Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing


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 - Paul had an arterial stent fitted.

Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimor in Gone Fishing. The Sea Trout Episode.

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.

Bob Mortimor and Paul Whitehouse on the riverbank in their new show Mortimor and Whitehouse Gone Fishing

Something else that's super rare is that the producers chose to make six half hour shows, a format which at least feels to me to be a dying breed.

Look at anything similar on Channel 4 and it's 15/20 minutes of content stretched into an hour filled with ad-breaks and unecessary re-caps.

Amazing Spaces is a great example of that tedious behaviour but is far from the only show on TV to insult the viewer by constantly repeating the things they saw only five minutes ago.

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 avoids any need to engage in EPG clickbait. Paul and Bob are tremendous in it and let us into their world openly, whilst the producers have done that very 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.