.

The two later created a one-off pilot for a sitcom called The Weekenders in 1992, followed by the sketch show The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer in 1993 and Shooting Stars , a comedy panel show that first aired in December 1993. After being commissioned, Shooting Stars ran for five series between 1995 and 2002, with a special anniversary edition broadcast in December 2008. A sixth series was broadcast in late 2009, followed by a seventh series in mid-2010, and eighth in 2011.

In 1999, Reeves and Mortimer appeared in a second sketch show called Bang Bang, It's Reeves and Mortimer . A year later, Mortimer played the part of Jeff Randall in Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) , opposite Reeves as Marty Hopkirk and Emilia Fox as Jeannie Hurst.

In 2003, Mortimer and Reeves were listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. [6] In a 2005 poll to find the Comedians' Comedian, the duo were voted the 9th greatest comedy act of all time by fellow comedians and comedy insiders. [7]

On 17 November 2007, Mortimer appeared as Reeves' hairdresser, Carl, in the weekly radio sketch show on BBC Radio 2 entitled Vic Reeves' House Arrest . [8]

On 27 February 2008, Reeves announced that he and Mortimer were working together on a new sitcom about super heroes who get their powers through a malfunctioning telegraph pole. [9]

In November 2013, Reeves and Mortimer filmed episodes of a new BBC sitcom, House of Fools , also featuring Matt Berry (as Beef), Morgana Robinson (as Julie), and Dan Skinner (as Bosh).

In October 2015 the pair cancelled the first leg of their live tour, 25 Year of Reeves and Mortimer: The Poignant Moments, after Mortimer underwent an emergency triple heart bypass. [10]

On 29 December 2017, Mortimer and Reeves starred in a relaunch and new singular episode of their comedy Big Night Out for the BBC. The show has been remade and subsequently renamed to Vic and Bob's Big Night Out. The episode remained true to the classic Big Night Out formula and was composed of various comedy songs, skits, characters and sketches. This was the first time the Big Night Out series had featured Mortimer's name in the title. A full series of Vic and Bob's Big Night Out began on BBC Four in November 2018.

Solo career and appearances

Personal life

At around the age of 7, Mortimer accidentally burnt down his family's home with a stray firework. [17] He suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, which gives him great pain when he is stressed, especially before making a television series or embarking on a tour. On those occasions, he controls the illness with steroids. [18] In October 2015, it was revealed that he was recovering from a triple bypass surgery which led to the cancellation of the first leg of the Reeves and Mortimer 25 years tour. [19]

Mortimer married his partner of 22 years, Lisa Matthews, in October 2015, 30 minutes prior to receiving his heart surgery (after getting permission from the registrar to move the date forward). The couple have two sons, Harry and Tom. [20]

He is a lifelong fan of Middlesbrough Football Club and the rock group Free. During his appearance on Desert Island Discs , Mortimer revealed that the first 30 years of his life were defined by a crippling shyness, which only began to alleviate after his initial television success. He also reflected on how his father's early death had shaped his personality, despite not realising how far this event had affected him as a child. [21]

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Vic and Bob

Vic and Bob, also known as Reeves and Mortimer, are a British comedy double act consisting of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. They have written and starred in several comedy programmes on British television since 1990, with Reeves having made his first TV appearance in 1986.

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James Roderick Moir, better known by the stage name Vic Reeves, is an English comedian, artist, surrealist, musician, actor and television presenter, best known for his double act with Bob Mortimer as Vic and Bob. He is known for his surreal sense of humour.

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<i>Vic Reeves Big Night Out</i>

Vic Reeves Big Night Out was a cult British comedy stage show and later TV series which ran on Channel 4 for two series in 1990 and 1991, as well as a New Year special. Its live incarnation marked the beginnings of the collaboration between Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer and started their Reeves and Mortimer comedy double act.

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Catterick, aka Vic and Bob in Catterick, is a surreal 2004 BBC situation comedy in 6 episodes, written by and starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, with Reece Shearsmith, Matt Lucas, Morwenna Banks, Tim Healy, Mark Benton and Charlie Higson. The series was originally broadcast on BBC Three and later rerun on BBC Two. Reeves has said that the BBC do not want another series of Catterick, though he may produce a spin-off centring on the DI Fowler character.

