Bob Mortimer

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Bob Mortimer
Mortimer in February 2010
Robert Renwick Mortimer

(1959-05-23) 23 May 1959 (age 64)
Middlesbrough, England
Occupation(s)Comedian, television presenter, writer and actor
Years active1986–present
Lisa Matthews
(m. 2015)

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

Early life[edit]

Robert Renwick Mortimer was born in Middlesbrough on 23 May 1959,[1] and grew up with three brothers in the town's Linthorpe area.[2] His father, a biscuit salesman, died in a car crash when Mortimer was seven.[3] At around the same time, Mortimer accidentally burnt down his family's home with a stray firework.[4][5] He attended King's Manor School in Middlesbrough, where his schoolmates included future sports presenter Ali Brownlee.[6] A keen football fan, he had trials for local club Middlesbrough F.C., but abandoned his footballing dreams due to early-onset arthritis.

Mortimer left school with three A-Levels and went on to study law at the University of Sussex and University of Leicester. There, he became involved in political causes and the punk movement, starting a band called Dog Dirt.[7] After leaving university with an LLM in Welfare Law, he 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 infestations of council properties led to a local paper, the South London Press, dubbing him "The Cockroach King".[8] According to his autobiography, he was mugged during this time by one of his clients, who stopped and apologised after recognising him; he continued to represent the client.[9]


Partnership with Vic Reeves[edit]

In 1986, Mortimer went to the Goldsmith's Tavern in New Cross, London, to see a new show by the comedian 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 and formed a band, 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 his legal work, which had begun to disillusion him.[citation needed][10]

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. The television show remained true to the nightclub act's variety show format. Mortimer took a 10-week break from his legal job to record 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 an 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.[11] 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.[12]

In 2004, Mortimer and Reeves wrote and starred in Catterick, a six-episode surreal comedy about an ex-soldier, Carl, who returns home from serving in Cyprus to join his brother Chris, who has agreed to help find Carl's son. Cast included Reece Shearsmith, Matt Lucas, Morwenna Banks, Tim Healy, Mark Benton and Charlie Higson.

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.[13]

On 27 February 2008, Reeves announced that he and Mortimer were working together on a new sitcom about superheroes who get their powers through a malfunctioning telegraph pole.[14]

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.[15]

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[edit]


With Vic Reeves[edit]

Year Title Channel Notes
1989 One Hour with Jonathan Ross Channel X TV Debut in "Knock Down Ginger" segment
1990-1991 Vic Reeves Big Night Out Channel 4
1992 The Weekenders Pilot
1993-1995 The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer BBC Two Sketch show

2 series, 12 episodes

1993 Reeves and Mortimer's Driving School 45 Min. Video
1995-1997, 2002, 2009-2011 Shooting Stars Broadcast pilot in 1993

8 series, 72 episodes

1997 It's Ulrika! One-off special
1999 Bang, Bang, It's Reeves and Mortimer 1 series, 6 episodes
2000-2001 Randall & Hopkirk BBC One Acting only

2 series, 13 episodes

2004 Catterick BBC Three Sitcom

1 series, 6 episodes

The All Star Comedy Show ITV 2-part special
2005 Monkey Trousers 1 series, 6 episodes
Star Chamber Pilot, not comissioned
2014-2015 House of Fools BBC Two 2 series, 13 episodes
2015 Celebrity Squares ITV Guest appearance
2017-2019 Vic and Bob's Big Night Out BBC Two BBC Four One-off special, followed by 2 series. Totalling 9 episodes


Year Title Role Channel Notes Ref
1996 Mash and Peas Channel 4 In the Seinfeld spoof sketch "I'm Bland... yet all my friends are krazy!"
1996, 2000, 2008, 2012 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Guest panellist, guest team captain, guest presenter BBC Two Guest panellist in 1996 and 2000.

Guest team captain in 2008. Guest presenter in 2012

2002 The 100 Greatest World Cup Moments of All Time! Presenter Channel 4 For the 2002 FIFA World Cup
Celebrity Boxing for Sport Relief Contestant BBC One Defeated Les Dennis in a charity match
2005 29 Minutes of Fame Presenter 1 series, 6 episodes
Popetown Father Nicholas (voice) BBC Three Straight to DVD, the series was not broadcast due to offensive content.
2005-2007 Tittybangbang Sketch Show

Co-creator and co-writer with Jill Parker. Director for series 3

2010 The 100 Greatest World Cup Moments of All Time! Updated version for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
2010 A League of Their Own Guest panellist
2012 Would I Lie to You? Guest panellist Guest panellist

11 appearances, the most of any guest.

