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Bob Mortimer in 2010.
|Birth name||Robert Renwick Mortimer|
23 May 1959 |
Acklam, Middlesbrough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
|Medium||Stand up, television|
|Years active||1986 - present|
|Genres||Surreal humour, Physical comedy|
|Children||Harry (b. March 1997)
Tom (b. August 1998)
|Notable works and roles||Vic Reeves Big Night Out
The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer
Bang, Bang, It's Reeves and Mortimer
Families at War
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)
29 Minutes of Fame
House of Fools
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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.
At around the age of 7, Mortimer accidentally burnt down his family's home with a stray firework. He 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. 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.
Mortimer married his partner of 22 years, Lisa Matthews, in October 2015. The couple have two children, Harry (born March 1997) and Tom (born August 1998).
He is a lifelong fan of Middlesbrough Football Club.