Andrew Dipper

House of Fools: Q&A with Vic and Bob

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Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer have written their first sitcom together since the BBC’s Catterick in 2005. Set in Bob Mortimer’s home, studio sitcom House of Fools sees Bob frustrated by his uninvited lodgers, visitors and guests who constantly fill his house. Ahead of its January debut on BBC2, the iconic double-act sit down to chat about the series.

Hello Vic, hello Bob. Can you tell us a little about the show and your characters?

Vic: The show is about Bob’s house and his suffering of a variety of idiotic characters. I play Vic Reeves, who is one of the idiots. It’s not me, but he looks a lot like me and sounds like me too.

Bob: House Of Fools is set in my place where I live with Vic and my Norwegian son Erik (played by Daniel Simonsen). All I want is a quiet life but this is impossible due to the antics of Vic’s mates Beef (played by Matt Berry), Bosh (played by Dan Skinner) and our next door neighbour Julie (played by Morgana Robinson) who all treat my flat as a second home. I am boring and staid but underneath this bluster is the fact that Vic and everyone else bring some fun into my life.

How did the idea for the series come about?

Vic: The BBC asked us to write a sitcom, so we did.

Bob: We wanted to take on the challenge of a studio sitcom which is one of the few comedy genres we have not attempted. A house full of idiots seemed the easiest setting. We can write idiots quite well.

Who is your favourite character and why?

Vic: There is a little creature I bought in an auction, it’s a little rat-bear looking toy. We used it in the show and it was all over the episode called ‘The Wig Affair’, walking off with various items throughout the episode. That’s my favourite character.

Bob: I like them all. Each of the characters has a show that revolves around them. In ‘The Probation Affair’ Dan Skinner (Bosh) steals the show. In ‘The Pork Pie Affair’ Beef (Matt Berry) is king. If I got the chance to play one of the other roles I would choose Julie (Morgana Robinson) because she is a beautiful lady.

There has been a resurgence in recent years of studio-based sitcoms. Does working with an audience give the show a different type of energy?

Vic: I always have energy on set so am happy either way.

Bob: Performing in front of an audience gives you an extra 10% energy and the chance to react to the instant feedback. Having an audience in the studio makes you perform rather than just act.

Do you have a favourite episode?

Vic: I love them all.

Bob: My favourite episode is ‘The Birthday Affair’. I got to have a bath in a tin bath on top of a cooker and spend half the show in a coffin which was very relaxing.

There are some fantastic comedy actors in the show, were their roles written with them in mind?

Vic: You couldn’t imagine anyone else playing these characters once you get to meet them.

Bob: We could hear their voices and imagine their stupid faces as we wrote every line.

Are there any cameos coming up in the series you can tell us about?

Vic: Yes, there are several, including Reece Shearsmith and Frank Harper.

Bob: Special mention must go to Nikki Amuka-Bird and Reece Shearsmith, both of whom stole the show in their respective episodes, Nikki appears in ‘The Probation Affair ‘and Reece is in ‘The Ghost Affair’.