2013 Ross Noble Freewheeling Self Dave
2013-2016 Drifters Frank E4 Supporting role, 11 episodes
2014 Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled Guest Dave
2014-2016 Duck Quacks Don't Echo Guest panellist Sky One 4 appearances
2015 Let's Play Darts Contestant BBC Two On a team with professional darts player Andy Fordham
2017 Taskmaster Contestant Series 5 champion

Contestant in two-part Champion of Champions special

2018-present Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing Self 6 series broadcast, 1 upcoming [26]
2019 Travel Man Self


Year Title Type Ref
2021 And Away... Autobiography [30]
2022 The Satsuma Complex Novel [32]

Personal life[edit]

Mortimer has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since childhood, he controls it with steroids.[34]

In October 2015, Mortimer underwent triple bypass surgery, which led to the cancellation of the first leg of the Reeves and Mortimer 25 years tour.[35] On the day of his hospital admission, he married Lisa Matthews, his girlfriend of 22 years, under a special marriage licence express from London. They have two sons.[36]

Mortimer is a lifelong fan of his hometown football team Middlesbrough and the rock band Free. During his appearance on Desert Island Discs, he revealed that he dealt with crippling shyness until the age of 30, which only began to improve after his initial television success; he also reflected on how his father's early death had shaped his personality, despite not realising how much this event had affected him as a child.[37]


  1. ^ Pain, Andrew (10 August 2011). "Bob Mortimer on growing up on Teesside and North-east comedy". TeessideLive. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  2. ^ Herring, Richard. "Episode 64 – Bob Mortimer". British Comedy Guide. Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Nine things we learned from Bob Mortimer's Desert Island Discs". BBC. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ Ewing, Sarah. "Bob Mortimer: 'I wrecked the family fortunes by burning down mum's uninsured house'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Voice of the Boro Ali Brownlee of BBC Tees dies". BBC News. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer webchat – as it happened". The Guardian. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Bob Mortimer". Desert Island Discs. BBC. 3 February 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  9. ^ Mortimer, Bob (2021). And Away... Simon and Schuster. Chapter 15. ISBN 978-1-398-50530-8.
  10. ^ Mortimer, Bob (2022). And Away... Simon & Schuster Ltd. ISBN 9781398505322.
  11. ^ "The A-Z of laughter (part two)". The Observer. 7 December 2003.
  12. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (2 January 2005). "Cook tops poll of comedy greats". The Observer.
  13. ^ "Vic Reeves' House Arrest". BBC Radio 2.
  14. ^ Dent, Karen (27 February 2008). "Reeves enjoys a Big Day Out with apprentices". The Journal. Archived from the original on 29 June 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  15. ^ "Vic and Bob cancel live shows". Giggle Beats. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  16. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 452. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  17. ^ Wallop, Harry (5 October 2009). "Churchill dog to star in 22 pantos. Oh Yes". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Oh yes, it's Deryck Guyler". Ross Wagman's Blog. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  19. ^ "Reeves dropped from insurance ads". BBC News. 29 March 2005.
  20. ^ "BBC pulls controversial Popetown". BBC News. 23 September 2004. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  21. ^ "Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer: 'There was the chance one of us might drop dead on the riverbank'". The Guardian. 15 July 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  22. ^ Nelson, Alex (28 March 2018). "Podcast of the week: Athletico Mince's surreal look at football". Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  23. ^ "Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing". BBC.
  24. ^ "Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing (Life, Death and the Thrill of the Catch)". Waterstones.
  25. ^ "When is Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing series 4's release date? Everything you need to know". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  26. ^ a b "BBC Two – Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing". BBC. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  27. ^ "Bob Mortimer on Desert Island Discs". BBC.
  28. ^ "Episodes". Off Menu. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  29. ^ "Off Menu – Ep116 – Bob Mortimer" (PDF).
  30. ^ a b Mortimer, Bob (16 September 2021). And Away...By Bob Mortimer. Gallery Books UK. ISBN 9781398505292. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  31. ^ "And Away...By Bob Mortimer". Audible.
  32. ^ a b Fox, Killian (16 October 2022). "The Satsuma Complex by Bob Mortimer review – the sleuth is out there". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  33. ^ | Try Audible Free Today.
  34. ^ "Bob Mortimer – my battle with arthritis". Radio Times. Retrieved 24 October 2007 – via BBC Press Office.
  35. ^ Press Association (27 October 2015). "Bob Mortimer cancels tour after triple heart bypass operation". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  36. ^ "Bob Mortimer "And Away..."". Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  37. ^ "Nine things we learned from Bob Mortimer's Desert Island Discs". BBC. Retrieved 9 June 2020.

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