Peep Show star Robert Webb has told the story of how a routine medical check-up ahead of filming on his new series Back led to him having open-heart surgery.

Webb and co-star David Mitchell appeared on BBC's The One Show on Thursday evening ahead of the first episode of the new series of Back on Channel 4. 

"It all got quite drastic because we'd just finished rehearsing and that was sort of October 2019 - a very long time ago now, all pre-pandemic - and I went for the cast medical," the 48-year-old recounted.

"It is normally just this very, 'Look over there and cough, let's not ask too many questions about your health' kind of thing.

"And the doctor put his stethoscope on my heart. I was watching his face, as you do, and he kind of went [makes shocked face]... which was not a good sign.

"He said, 'What have you been doing about the heart murmur?' and I said, 'What heart murmur?'

"Then, a couple of days later, I'd had a few tests and a cardiologist said, 'You are not going to have a heart attack in the next fortnight, but in the next two to six months this heart will fail'."

Webb continued: "He said, 'It's not something you can fix with pills', so that was a spot of open-heart surgery. So I did the first week's filming. I don't know why I did that, nobody asked me to!

"After I had done that for a while, I realised I was just sort of creeping around the studio, trying not to have a heart attack, and I thought maybe it would be better if I went home.

"Then, I had the operation and then I recovered for three-and-a-half months. And then we made the rest of the series, apart from the last week's filming, when we had to stop because there was a global pandemic. But then we came back in September and then we finished it and now it's on tonight on Channel 4."

Robert Webb and David Mitchell in their black comedy series Back

"You're ok now?" asked host Alex Jones. "Fully recovered?" 

"I'm absolutely fine," Webb replied.

"I've got completely normal heart function, normal life expectancy, I'm available for panto."

The Press Association says that Webb has reportedly given up alcohol and smoking.  

Back is on Channel 4 on Thursdays at 10:00pm.

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