Paul Whitehouse admits he and co-star ‘were destined for scrapheap’ before Gone Fishing

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Gone Fishing star Paul Whitehouse, 62, joked that he and his co-host Bob Mortimer, 61, were “destined for the scrapheap” before the BBC show came along. With three successful series under their belts and a Christmas special on the way, Paul admitted he wasn’t expecting the late-career surge in popularity.

Before this we were destined for the scrapheap really

Paul Whitehouse

In a recent joint interview, he said: “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!’”

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

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, Bob hoped the festive spirit would change Paul’s view on the annual holiday.

The angler admitted he doesn’t really enjoy this time of the year, so Bob 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!” Paul told Radio Times.

“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,” Bob added about the point of doing their festive episode before noting how popular the show has become.

“We’re hitting 20 million [viewers] now, over this Covid period, through iPlayer,” he said.

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“I have to admit I watch it quite a lot, and I never watch my own shows. It’s very reassuring in a way. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s a very Covid-friendly show.”

The festive instalments will see the pair embark on the River Tees on the North Yorkshire/County Durham border, a special place for Bob especially because it’s where he learnt to fish as a youngster.

“That’s my golden Christmas period, when I was a young lad,” he told the publication.

“I thought it would be nice to base it there, to show Paul my neck of the woods, my old house where I used to enjoy those Christmasses, and the places that I fished when I was young.

Bob and Paul’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times [RADIO TIMES]

“Going back has been a revelation for me. Remembering how important friends were to you.

“The way that you spent your time with them when you were young, just knocking on the door and saying, ‘Let’s go and walk around the streets for five hours.’”

Bob and Paul’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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