The national love for the comedian Bob Mortimer truly knows no bounds, with the Middlesbrough entertainer having been appreciated for generations thanks to his collaboration with Vic Reeves, as well as his successful podcast Athletico Mince.
His success was sparked back in the late 1980s when Mortimer began to perform in the live show Vic Reeves Big Night Out, producing such bizarre characters as Graham Lister, Judge Nutmeg and the Man With the Stick. Becoming a success in South London, the show hastily moved to a larger venue as Mortimer was thrust into the limelight as one of its leading stars.
Not long after their stage success, Reeves and Mortimer made their television debut on the 1989 comedy chat show One Hour with Jonathan Ross, before they both made a TV pilot later that same year with the variety show Vic Reeves Big Night Out. Since then, both performers had become major names in British television, making a significant mark with the release of Shooting Stars in 1993, a nonsensical game show that ran for eight series in total.
Capturing the imagination of a generation hungry for more surreal comedy in the wake of the Monty Python success, Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves continued a tradition of British comedy that focused on bizarre, yet strangely forward-thinking comedy. No doubt inspiring the likes of The Mighty Boosh, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and even Dick and Dom, Bob Mortimer certainly has a crucial role to play in the history of British humour.
Part of the melting pot of 1990s comedy that was formed toward the end of the decade, Mortimer spoke about his role in the Britpop era of the country, with GQ asking the comedian if he went “mental” during this period. Mortimer responded, “I probably did. And the whole of the ’90s were like that. And it was great fun. I wouldn’t want to go back there now. But there was something in the air and we felt at the centre of something, you know?”.
In a period of creative blossoming for the music, film and art industries, Mortimer was joined by entertainers across the country who helped to turn Britain into a hotbed for new ideas. In cinema, Midlands filmmaker Shane Meadows was one of these many creatives, making Small Time in 1996 followed by TwentyFourSeven the following year and A Room for Romeo Brass in 1999.
Working in tandem with Meadows on opposite ends of the industry, Mortimer held a considerable amount of respect for the filmmaker, even calling A Room for Romeo Brass “the best film ever made”.
Appearing alongside Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode on their film review show back in 2005, Mortimer praised the film for its extraordinary dramatic power, calling Paddy Considine’s performance “just extraordinary”. Appearing alongside Julia Ford, Bob Hoskins, Vicky McClure and a young Andrew Shim, Considine plays an older man who manipulates two small boys into helping him in his pursuit of one of their sisters.
Watch the trailer for the 1999 British classic, below.