Paul Whitehouse

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Paul Whitehouse
BornPaul Julian Whitehouse
(1958-05-17) 17 May 1958 (age 56)
Stanleytown, Rhondda-Cynon-Taf, Wales, U.K.[1]
Alma materUniversity of East Anglia
OccupationActor, comedian, screenwriter, television producer
Years active1987–present
Home townLondon, England
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For the British police officer, see Paul Whitehouse (police officer).
Paul Whitehouse
BornPaul Julian Whitehouse
(1958-05-17) 17 May 1958 (age 56)
Stanleytown, Rhondda-Cynon-Taf, Wales, U.K.[1]
Alma materUniversity of East Anglia
OccupationActor, comedian, screenwriter, television producer
Years active1987–present
Home townLondon, England

Paul Julian Whitehouse[2] (born 17 May 1958 in Stanleytown, Rhondda-Cynon-Taf) is a Welsh actor, writer and comedian. He became known for his work with Harry Enfield and as one of the stars of the popular BBC sketch show, The Fast Show. 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. He is most well known for his comic characters in The Fast Show, Harry and Paul and Harry Enfield and Chums. He also appears in AVIVA insurance adverts. Johnny Depp described Paul Whitehouse as "the greatest actor of all time".[3]

Early life[edit]

Whitehouse was born in Stanleytown in the Rhondda Valley, Rhondda-Cynon-Taf, Wales.[1] His father worked for the National Coal Board and his mother was a singer with the Welsh National Opera.[4] The family moved to Enfield[5] in North London, England when he was four years old, which led to his discovering his talent for mimicry:[1]

"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 in Norwich from autumn 1977, where he made friends with Charlie Higson.[6] The pair spent little of their first year studying, instead playing guitar and performing with their punk rock combo, the Right Hand Lovers, along with other university friends Duncan Beamont, Kevin Buckland and Dave Cummings.

Whitehouse dropped out and lived with other drop-outs 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.[7]

Whitehouse (right) as Smashie

The pair began working as tradesmen on a house shared by comedians Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, 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,[7] and after he gained a place on Channel 4's Saturday Live, the pair were invited to write for him.[6] 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 Nicey.

TV career[edit]

While watching a preview tape of highlights from Enfield's show, Whitehouse and Higson were inspired to create a rapid-fire delivery comedy show, The Fast Show. (When shown in the United States on BBC America, the show was titled Brilliant.) Whitehouse's characters included:

Due to his array of comedy characters, Johnny Depp has said Whitehouse is one of the best actors he has seen. Depp is a fan of The Fast Show and made a guest appearance on the programme.

An online series of The Fast Show commissioned by Fosters led to six weekly episodes launched on 10 November 2011.[8]

Whitehouse as Unlucky Alf

In 2001 and 2002 Whitehouse wrote and performed in two series of the BBC comedy drama Happiness, in which he played a voice-over actor with a mid-life crisis.

Whitehouse wrote, produced and appeared with Chris Langham in the 2005 comedy drama Help, also for the BBC. In this show 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.[9]

Whitehouse appeared in the BBC sketch show Harry & Paul (formerly Ruddy Hell! It's Harry and Paul), starring alongside Harry Enfield.[10]

Whitehouse starred alongside Charlie Higson in a BBC2 comedy series called Bellamy's People, with the first episode broadcast on 21 January 2010. The comedy evolved from the BBC Radio 4 show Down the Line.[11] The show originally had the working title of Bellamy's Kingdom.


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.[12] 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 James Corden and Mathew Horne 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.[13] It is available to download via iTunes.

Personal life[edit]

Whitehouse is divorced and has three daughters – Molly, Sophie and Lauren. He lives in Islington, is a supporter of English Premiership football team Tottenham Hotspur and has appeared on fellow comedian Phil Cornwell's Spurs Show podcast.[14] Whitehouse has also claimed to have a soft spot for Everton: when asked on the Danny Baker radio show broadcast on 13 February 2010 to describe his childhood bedroom, Whitehouse responded, "There's an Everton and Tottenham poster on the wall. I'm a Tottenham fan but I quite like Everton 'cause they were the champions when I was a kid. If I wasn't from Tottenham I think I'd have been an Everton fan as they're my second team if you like."[15]


Whitehouse's main early influences were the sketches of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and the Monty Python crew. 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 (who 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."[16]



2000Kevin and Perry Go LargeBouncer
2004Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanSir Cadogan
Finding NeverlandStage Manager
2005Corpse BrideWilliam Van Dort
Paul the Head Waiter
2010Alice in WonderlandThackery Earwicket, the March Hare
Burke and HareDrunk Gentleman
2016Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking GlassThackery Earwicket, the March Hare


