Paul Nicholas

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Paul Nicholas
Nicholas in 2018
Paul Oscar Beuselinck

(1944-12-03) 3 December 1944 (age 79)
Peterborough, England
Other namesPaul Dean
  • Singer
  • actor
  • producer
  • director
Years active1960–present
Susan Gee
(m. 1966; div. 1970)
Linzi Jennings
(m. 1984)
Musical career

Paul Nicholas (born Paul Oscar Beuselinck; 3 December 1944)[1][2] is an English actor and singer, best known for his work in the 1983 BBC sitcom Just Good Friends. The show won a BAFTA and Nicholas was nominated for best comedy performance.

Nicholas started out with a pop career, but soon changed to musical theatre, playing the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar at the West End’s Palace Theatre in 1972. After his TV series Good Friends ended, he returned to musical theatre and various other entertainment roles, including producing and directing.[3][4] He is also known for his more recent television role in EastEnders as Gavin Sullivan and in The Real Marigold Hotel as himself.

Early life[edit]

Paul Nicholas was born Paul Oscar Beuselinck on 3 December 1944 in Peterborough. His father was an entertainment lawyer, Oscar Beuselinck, whose clients included Sean Connery, The Beatles, Richard Harris, John Osborne, Private Eye and MGM. His paternal grandfather also called Oscar Beuselinck, was Belgian and had been a chef in the merchant navy during World War II, before becoming head chef on the Union-Castle Line ships between the United Kingdom and South Africa. His maternal grandfather was a London docker.

The family spent holidays at his maternal grandparents' home on the Isle of Sheppey, until Nicholas was 10. After his parents divorced when he was 12, his father's family home was at Letchmore Heath, Hertfordshire, opposite the Bhaktivedanta Manor. His paternal grandparents, Winnie and Oscar, lived in a small cottage on the grounds.


Nicholas in 1972

Nicholas began his pop career as early as 1960. Adopting the stage name Paul Dean, he formed Paul Dean & The Dreamers[5] who were booked to support The Savages, the backing band for the British rocker Screaming Lord Sutch.

It was here that Sutch first noticed the young Nicholas, who was soon to become vocalist and pianist with The Savages. Still using the name Paul Dean, he released two solo singles in 1965–66. After taking a new stage name, Oscar, he began a long association with the Australian-born entrepreneur, Robert Stigwood. In 1966, Nicholas signed with Stigwood's Reaction Records label and his first single under his new name, "Club of Lights",[6] scraped into the lower reaches of the Radio London Fab Forty chart.

The second Oscar single was a version of a Pete Townshend song "Join My Gang", which The Who never recorded. His third single, a novelty song called "Over the Wall We Go" (1967) is notable for being written and produced by a young David Bowie (Nicholas at this time was managing the band The Sweet and recommended them to record producer Phil Wainman whom he worked with at Mellin Music Publishing). After settling on the stage name Paul Nicholas, he found success in the UK in musicals, beginning with the leading role of Claude in Hair (which Stigwood produced) before winning the title role in the original London production of Jesus Christ Superstar. The part of Danny to Elaine Paige's Sandy made them the first British couple to play the leads in Grease.

Paul Nicholas as Jesus Christ, 1972.
Nicholas in Jesus Christ Superstar, 1972

He joined The Young Vic under Frank Dunlop and played Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing and appeared in Crete and Sgt. Pepper by John Antrobus. He appeared as the Bully of the Boulevard in Richard O’Brien’s T-Zee at London's Royal Court Theatre. He performed in Prospect Theatre Company's Carl Davies musical Pilgrim. While touring with O'Brien in Hair in 1970 he first heard and recorded two songs with Richard O’Brien from the yet to be produced Rocky Horror Show.

Nicholas' film career began in 1970 in Cannabis.[7] He followed this with See No Evil (1971) and What Became of Jack and Jill? (1972). He then appeared in Stardust (1974), and Three for All (1975). In 1975, he played "Cousin Kevin", Tommy's vicious cousin, in Tommy, and portrayed Richard Wagner in Lisztomania (1975).[8]

In 1976, he embarked on a short-lived but high-profile pop career, with three Top 20 hits in the UK Singles Chart "Reggae Like It Used To Be", "Dancing with the Captain", and "Grandma's Party", the last two of which reached the Top 10.[9] He released the single "Heaven On The 7th Floor" in 1977. This only just reached the UK Top 40, but reached number No. 1 in New Zealand. In the US, the song peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 5 in Cashbox listings, giving Nicholas a gold record. He followed this with "On The Strip" which entered the Billboard Hot 100 No. 67 but failed to enter the UK chart. In the mid-1970s he hosted his own children's television pop show, Paul.[8]

In 1978, he appeared in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as Dougie Shears. Further films followed including The World Is Full of Married Men (1979), Yesterday's Hero (1979), the loutish punk singer in The Jazz Singer (1980), the romantic lead in Invitation to the Wedding (1983), and Nutcracker (1983).[8]

