Paul Julian Whitehouse (born 17 May 1958) is a Welsh actor, writer and comedian. He was one of the main stars of the BBC sketch comedy series The Fast Show, and has also starred with Harry Enfield in the shows Harry & Paul and Harry Enfield & Chums. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was in the top 50 comedy acts voted for by comedians and comedy insiders.
Paul Julian Whitehouse
17 May 1958
|Alma mater||University of East Anglia|
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, screenwriter, television producer|
|Home town||London, England|
Whitehouse was born on 17 May 1958, in Stanleytown, Glamorgan, Wales. His father, Harry, worked for the National Coal Board and his mother, Anita, was a singer with the Welsh National Opera. The family moved to Enfield in north London, England when he was four years old, which led to his discovering his talent for mimicry:
At school I didn't say a word for the first four weeks – I called it my Silent Month. I think it was because everyone was speaking so differently from how it had been in Wales. Then, after four weeks, I came home one day and said, 'Muumm, I wanna go to Sarfend!' For her that was the end because I had lost my lovely Welsh lilt. So I became very conscious of speech and the effects it can have. But when I went back to Wales I would start talking all Welsh, 'lyke that you see' before going all Alf Garnett while coming back the other way.
Whitehouse attended the University of East Anglia from autumn 1976, where he made friends with Charlie Higson. The pair spent little of their first year studying, instead playing sitar and performing with their jazz fusion combo, the Right Hand Lovers, along with other university friends Duncan Beamont, Kevin Buckland and Dave Cummings.
Whitehouse dropped out and squatted in a council flat in Hackney, east London and occasionally worked as a plasterer. After Higson graduated in 1980, he moved in with Whitehouse, working by day as a decorator and performing at night and the weekends with his new punk-funk group The Higsons.
The pair began working as tradesmen on a house shared by comedians Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, which inspired them to start writing comedy. They moved to an estate where in a pub they met Harry Enfield, a neighbour with a stage act, and after he gained a place on Channel 4's Saturday Live, the pair were invited to write for him. Whitehouse created Enfield's character Stavros (a London-based Greek kebab shop owner), and then Loadsamoney (an archetypal Essex boy made good in Margaret Thatcher's 1980s); he also appeared as Enfield's sidekick Lance on Saturday Live.
This success turned Whitehouse and Higson's career, and they began to appear on shows such as Vic Reeves' Big Night Out and extensively for the BBC, with Whitehouse appearing on A Bit of Fry and Laurie as a man with a clinical need to have his bottom fondled, and Paul Merton: The Series, then as performer on shows such as Harry Enfield's Television Programme, where he developed numerous characters including DJ Mike Smash of Smashie and Nicey, alongside Harry Enfield as Dave Nice.
While watching a preview tape of highlights from Enfield's programme, Whitehouse and Higson were inspired to create a rapid-fire delivery comedy series, which would evolve into The Fast Show (when shown in the United States on BBC America, the show was titled Brilliant). Whitehouse's characters included:
- Rowley Birkin QC
- The 13th Duke of Wymbourne
- Archie ("hardest game in the world")
- Chris Jackson
- Unlucky Alf
- Arthur Atkinson
- Brilliant Kid
- Ron Manager
- Ken, one of the "Suit You" tailors
- Lindsey, one of the Rubbish Offroaders
- Poutremos Poutra-Poutremos, anchor of the foreign TV station Chanel 9 sketch
Whitehouse wrote, produced and appeared with Chris Langham in the 2005 comedy drama Help, also for the BBC. In this series he took 25 roles, all patients of Langham's psychotherapist (except one, who is Langham's psychotherapist's psychotherapist). The pair's collaboration resulted in Whitehouse taking the witness stand on 24 July 2007 in the trial of Langham, in regard to the charge of holding explicit images and videos of minors. Langham claimed he downloaded this material as research for a character in the second series of Help, but Whitehouse's testimony only partially corroborated this explanation.
Whitehouse appeared in the BBC sketch series Harry & Paul (formerly Ruddy Hell! It's Harry and Paul), starring alongside Harry Enfield.
