This is a delicious little show which does much more than it says on the tin. It’s how Telly should be.
Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse do indeed go fishing, but their honesty, frankness and genuine affection for each other really make it something special.
Both comedians suffer from heart conditions and the show is the result of Paul dragging Bob out fishing in real life, following his triple heart bypass.
They’re good mates off screen, at a similar stage, age and share a common outlook on life given their recent brushes with death.
The days they spent on the riverbank off screen were a good enough craic to lift both their spirits, they decided to do more and a six part show for the TV was born. Lucky us!
Each episode they go after a particular fish, Paul sorts out the location whilst Bob books acommodation and cooks their Heart Healthy Food, the varying quality of which becomes a bit of a running in-joke.
Like all good telly, it appears effortless. It’s a joy to go on a journey with them, watch them give each other stick and make one another laugh. It’s a genuinely funny show and makes you want to be part of their gang or get back in touch with an old friend.
In common with all the greats, particularly live kids telly, it’s all very honest TV. You can’t spot a pre-arranged gag or a setup anywhere, it appears completely organic which frankly makes it super rare and worth a watch alone.
Something else that’s super rare is the format of six half hour shows, something which anecdotally at least feels like a dying breed.
On Channel 4 this would have been an hour long. The content made to fit by constantly repeating things the viewer saw only five minutes ago.
Amazing Spaces I’m looking at you.
Gone Fishing is the polar opposite. It’s gentle, gimmick free and leaves you wanting more. Even some of the clips in the shows opening sequence don’t make it into the episodes, so you never feel like you’ve seen it all before it actually begins.
It’s success then I suppose is down to few things. Being born organically, avoiding EPG clickbait but most of all Paul and Bob are tremendous in it and let us into their world openly.
The producers have done that very lucky and cool thing of letting a show stand on it’s own two feet without any aparrent interference. Tremendous.
For me it is a truly wonderful little weekly treat and I truly hope a second series of something very similar is already in the offing.