Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Christmas Fishing

Rating 8.0
Streamer BBC iPlayer
Seasons 1
Episodes 1 x 60 mins

When you see the word Christmas in a show title, your inner Ebenezer may well come out. But hold on, and give a festive cheer for this Christmas treat, which is guaranteed to lift your spirits.

Let us introduce you to the premise: Mortimer and Whitehouse – a comedy duo anyone over the age of thirty will be thoroughly familiar with – have got a telly show where they go fishing, and chat. It’s about as uncomplicated as it gets – the idea came after the duo both suffered a period of ill-health, and decided to go fishing to cheer themselves up. Don’t be put off by the inclusion of fishing – it’s really just an excuse for the real focus, the banter. These lifelong friends, dressed up to the nines in their waders, reflect on life, friendships, and the universe, and it is a joy to watch. They are refreshingly open about their mental health, and celebrate how getting out in mother nature can be the ultimate cure.

For this Christmas special the pair journey to Mortimer’s hometown of Middlesbrough to check out the catch on the River Tees. As they ponder Christmases past, present and future, the ever-sarcastic Whitehouse is our Scrooge, and Mortimer our joyful Tiny Tim. As usual, the pair prat about, eating spiced up Brussel sprouts, and meeting fellow Teessider, Chris Rea. And what’s Chrimbo without some presents? These two exchange some gifts so heart-warming we wouldn’t blame you if you shed a tear  

It’s not just us that love this show, the critics are all for it too. The Times’ Carol Midgley says “good Christmas programmes are thin on the ground this year and this remains a gem.” Much like the other seasons, of which The Guardian’s Sam Wollaston says “it’s good news that Mortimer and Whitehouse are discussing depression as well as cardiovascular disease, their prostates and their willies so publicly on the telly,” whilst “celebrating the natural loveliness of this country.” Ed Power in The Telegraph says the emotionally intelligent special was a reminder that whilst it may be the season for mince pies and sherry, it’s also “the season for misty-eyed reminiscing and sudden bouts of melancholia.” However, despite the moving reflections, it remained “a comic ramble by the riverbank.”

First shown December 2020.

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