Paul Whitehouse talks Gone Fishing ‘TV gold’ as he and co-host could ‘drop dead’ on-air

Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse star in BBC Christmas trailer

Comedian’s Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer have become quite the popular TV duo with their show Gone Fishing, and despite it being a somewhat factual and informative program, it isn’t without their quick wit and infectious sense of humour. Having both suffered heart related health issues, dying has become a favoured choice of joke, something the pair feel would be a bit of “TV gold” if to were to happen on-air.

The jeopardy is that one of us will drop dead on the riverbank, and that’s TV gold

Paul Whitehouse

The two long-term pals have both survived potentially life-threatening coronary events, with Mortimer undergoing open-heart surgery and Whitehouse having to have emergency stents following a colonic abscess.

In a recent interview ahead of their upcoming Christmas special, the latter revealed he has “no fear” of his own mortality as he recalled how he and Mortimer pitched the show to the BBC before it’s debut in 2018.

“Apart from my little brush with the colectomy and the heart disease, I was ticking along quite happily,” he told The Independent.

And while Mortimer was recovering from a triple heart bypass operation in 2015, his old pal came to the rescue, offering fishing as a way to take his mind off his health.

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After a short while they decided to pitch what was just a couple of friends getting through some serious health issues together to the major broadcaster, initially branding it as simply a factual series.

“That’s how we sold it,” Whitehouse recalled.

“We’ve got this show and we’ve both got heart disease, so with a bit of luck, the jeopardy is that one of us will drop dead on the riverbank, and that’s TV gold.

“So far it hasn’t happened. We keep dragging it out,” he joked.

And it took them both by surprise that it was an instant hit.

Speaking to Radio Times in a separate chat, he added: “Before this we were destined for the scrapheap really.

“I’d been asked to do fishing shows many times, and I’d always said no. But there was something about this one, the heart-disease angle and Bob’s subsequent redemption, and you know, ‘Glory be! Bob is risen!’”

But following the trials and tribulations life has thrown at them, their time is now spent doing what they love – fishing.

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And ahead of the Christmas episodes, Mortimer hoped the festive spirit would change his friend’s view on the annual holiday.

The angler admitted he doesn’t really enjoy this time of the year, so he made it is duty to get his pal in the mood.

“I’m not talking about for other people. Please go and enjoy it as much as you want!” Whitehouse told the publication

“But I don’t like formal, contrived celebrations, particularly.

My disappointment with Christmas stems from my abject horror at losing the magic of Christmas when I was young. That’s where it comes from.

“Because I’ll never capture that Christmas joy and excitement again.”

“It’s me trying to show Paul what Christmas is, and to celebrate it,” Mortimer added about the point of doing their festive episode before noting how popular the show has become.

Whitehouse and Mortimer’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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