The comedian was told he had just one year to live after a routine check-up flagged up a serious heart condition, but with his wife Abigail Burdess by his side, he’s ready to take on Strictly Come Dancing
Peep Show favourite Robert Webb is heading to the Strictly dance floor, just one year after undergoing major surgery.
The 48-year-old actor and comedian, who shot to fame with his role as Jeremy “Jez” Usborne in the Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show, also took part in – and won – the first series of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009 with a routine based on Hollywood film Flashdance.
Speaking about asked what motivated him to take part, he said: “It’s partly my age and it’s partly, nearly two years ago I had quite a big deal health thing.
“I had open-heart surgery, so since then, I think my attitude is basically, ‘This is no time to be cool and sitting at the edges watching other people doing the dancing’.
“If you have got something to offer, it might be time to offer it.”
He added: “I have spent the last few years doing a lot of writing with How To Be A Boy and Come Again and I have felt quite itchy and just a need to reconnect with the audience as a performer.
“It looks like a lot of fun. Very hard, but fun.”
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And cheering him on the sidelines will be his wife, Abigail Burdess.
Aside from her stint in BBC medical drama Casualty as a travel agent in 2010, Abigail is best known for her comedy writing for television, radio and stage productions like the BAFTA-nominated Sorry I’ve Got No Head (CBBC) and Watson and Oliver (BBC2).
Robert met Abigail while recording the radio sketch show The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, and in 2006 they tied the knot with Robert’s comedy partner David Mitchell acting as best man.
When asked by Lifestyle Daily what it’s like being married to a fellow comedian, Robert revealed that he and his wife are like any other married couple.
He said: “Like any other couple, we fight, but probably using slightly more stupid voices. We’re not really competitive with each other.”
Robert added: “There’s a disparity between who’s had a break when. I had a massive break with Peep Show in 2003 but it hasn’t really happened for Abi in quite the same way.
“She’s very successful compared with most actors and writers in that she makes a living, but she hasn’t had the ludicrous good fortune that I have.”
The couple lives in Kilburn, north London, with their two daughters.
Of parenting daughters, Robert has said: “Parenting girls makes you quite gender-conscious.
“It’s almost impossible to fight the power of pink.
“It’s not such a terrible thing to want to be a princess when you’re five, but it would be nice if there were some other options.”
Robert underwent serious emergency heart surgery last year after discovering in 2019 that he was suffering from a heart murmur – a near-death experience that pushed him to take part in this years Strictly.
“I suppose it is part [of recovering]. You get to a point in life where you think ‘this is no time to be cool’ and these experiences don’t come along every five minutes so suddenly it felt rude not to [take part].”
He added: “I wouldn’t say it’s an obvious way to recover from heart surgery, they don’t put it on the website!”
Robert hopes to win over the judges, and public, by milking his operation. “I’m going to mention it as often as possible,” he jokes.
“Actually, it’ll be the two year anniversary of my heart surgery on Halloween, so that will be the show where I get my scar covered in glitter.”
*Strictly Come Dancing is back on BBC One tonight (Saturday, September 25) at 7.45pm.
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