Robert Renwick "Bob" Mortimer (born 23 May 1959) is an English comedian and actor. He performs with Vic Reeves as part of Vic and Bob. He owned the now defunct production company Pett Productions with Reeves and Lisa Clark.
Mortimer's father was a biscuit salesman who died in a car crash when Mortimer was very young, and as a result he and his three brothers were brought up by their mother Eunice in Linthorpe. 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.
He trialled for local professional football club Middlesbrough, but was not able to take the sport up due to arthritis but 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. 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.
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 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.
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 but 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 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Solo career and appearances
- 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.
- In 1996-97, Mortimer appeared on an episode of Mash and Peas with Matt Lucas, David Walliams and Reece Shearsmith, in a sketch spoofing Seinfeld, called I'm Bland... yet all my friends are krazy!.
- In July 2002, Mortimer fought and defeated Les Dennis in the BBC's first Celebrity Boxing match, as part of Sport Relief 2002.
- In 2002, Mortimer presented the Channel 4 list show The 100 Greatest World Cup Moments of All Time! An updated show, again hosted by Mortimer, was broadcast by the channel in 2010, to coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- Mortimer produced and presented the second match, The Fight, a year later, which saw Grant Bovey versus Ricky Gervais.
- In 2005, Mortimer hosted his first major TV series without Reeves, a comedy panel game for BBC One, called 29 Minutes of Fame, which featured regular guests such as Jo Brand.
- 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.
- Mortimer co-wrote the BBC Three sketch comedy Tittybangbang with Jill Parker. The programme starred Lucy Montgomery and Debbie Chazen, with Tony Way, and ran for three series between 2006 and 2007.
- Mortimer has appeared on BBC Two's Never Mind the Buzzcocks on four occasions to date - in 1996, on Sean Hughes' team; in 2000, on Phil Jupitus's team; in 2008, as a guest team captain; and in 2012, as a guest host.
- In April 2010, Mortimer appeared on the Sky1 panel show A League of Their Own, on Andrew Flintoff's team.
- Mortimer is now writing his first novel, provisionally titled "Have Her Over My Hedge (You've Never Trimmed It)", with Charlie Higson.
- Mortimer is currently writing a sitcom for the BBC starring Mackenzie Crook and Iain Lee.
- In May 2012, June 2013, September 2014, August 2015 and September 2016, Mortimer appeared on BBC1's quiz show "Would I Lie to You?"
- In November 2013, Mortimer appeared on an episode of Ross Noble Freewheeling
- Also in 2013, Mortimer starred as Frank in the E4 comedy Drifters.
- On 18 June 2014, Mortimer appeared on an episode of the Dave show Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled.
- On 4 March 2015, he appeared in Let's Play Darts but lost out to Roisin Conaty.
- In 2015, he appears in an episode of Celebrity Squares alongside Vic Reeves
- In April 2015, Mortimer took over from the late Rik Mayall as Bombardier Bedford, the mascot of Well's Bombardier Beer.
- As of April 2016, Mortimer has co-hosted a weekly podcast, Athletico Mince alongside Andy Dawson.
- Mortimer has appeared on numerous episodes of the Sky1 comedy panel game Duck Quacks Don't Echo.
Mortimer married his partner of 22 years, Lisa Matthews, in October 2015. The couple have two children, Harry (b. March 1997) and Tom (b. August 1998).
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.
Mortimer is a lifelong fan of Middlesbrough F.C..
In October 2015, it was revealed that Bob has been recovering from a triple bypass surgery which led to the cancellation of the first leg of the Reeves and Mortimer 25 years tour.