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<i>The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer</i>

The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer is a BBC TV sketch show written by and starring double act Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Its first series appeared in 1993 following the duo's move to the BBC after parting company with Channel 4. The show developed and expanded upon the absurd, anarchic comedy that the pair had first explored on Channel 4's Vic Reeves Big Night Out.

<i>Bang, Bang, Its Reeves and Mortimer</i>

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Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) is a British television series, produced by Working Title Television for BBC One, written and produced by Charlie Higson. It is a revival of the 1960s television series Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and stars Vic Reeves as Marty Hopkirk and Bob Mortimer as Jeff Randall, two partner private detectives, Emilia Fox as Jeannie Hurst, Hopkirk's fiancée, and Tom Baker as Wyvern, a spirit mentor. Two series were commissioned and were broadcast in 2000 and 2001 with the pilot episode airing 18 March 2000.

<i>The Weekenders</i> (TV pilot)

The Weekenders was a one-off comic television pilot starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, produced by Granada Television for Channel 4. Broadcast on Wednesday 17 June 1992 as part of a series of pilots entitled Bunch of Five, it was a surreal sitcom in which two friends, Jim and Bob, visit a meat festival taking place in an open field. They are then chased by aliens who want the meat they have bought to feed their queen.

Pett Productions was an independent production company, established by Bob Mortimer, Vic Reeves and Lisa Clark in 2001. The company was based at the Maidstone Studios in Maidstone, Kent and has produced several television shows in comedy, reality, documentary and internet format. It was dissolved in May 2015.

Vic Reeves' House Arrest was a weekly radio comedy series written by and starring Vic Reeves. It was produced by Open Mike Productions and broadcast on BBC Radio 2 It co-starred Reeves' wife, Nancy Sorrell, his comedy partner, Bob Mortimer and The Mighty Boosh star, Noel Fielding. It was first broadcast in 2007 in the 1 pm slot on Saturday afternoons.

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House of Fools is a British comedy television series that was first broadcast on BBC Two on 14 January 2014. The series features Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves, who are also the writers.


  1. Herring, Richard. "Episode 64 - Bob Mortimer". Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  2. Ewing, Sarah (4 February 2018). "Bob Mortimer: 'I wrecked the family fortunes by burning down mum's uninsured house'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  3. "Voice of the Boro Ali Brownlee of BBC Tees dies". BBC News. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  4. "Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer webchat – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  5. "Bob Mortimer". Desert Island Discs. BBC. 3 February 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  6. "The A-Z of laughter (part two)". The Observer . 7 December 2003.
  7. Thorpe, Vanessa (2 January 2005). "Cook tops poll of comedy greats". The Observer .
  8. Staff writer. "Vic Reeves' House Arrest". BBC Radio 2 Comedy.
  9. Staff writer. "Reeves enjoys a Big Day Out with apprentices". The Journal . Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  10. "Vic and Bob cancel live shows". Giggle Beats. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  11. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 452. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  12. "BBC pulls controversial Popetown". News story. 23 September 2004. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  13. "Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer: 'There was the chance one of us might drop dead on the riverbank'". Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  14. "Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing". BBC.
  15. "When is Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing series 4's release date? Everything you need to know". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  16. "Bob Mortimer on Desert Island Discs". BBC.
  17. "The 10 most surprising truths we've learnt from the guests on Would I Lie to You?". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company Ltd. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  18. "Bob Mortimer – my battle with arthritis". Magazine column. original: Radio Times "My Kind of Day" column, reproduction: Press Office. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  19. Press Association (27 October 2015). "Bob Mortimer cancels tour after triple heart bypass operation". The Guardian . Guardian Media Group . Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  20. Jamieson, Sophie (13 January 2016). "Bob Mortimer wed long-term girlfriend just half an hour before life-saving heart bypass". The Daily Telegraph . Telegraph Media Group . Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  21. "Nine things we learned from Bob Mortimer's Desert Island Discs". Retrieved 9 June 2020.