Whitehouse starred alongside Charlie Higson in the BBC2 comedy series Bellamy's People, with the first episode broadcast on 21 January 2010. The comedy evolved from the BBC Radio 4 program Down the Line. The show originally had the working title of Bellamy's Kingdom.
In June and July 2018 Whitehouse appeared with his long time friend and fellow comedian Bob Mortimer in a BBC2 six part comedy series, Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. The two friends, who both suffer from heart conditions, share their thoughts and experiences while fishing at a variety of locations around the UK.
Whitehouse and Charlie Higson produced and appeared in a spoof phone-in show Down the Line on BBC Radio 4. The first series was broadcast May–June 2006. A second series was broadcast 16 January–20 February 2007, during which they won a Sony Radio Academy Award. A third series was broadcast in January 2008, a fourth in January 2011 and a fifth in May 2013. In February 2014, Radio 4 broadcast Nurse, written by Whitehouse and David Cummings and starring Esther Coles in the title role, with Whitehouse playing a variety of characters, including Graham Downs who had previously appeared in Down the Line.
He also starred alongside Eddie Large and Russ Abbot in episode 4 of Horne & Corden. Comic Relief 2011 contained a new parody video of Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind) directed by MJ Delaney featuring Whitehouse and other Welsh celebrities lip-syncing to the song. It is available to download via iTunes.
Johnny Depp described Whitehouse as "the greatest actor of all time".
Whitehouse and John Sullivan's son, Jim Sullivan, have written Only Fools and Horses The Musical, which launched on 9 February 2019 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London. Whitehouse stars as Grandad.
Whitehouse's main early influences were the sketches of Les Dennis and Dustin Gee and The Goodies. Tommy Cooper made him laugh, as did Morecambe and Wise and the television show Dad's Army. He cites his modern influences as Harry Enfield, of whom he says without meeting he would not have been doing what he does now, and the approach of Reeves and Mortimer who he thinks are "far and away the best comedians that we have had in this country for a long while."
|2000||Kevin & Perry Go Large||bouncer|
|2004||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||Sir Cadogan||Deleted scenes|
|Finding Neverland||Stage Manager|
|2005||Corpse Bride||William Van Dort|
Paul the Head Waiter
|2009||Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva||Otis||English version|
|2010||Alice in Wonderland||Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare||Voice only|
|Burke & Hare||Drunk Gentleman|
|2016||Alice Through the Looking Glass||Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare||Voice only|
|2017||The Death of Stalin||Anastas Mikoyan|
|Ghost Stories||Tony Matthews|
|2018||King of Thieves||Carl Wood|
|2019||The Personal History of David Copperfield||Mr. Peggotty||Post-production|
|1990||A Bit of Fry and Laurie||Man at the Bottom Fondled in Audience||Episode: "Episode #2.3"|
|Vic Reeves Big Night Out||David Rowells|
|Episodes: "Episode #1.1"|
|1991||Comic Relief||Mike "Smashie" Smash||TV film|
|Paul Merton: The Series||Carver||Episode: "Episode #1.6"|
|1990–92||Harry Enfield's Television Programme||Fred Git|
|1994–2000||The Fast Show||"Unlucky" Alf|
Chris the Crafty Cockney
The 13th Duke of Wymbourne
Rowley Birkin QC
|Also co-creator and screenwriter|
|1992||Bunch of Five||Spencer Pendel||Episode: "The Weekenders"|
|1993–95||The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer||Jimmy Lea from Slade|
|1994||Smashie and Nicey, the End of an Era||Mike Smash||TV film|
|1994–97||Harry Enfield & Chums||Mister Dead|
|1998||Ted & Ralph||Ted|
|1999||You Ain't Seen All These, Right?||Various roles|
|Hooves of Fire||Prancer (voice)|
|2000||Randall & Hopkirk||Sidney Crabbe||Episode: "A Blast from the Past"|
|2001–2002||Fun at the Funeral Parlour||Harrison Ford The News Agent||Episodes: "Death in the Valleys"|
"The Heron Incident"
|2001||Jumpers for Goalposts||Ron Manager|
|Comic Relief: Say Pants to Poverty||Ted||TV film|
|We Know Where You Live||Smashie|
