Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - a comedy that's 10 out of tench

Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer go fishing in a new 'comedy' series on BBC2
Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer go fishing in a new 'comedy' series on BBC2
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You can often tell how old a person is by the comedy catchphrases they repeat. “Ooh you are awful... but I like you” people are 55-plus, while anyone telling you “computer says nooo...” is around 30.

People of my age, however, will often shout “ooh, suits you sir!” or “You wouldn’t let it lie” at the drop of a hat.

That’s because my generation’s formative years were spent watching Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer dominating TV comedy, with Big Night Out, Shooting Stars and The Fast Show all being catchphrase factories for impressionable teenagers.

So it’s a bit of a shock to see these comedy heroes pitching up looking older, greyer and slower on the side of lake, fishing for tench.

And yet, in Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing (BBC2, Wednesdays, 10pm) you could still see the silliness rising to the surface, like a carp in search of bait.

The basic premise is simple – after both had serious heart problems, Paul takes Bob fishing, to get out and relax, while Bob takes Paul to nearby ‘attractions’.

What to watch this week

Like Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s The Trip, with restaurants swapped for fisheries, it’s merely a rickety scaffold for Whitehouse and Mortimer to just be funny.

Unlike The Trip, however, there doesn’t seem to be the heightened reality and alpha maleness going on here. Bob and Paul just seem to be that, two mates, gone fishing, trying to make each other laugh: “There’s so many we’ve left behind when we were children – drugs, Scalextric, helping your mum...”

It’s half an hour of of gentle, silly, stupid fun and, yes, it reminds you that you’re getting old, but it also reminds you that you don’t have to stop being silly.

And in’t that brilliant!?

The Handmaid’s Tale (Channel 4, Sundays, 9pm) is getting so gruelling that I’m beginning to think of giving up on it. The performances and the brilliant photography are all that’s keeping me going.

The World Cup is everywhere, so the far corners of the EPG come into play, and Elementary (Sky Living, Mondays, 9pm). Plot-driven, clever, not up it’s own fundament, yes, it’s better than Sherlock.