Bob Mortimer

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Bob Mortimer
Bob mortimer Middlesbrough.jpg
Mortimer in 2010
Birth nameRobert Renwick Mortimer
Born (1959-05-23) 23 May 1959 (age 63)
Middlesbrough, England
MediumStand-up, television
Years active1986–present
GenresSurreal humour, physical comedy
Lisa Matthews
(m. 2015)
Notable works and rolesVic 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)[1] 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[edit]

Mortimer was raised with three brothers in the Linthorpe area of Middlesbrough.[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] Mortimer attended King's Manor 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.[6]

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.[7] 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".[8] According to his autobiography, he was mugged in Peckham by a former client, who apologised after recognising him, and 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]

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 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 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.[10] 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.[11]

In 2004, Mortimer and Reeves wrote and starred in Catterick, a six-episode surreal comedy about an ex-soldier, Carl, who returns home from 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.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

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]

Personal life[edit]

Mortimer 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.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29]

In September 2021, Mortimer released an autobiography, And Away....[30][31]


  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". 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'". 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. ^ "The A-Z of laughter (part two)". The Observer. 7 December 2003.
  11. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (2 January 2005). "Cook tops poll of comedy greats". The Observer.
  12. ^ Staff writer. "Vic Reeves' House Arrest". BBC Radio 2 Comedy.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Vic and Bob cancel live shows". Giggle Beats. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  15. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 452. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  16. ^ "Churchill dog to star in 22 pantos. Oh Yes". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  17. ^ Ross Wagman. "Oh yes, it's Deryck Guyler". Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  18. ^ Reeves dropped from insurance ads BBC News
  19. ^ "BBC pulls controversial Popetown". News story. 23 September 2004. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  20. ^ "Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer: 'There was the chance one of us might drop dead on the riverbank'". 15 July 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing". BBC.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "When is Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing series 4's release date? Everything you need to know". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  24. ^ "BBC Two – Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing". BBC. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  25. ^ "Bob Mortimer on Desert Island Discs". BBC.
  26. ^ "Bob Mortimer – my battle with arthritis". Magazine column. original: Radio Times "My Kind of Day" column, reproduction: Press Office. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  27. ^ Press Association (27 October 2015). "Bob Mortimer cancels tour after triple heart bypass operation". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  28. ^ Jamieson, Sophie (13 January 2016). "Bob Mortimer wed long-term girlfriend just half an hour before life-saving heart bypass". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  29. ^ "Nine things we learned from Bob Mortimer's Desert Island Discs". Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  30. ^ And Away...By Bob Mortimer Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  31. ^

External links[edit]