|2001–2003||Happiness||Danny Spencer||Also screenwriter|
|2002||I Love the 100 Best Top Ten Lists of the Fast Show Ever!||Various characters|
|Legend of the Lost Tribe||Prancer (voice)|
|2004||The Ultimate Pop Star||Mike Smash||TV film|
|Swiss Toni||Brickabrack Lennard||Episode: "Fothergill 2000"|
|The Catherine Tate Show||Dad||Episode: "Episode #2.5"|
|2007||Close Encounters of the Herd Kind||Prancer (voice)|
|2007–12||Harry and Paul||Various characters||Also co-creator and screenwriter|
|2009||Comic Relief 2009||Evan Davis|
|Horne & Corden||Episode: "Episode #1.4"|
|2010||Bellamy's People||Various characters||Also director and screenwriter|
|2014||The Life of Rock with Brian Pern||Pat Quid|
|2018||Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing||Himself|
Awards and nominations
|1995||Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award||TV – Light Entertainment|
Shared with Harry Enfield, Simon Greenall, Ian Hislop, Geoffrey Perkins, Nick Newman, Harry Thompson & Kay Stonham
|Harry Enfield & Chums||Won|
|1996||British Comedy Award||Top Male Comedy Performer||The Fast Show||Won|
|1997||BAFTA TV Award||Best Light Entertainment (Programme or Series)|
Shared with Charlie Higson, Sid Roberson & Mark Mylod
|Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award||TV – Light Entertainment|
Shared with Dave Cummings, Harry Enfield, Ian Hislop, Gary Howe, Graham Linehan, Arthur Mathews, Nick Newman, Geoffrey Perkins & Richard Preddy
|Harry Enfield & Chums||Won|
|1998||BAFTA TV Award||Best Light Entertainment (Programme or Series)|
Shared with Charlie Higson & Mark Mylod
|The Fast Show||Won|
|Best Light Entertainment Performance||Won|
|1999||British Comedy Award||Best TV Comedy Actor||Ted & Ralph||Nominated|
|2002||BAFTA TV Award||Situation Comedy Award|
Shared with David Cummings, Declan Lowney & Rosemary McGowan
|2006||Best Comedy Programme or Series|
Shared with Jane Berthoud, Chris Langham & Declan Lowney
|2008||Banff World Media Festival Award||Best Comedy Program|
Shared with Harry Enfield
|Harry & Paul||Nominated|
|2009||British Comedy Award||Best Sketch Show|
Shared with Harry Enfield
|2011||BAFTA TV Award||Best Comedy Program|
Shared with Harry Enfield, Sandy Johnson & Izzy Mant
- "Paul Julian Whitehouse". Checksure.biz. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Comic Paul tells of talent change Wales on Sunday – 28 October 2007
- "South East Wales Showbiz – Paul Whitehouse". BBC. 27 April 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
- "My team. Paul Whitehouse on Tottenham Hotspur". London: Guardian media. 4 March 2001. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
- "Comedy – Paul Whitehouse Profile". BBC. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Charlie Higson. "Charlie Higson: my days squatting with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse".
- On the move: Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson The Times – 2 December 2007
- "Foster's Gold - The Fast Show - Vic & Bob - Mid Morning Matters and Good Call by Brad & Dan". web.archive.org. 5 November 2011.
- "England | Kent | Co-star 'did not know about porn'". BBC News. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
- "Comedy – Harry and Paul – Homepage". BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
- Sanghera, Mandeep (15 January 2010). "Ray to star in Bellamy's People". BBC News. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
- Hogan, Michael (10 March 2015). "Nurse, review: 'a beautiful bedside manner'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
- "BBC Two – An Evening with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse". BBC.
- "Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing". BBC.
- "The Independent | 404". News.independent.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Archived 15 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- Mitchison, Amanda (27 September 2002). "That was a joke I made". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "A message from Jim Sullivan". 16 July 2018.
- "FORUM | Comedian Paul Whitehouse quizzed". BBC News. 19 March 2001. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- "Paul Whitehouse (I) – Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 18 June 2013.