1990A Bit of Fry and LaurieMan at the Bottom Fondled in AudienceEpisode: "Episode #2.3"
Vic Reeves Big Night OutDavid Rowells
Jean-Paul Gaultier
Mr. Popkins
Episodes: "Episode #1.1"
"Episode #1.5"
"Episode #1.6"
1991Comic ReliefMike 'Smashie' SmashTV movie
Paul Merton: The SeriesCarverEpisode: "Episode #1.6"
1990–1992Harry Enfield's Television ProgrammeMike Smash
Alf Git
1994–2000The Fast Show"Unlucky" Alf
Anyone fancy a pint?
Arthur Atkinson
Brilliant Kid
Poutremos Poutra-Poutremos
Chris the Crafty Cockney
The 13th Duke of Wymbourne
Ron Manager
Rowley Birkin QC
Various roles
Also co-creator and screenwriter
1992Bunch of FiveSpencer PendelEpisode: "The Weekenders"
1993–1995The Smell of Reeves and MortimerJimmy Lea from Slade
Heinrich Himmler
1994Smashie and Nicey, the End of an EraMike SmashTV movie
1994–1997Harry Enfield and ChumsJulio Geordio
Self-Righteous Brother George
Fred Git
Various roles
Also screenwriter
1998Ted & RalphTed
Rowley Birkin
Kevin Brown
TV movie
1999You Ain't Seen All These, Right?Various roles
David CopperfieldPawnbroker
Hooves of FirePrancer (voice)
2000Randall & HopkirkSidney CrabbeEpisode: "A Blast from the Past"
2001–2002Fun at the Funeral ParlourHarrison Ford The News AgentEpisode: "Death in the Valleys"
"The Heron Incident"
"Dead Aid"
2001Jumpers for GoalpostsRon Manager
Comic Relief: Say Pants to PovertyTedTV movie
We Know Where You LiveSmashie
2001–2003HappinessDanny SpencerAlso screenwriter
2002I Love the 100 Best Top Ten Lists of the Fast Show Ever!Various characters
Legend of the Lost TribePrancer (voice)
2004The Ultimate Pop StarMike SmashTV movie
Swiss Toni'Brickabrack LennardEpisode: "Fothergill 2000"
2005HelpVarious characters
The Catherine Tate ShowDadEpisode: "Episode #2.5"
2007Close Encounters of the Herd KindPrancer (voice)
2007–presentHarry and PaulVarious charactersAlso co-creator and screenwriter
2009Comic Relief 2009Evan Davis
Theo Profiterole
Duncan Guillotine
TV movie
Horne & CordenEpisode: "Episode #1.4"
2010Bellamy's PeopleVarious charactersAlso director and screenwriter
2014The Life of Rock with Brian PernPat Quid
Mike Smash

Awards and nominations[edit]

1995Writers' Guild of Great Britain AwardTV – Light Entertainment
Shared with Harry Enfield, Simon Greenall, Ian Hislop, Geoffrey Perkins, Nick Newman, Harry Thompson & Kay Stonham
Harry Enfield and ChumsWon
1996British Comedy AwardTop Male Comedy PerformerThe Fast ShowWon
1997BAFTA TV AwardBest Light Entertainment (Programme or Series)
Shared with Charlie Higson, Sid Roberson & Mark Mylod
Writers' Guild of Great Britain AwardTV – Light Entertainment
Shared with Dave Cummings, Harry Enfield, Ian Hislop, Gary Howe, Graham Linehan, Arthur Mathews, Nick Newman, Geoffrey Perkins & Richard Preddy
Harry Enfield and ChumsWon
1998BAFTA TV AwardBest Light Entertainment (Programme or Series)
Shared with Charlie Higson & Mark Mylod
The Fast ShowWon
Best Light Entertainment PerformanceWon
1999British Comedy AwardBest TV Comedy ActorTed & RalphNominated
2002BAFTA TV AwardSituation Comedy Award
Shared with David Cummings, Declan Lowney & Rosemary McGowan
2006Best Comedy Programme or Series
Shared with Jane Berthoud, Chris Langham & Declan Lowney
2008Banff World Media Festival AwardBest Comedy Program
Shared with Harry Enfield
Harry & PaulNominated
2009British Comedy AwardBest Sketch Show
Shared with Harry Enfield
2011BAFTA TV AwardBest Comedy Program
Shared with Harry Enfield, Sandy Johnson & Izzy Mant


  1. ^ a b c Comic Paul tells of talent change Wales on Sunday – 28 October 2007
  2. ^
  3. ^ Mitchison, Amanda (27 September 2002). "That was a joke I made". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  4. ^ "South East Wales Showbiz – Paul Whitehouse". BBC. 27 April 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "My team. Paul Whitehouse on Tottenham Hotspur". London: Guardian media. 4 March 2001. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Bio:Paul Whitehouse BBC Comedy
  7. ^ a b On the move: Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson The Times – 2 December 2007
  8. ^
  9. ^ "England | Kent | Co-star 'did not know about porn'". BBC News. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  10. ^ "Comedy – Harry and Paul – Homepage". BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  11. ^ Sanghera, Mandeep (15 January 2010). "Ray to star in Bellamy's People". BBC News. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  12. ^ Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson: Making (radio) waves The Independent – 1 October 2007
  13. ^ Comic Relief cast
  14. ^ "iTunes Store". Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  15. ^ Danny Baker show broadcast Saturday 13 February 2010, Radio Five Live and BBC website
  16. ^ BBC Forum: Comedian Paul Whitehouse quizzed BBC Forum
  17. ^ "Paul Whitehouse (I) – Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 

External links[edit]