Robert Webb

Robert Webb

Date of birth: 29-09-1972
Born in Lincolnshire, Robert Webb went to Cambridge, where he joined the famous Footlights troupe – and met David Mitchell, when they were both auditioning for a student pantomime.

They wrote their first show – the First-World-War-based Millions Dead or Dying ( a wry look at the post-apocalyptic age with songs) – while at university, and took it to the 1997 Edinburgh fringe.

After graduating, they appeared in regular sketch nights on the London circuit, and wrote for a number of shows including Armstrong & Miller and Big Train. Theyreturned to Ediburgh with Shopping and St***-Up (1998), The Mitchell & Webb Story (1999) and The Mitchell & Webb Clones (2001)

Their first break into television came in 2000, on the short-lived BBC sketch show Bruiser, which led to their own show on the now-defunct Play UK the following year, The Mitchell and Webb Situation.

In 2003, they landed the roles that woul dmake their name, as flatmates Mark Corrigan (Mitchell) and Jeremy Usbourne (Webb) in the multi-award-winning Peep Show, written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain. The show's sixth series is due out in 2009.

Alongside this, they continued to work on their own sketch series, first on Radio 4 with three series of That Mitchell and Webb, which trasferred to TV as That Mitchell and Webb Look and had three series by 2009, winning a Bafta for best comedy in 2007.

In 2006 the pair made their first tour, The Two Faces of Mitchell and Webb, which was nominated for best stage comedy at the the British Comedy Awards, and the following year their first film, Magicians, was release, while they also fronted Apple's Mac vs PC ads.

As a solo artist, Webb has appeared in BBC Three sitcom The Smoking Room.

In 2008, he made his West End stage debut in Neil LaBute's Fat Pig, and in 2009 he won in the Comic Relief Let's Dance special, spoofing the famous Flashdance sequence

He married comedy actress Abigail Burdess in 2007.

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Back series two

Review of David Mitchell and Robert Webb's returning comedy

To judge the new series of Back on the strength of its first episode would be like ruling on a movie on the first 20 minutes. For while the show is certainly funny, the main aim of creator Simon Blackwell is to set the wheels in motion for a captivating psychodrama that will play out over the following five weeks.

In the first series, more than three years ago, we saw how David Mitchell’s beta-male character Stephen was gradually nudged towards madness as what he assumed would be his destiny – running the country pub bequeathed to him by his father – was taken from him by the effortlessly assured interloper Andrew (Robert Webb), asserting that he was a long-lost foster-brother.

A stay in a tranquil ‘wellness centre’ has, apparently, set him right and he’s now relaxed and centred as he returns to  his sleepy rural hometown - although from the moment he walks through the doors of The John Barelycorn Andrew is back to his confidence-undermining tricks.

Mitchell and Webb are playing close to their familiar characters. Stephen pedantically fretting about the correct plural of Cup-A-Soup is surely peak David Mitchell, while Andrew is what Peep Show’s Jez could have come if he ever applied himself: a manipulative sociopath.

There’s touches of the great Ever Decreasing Circles, too, with a petty little Englander being outplayed by a suave, confident rival – and with a supporting cast of oddballs. 

Here, Stephen seems to be being set up for a fall courtesy of the P:UB a pretentious gastropub opening nearby, marking the gentrification of the village. While in the oddballs category we find daftly meek barkeepers Mike and Jen flighty sister Cass, and Geoffrey McGivern’s unreconstructed barfly Geoff, who is mainly a vessel for swearing. Surprisingly, this isn’t always particularly artful.

But it’s only a small minority of Blackwell’s many funny lines that doesn’t hit the spot, and the rants he gives to Mitchell, especially, are things of joy. But the main attraction is seeing just how Andrew’s Machiavellian machinations are going to play out over the forthcoming episodes. 

• Back series two launches on Channel 4 at 10pm tonight.

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Published: 21 Jan 2021


Back is not Peep Show: The Next Generation. But it…


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2001

Mitchell and Webb Clones


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