Paul Copley

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Paul Copley
Actor Paul Copley
Copley in Ohio 2012 (Royal Shakespeare Company Young persons’ "King Lear” tour - Paul played Lear)
Born Paul Mackriell Copley
(1944-11-25) 25 November 1944 (age 73)
Denby Dale, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Occupation Actor, voice-over artist
Years active 1973–present
Spouse(s) Natasha Pyne (1972– present)

Paul Mackriell Copley (born 25 November 1944) is an English actor and voice-over artist.

Early life[edit]

Copley was born in Denby Dale, West Riding of Yorkshire, and grew up beside a dairy farm there. His father, Harold, was involved with local amateur dramatic productions, as were the rest of his family. He went to Penistone Grammar School, then to the Northern Counties College of Education in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he received an Associate of the Drama Board (ADB) in Drama. He taught English and Drama in Walthamstow, before he joined the Leeds Playhouse Theatre-in-education Company in 1971.[1]


He was the male lead character in the four-part BBC series Days of Hope in 1975, which depicted events between the First World War and the General Strike from a family involved in socialist politics.[2]

In 1976, Copley won the Laurence Olivier Award for Actor of the Year in a New Play for his role in John Wilson's For King and Country.[3]

After appearing as Private Wicks in the film A Bridge Too Far (1977), he played a small but noticeable role in Zulu Dawn (1979) as Cpl Storey in the British Army. He appeared in the then controversial ATV drama Death of a Princess (1980), playing a British witness to the killing of an Arabian princess and her lover. He has played Matthews in Hornblower, Ian in Roughnecks and Jerry in This Life and Peter Quinlan in The Lakes. In the critically acclaimed Queer as Folk he played Nathan Maloney's father. He was in Big Finish's July 2002 Doctor Who story Spare Parts and appeared in Shameless as a water sports enthusiast. In 1980 he appeared in the highly successful comedy drama series Minder playing George Palmer in episode The Old School Tie. He narrates the Channel 4 programme, How Clean is Your House?. He featured in the ITV children's hit show "Best Friends" 5 episodes in 2005–06, playing the grandfather.

He is a regular actor in Radio 4 drama, usually in gritty or romantic plays or series about hard-working folk set in the north of England, often repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Whenever a genial Yorkshire accent has been cast in the BBC radio drama department, he has often been summoned. Copley played the long-suffering teacher Geoff Long in Radio 4's long running King Street Junior. Covering ten series and some seventy-six episodes, this ran on BBC Radio 4 from 1985 to 1998. He also narrated the Yorkshire Television nine part serial adaptation of The Pilgrim's Progress (1985) entitled Dangerous Journey.

On 13 February 2006, Copley appeared as an angry hostage-taker in an episode of the crime drama Life on Mars. Copley appeared in the TV Soap Coronation Street on 8 August 2007, portraying a character called Ivor Priestley, and in the TV adaptation of The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, as wizard and former-frog, Algernon Rowan-Webb.

From 1998 to 2003, Copley played Mathews in the Meridian Television series Hornblower. He appeared in the third series of BBC One show Torchwood in 2009. The following year, he was seen in episodes of BBC One shows Casualty and Survivors. From 2011 to 2015 he appeared as Mr. Mason, father of William Mason, in 16 episodes of Downton Abbey; in 2012, he played Alan in the television series White Heat.

Between 2012 and 2015 he played Harry in 3 seasons of the TV series Last Tango in Halifax. In 2014 he played the part of Malcolm Kenrich in the episode "On Harbour Street" of the TV series Vera.

In 2014 he narrated the Channel 5 programme 'The Railway - First Great Western' of which there are 12 episodes. He also features as the father in Tom Wrigglesworth's Hang-Ups, a comedy on BBC Radio 4.

In 2016 he appeared in the BBC series The Coroner episode 2.4 "The Beast of Lighthaven" as John Roxwell.

In 2017 Paul appeared in Jimmy McGovern’s acclaimed series Broken (TV series), Red Production Company Trust Me (UK TV series), and in ep 5 of Doc Martin he played the eccentric Walter O’Donnell. He also took part in What does an Idea Sound Like promoting the Veterans Work Campaign, and narrated A Celebrity Taste of Italy for Channel 5 (UK)

2018 - Paul is Charlie Rainbird in the short film Thousand Yesterdays, currently in post production, and continues to voice Morrisons advertisements on radio and television in the UK.

Personal life[edit]

He married the actress Natasha Pyne in 1972, after performing with her in a Leeds Playhouse production of Frank Wedekind's Lulu, adapted by Peter Barnes, directed by Bill Hays in 1971.

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "Paul Copley - The Official Website - about", Paul Copley - The Official Website. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  2. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Days of Hope (1975)", BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  3. ^ "Official Winners 1976", Official London Theatre - Theatre Tickets, News & Guides. Retrieved 2018-03-20.

External links[edit]