The utter joy of Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing

by | Jul 19, 2018 | All, Reviews

I’ve never really been a fan of the comedy of either Paul Whitehouse or Bob Mortimer and I have even less interest in fishing. You can imagine my surprise when a show featuring the pair chatting on river/lake beds whilst waiting for their fish to bite captivated me.  The rather clunky and overlong titled show “Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing” is an utter revelation. The concept of the show is simple: the pair have both had issues with the hearts. Mortimer has had a triple bypass and Whitehouse (referred to by Mortimer as looking like a conker with a hat on in an episode) has had to have several stents fitted to keep his ticker ticking.

The show sees them discussing a wide range of subjects as they stand in their waders. Whitehouse is the keener fisherman while Mortimer is there to spend time with his friend, find local accommodation and cook ‘heart healthy’ food for the pair. Of course, there is a crew with them to film these conversations but you quickly forget that because it feels so genuine and so not about ‘performing’ for the cameras or the audience. The joy of the show, much like BBC1’s Car Share and BBC4’s Detectorists is watching the pair enjoy each other’s company. It’s lovely to see a true male friendship on screen as they talk about the seriousness of their health conditions and chastise each other for their receding hairlines and fishing abilities.

In a TV landscape where ‘structured reality’ like Love Island dominate social media, it’s refreshing to see a show like this that relies on genuine friendship and ‘banter’ to sustain an audience for half an hour. The pair have such a rapport as a viewer you just want to be their friend and the show allows you to do that. They don’t shy away from the more uncomfortable conversations from discussing their funerals to which clips will be shown on the news or at BAFTA when they pass on. Even their excitement when they reel in a fish is infectious. If it’s not already apparent this little show about two middle-aged men with dodgy hearts chatting as they fish has slowly become one of the highlights of my TV week, and I suspect will be one of the highlights of the year.

Now, I’ve done you a huge disservice. If this article is perhaps the first you’re hearing about the show, or you dismissed is just another celebrity travelogue series and this has peaked your interest, then you’ll need to be quick as the final episode airs this Wednesday and the rest are just about hanging in on the iPlayer. Don’t waste time, seek it out and I’m sure you’ll fall under its spell as I have.

Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing Concludes Wednesday at 10.00pm on BBC Two.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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