Robert Webb on life-threatening heart condition: “I didn’t realise that my heart was on its last legs”

The 'Peep Show' actor has shared more details about the medical condition that led to him having life-saving surgery

Robert Webb has shared more details about his recent life-threatening heart condition, which forced him to give up alcohol and cigarettes.

The actor, who made his name as unemployed musician Jez in cult comedy Peep Show, revealed last year that he suffered at the hands of alcohol addiction for years and that it accelerated a medical condition that led to him having to have life-saving surgery.

Webb was told during a routine medical examination on the set of his sitcom Back that he “would not last two days” if he didn’t undergo immediate surgery.


Diagnosed with a mitral valve prolapse after suffering from a heart murmur, Webb put feeling tired all the time down to treating his body “like a skip”, and a growing dependence on cigarettes and alcohol.

Speaking in a new interview with NME, Webb recalled the time he found out he was sick and shared details of his diagnosis.

“It turned out I was incredibly unwell,” he said. “I knew something was up, but I didn’t realise that my heart was on its last legs. The mitral valve had prolapsed and was flapping about uselessly, and the heart had grown and remodelled to desperately keep the show on the road.”

He added: “The cardiologist said that in two to six months the heart was going to fail”.

Webb tweeted a few weeks ago that he’d hit his one year “soberversary”. Asked whether it was tough to give up drinking, he replied: “No, it’s been a great year to stop drinking because all the pubs are closed.”


“I’ve been enjoying having a quiet life,” Webb continued. “The heart condition was not lifestyle based, it’s just a birth defect, it’s congenital. But once you’ve been in hospital – which is not a pleasant experience at the best of times, and it’s not the best of times, it’s the worst of times – I came out with a newfound respect for my internal organs.

“I’m going: ‘It’s my liver, it’s my lungs, these are my guys, let’s look after them a bit better!’ So I gave up drinking and smoking and I do lots of exercise now and I feel literally younger.”

Series two of Robert Webb and David Mitchell’s Back debuts on Channel 4 on January 21 at 10pm.

Meanwhile, Netflix has removed a Peep Show scene involving blackface from its platform as a number of shows re-evaluate their content.

The death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis last year has sparked global anti-racism protests, and, in the wake of this, the entertainment world has been removing controversial scenes and episodes over problematic content.