Bob Mortimer

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For the footballer, see Bob Mortimer (footballer). For the evangelist, see Bob Mortimer (evangelist).
Bob Mortimer
Bob mortimer Middlesbrough.jpg
Bob Mortimer in 2010.
Birth name Robert Renwick Mortimer
Born (1959-05-23) 23 May 1959 (age 55)
Acklam, Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Medium Stand up, television
Nationality British
Years active 1986 – present
Genres Surreal humour, Physical comedy
Notable works and roles Vic Reeves Big Night Out
The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer
Shooting Stars

House of Fools

Robert Renwick "Bob" Mortimer (born 23 May 1959) is an English comedian and actor, who is best known for his double act with Vic Reeves (see Vic and Bob). He owns the independent production company Pett Productions with Vic Reeves and Lisa Clark and is the voice of Churchill the Dog in adverts for Churchill Insurance.

Early life[edit]

Mortimer's father was a biscuit salesman who died in a car crash at a very young age, and as a result he and his three brothers were brought up by their mother Eunice. He attended Acklam High School on the site of Acklam Hall in Acklam, Middlesbrough. He trialled for local professional football club Middlesbrough, but was not able to take the sport up due to arthritis. 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. After leaving university with an LLM in Welfare Law, he moved to London and became an acceptant for Southwark Council. He then moved to a private practice, working as a solicitor.


Partnership with Vic Reeves[edit]

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 whilst 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 very 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.

Mortimer and Reeves 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 they 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 (1992). This was followed by the sketch show The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer (1993) and Shooting Stars, a comedy panel show. The pilot episode of Shooting Stars aired in December 1993. After being commissioned, it ran for 5 series between 1995 and 2002, with a special anniversary edition broadcast in December 2008. A 6th series was broadcast in late 2009, followed by a 7th series in mid-2010, and 8th in 2011.

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

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

In November 2007, Mortimer appeared as Reeves' hairdresser, Carl, in the weekly radio-based sketch show on BBC Radio 2, entitled Vic Reeves' House Arrest. The first episode was broadcast on 17 November 2007 and the series ran for six episodes.[1]

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.[2]

In November 2013, Vic and Bob filmed episodes of a new upcoming BBC sitcom, House of Fools. His character's name is Bob, and the show also features Vic Reeves (as Vic), Matt Berry (as Beef), Morgana Robinson (as Julie), and Dan Skinner (as Bosh).

Solo career & appearances[edit]

  • In 1997, in collaboration with Chris Rea, Mortimer recorded Rea's hit "Let's Dance" with his favourite football team, Middlesbrough. The single reached No. 44 in the UK charts.
  • He produced and presented the second match, The Fight, a year later, which saw Grant Bovey versus Ricky Gervais.
  • Also in 2005, Mortimer voiced the character of Father Nicholas in the animated BBC Three series Popetown. The show was not broadcast by the channel, for fear of offending Catholic viewers, though it saw a DVD release later that year.[3]
  • Mortimer is now penning his first novel, provisionally titled "Have Her Over My Hedge (You've Never Trimmed It)", with Charlie Higson.
  • In November 2013, he appeared on an episode of Ross Noble Freewheeling
  • Also in 2013 he starred as Frank in the E4 comedy Drifters.
  • In June 2014, he appeared on an episode of the unscripted Dave show "Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled". Mortimer appeared on episode 3 of the series which first aired on the 18th June 2014

Personal life[edit]

Mortimer is married to Lisa Matthews and has two children, Harry (b. March 1997) and Tom (b. August 1998). He lives in Dover, Kent.

Mortimer suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, which gives him great pain when he is stressed, especially before making a TV series or embarking on a tour. On those occasions, he controls the illness with steroids.[4]

Mortimer is a lifelong fan of Middlesbrough F.C..

As revealed on an episode of Would I Lie to You?, Mortimer can split an apple apart with his bare hands.


  1. ^ BBC - Radio 2 Comedy - Vic Reeves' House Arrest
  2. ^ "Journal Live". Reeves enjoys a Big Day Out with apprentices. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  3. ^ "BBC pulls controversial Popetown". News story. 23 September 2004. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  4. ^ "Bob Mortimer – my battle with arthritis". Magazine column. original: Radio Times "My Kind of Day" column, reporoduction: Press Office. Retrieved 2007-10-24.