Having participated in a workshop with Andrew Lloyd Webber, he returned to West End theatre in 1981 to create the role of Rum Tum Tugger in Lloyd Webber's musical Cats. He then originated the title role in Blondel by Sir Tim Rice and Stephen Oliver. That same year, he starred in Two Up, Two Down, a short-lived sitcom co-starring Su Pollard. In 1983, he got his first high-profile television role as Vince Pinner in Just Good Friends. The show for which Nicholas also sang the theme tune, was a success and won a BAFTA.He was also nominated for a BAFTA for best comedy performance.[8]

Nicholas later returned to the stage, playing numerous roles on screen in both movie and television projects. In 1986, Nicholas continued to star in musicals including Jekyll and Hyde, Fiddler On The Roof’' and 42nd Street’' which was directed by the shows author Mark Bramble. He starred as The Pirate King in Joseph Papp's version of The Pirates of Penzance at the London Palladium and the Manchester Opera House, touring again in the same role in the late 1990s. He starred in Barnum in the first national tour and followed this with a highly successful season at The Dominion Theatre in the West End. At the end of 1991, while touring with Barnum, Nicholas was the subject of This Is Your Life.[10]

For his services to show business and charity, Nicholas was awarded a Silver Heart from the Variety Club of Great Britain and a Gold Badge Award from BASCA for his services to the music industry. Nicholas then starred in the national tour of Singin' in the Rain, which was directed by Tommy Steele.[11]

In June 1996, Nicholas played the role of King Arthur in the Covent Garden Festival's production of Camelot. He repeated his role of King Arthur in a BBC Radio 2 production of Camelot. Other radio work included Bert in BBC Radio 4's Gracie. He hosted two series of BBC Radio 2's Mad About Musical', as well as his own hour-long TV special, Paul and Friends, for Thames Television. Nicholas fronted the Radio 4 children's series Cat's Whiskers during the 1980s.[12]

In 1997, he starred as the anti-hero of Karoline Leach's The Mysterious Mr. Love at the Comedy Theatre in London's West End. He continued to appear as the lead in numerous straight roles thereafter: Simon Gray's Stagestruck, a national tour of Michael Cooney's The Dark Side, Catch Me if You Can, and two plays by Eric Chappell: Mixed Feelings, in which he played a transsexual, and Snakes and Ladders. He starred as John Smith in the original production of Caught in the Net. In 1998, he co-produced, with Bill Kenwright, a new musical based on Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities, starring as Sidney Carton. The musical played Windsor with a Christmas season in Birmingham.[13]

In 2000, Nicholas appeared in the BBC television comedy drama Sunburn, playing David Janus, owner of the self-titled holiday company around which the series was created. He then played Ronnie Buchan in the new police drama series Burnside. Further television work included parts in The Bill and Holby City.[8]

Paul Nicholas as Neville Chamberlain, Masaryk 2016.
Nicholas as Neville Chamberlain in Masaryk (2016)

He then played the title role in the national tour of Doctor Dolittle and followed this with the role of Tevye in UK Productions' national tour of Fiddler on the Roof. In the summer of 2006, he was a celebrity showjumper in the BBC's Sport Relief event Only Fools on Horses, as well as appearing in Doctors, Heartbeat and Holby City. That autumn, Nicholas was attached to star in the British film Cash and Curry, and that year he co-produced and starred in Jekyll & Hyde in a UK national tour.[14]

In 2008, Nicholas played Alan Boon in BBC Four's Consuming Passion: 100 Years of Mills & Boon. He also directed and produced A Tale of Two Cities at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. In 2009, Nicholas played Jack Point in The Yeomen of the Guard for the Carl Rosa Opera Company at the Tower of London Festival. In November 2010, Nicholas opened in The Haunting. He also directed the musical version of Tale of Two Cities at Charing Cross Theatre in April–May 2012.[15]

In 2014, Nicholas produced and starred in Blockbuster, a musical. In 2015, he appeared as Judge Wargrave in And Then There Were None. In the summer of 2015 he directed a new production of Tommy at Blackpool's Opera House. In June 2015 while touring in And Then There Were None, Nicholas was cast as Gavin Sullivan on EastEnders. He then starred as Ebeneezer Scrooge in the Alan Menken musical, A Christmas Carol. In 2016, he was cast as Neville Chamberlain in the film Masaryk. He appeared as himself in The Real Marigold Hotel shown on BBC One in March 2017. In 2018, Nicholas toured the UK. He also played Arvide Abernathy in Guys and Dolls at the Royal Albert Hall.[16]

In 2021, Nicholas published 'Musicals Marigolds & Me' and his 3 CD Boxset 'Paul Nicholas Gold'. In 2022, he played Pickering in 'Pygmalion' at the Theatre Royal Windsor.[citation needed]

In 2023, Nicholas resumed a UK tour of 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' prior to a West End run. He also released an audio book of his biography 'Musicals Marigolds & Me'.[citation needed] In 2024 Paul will play the Major in ‘Fawlty Towers’ the John Cleese sitcom adapted as a stage play. It opens in May at the Apollo Theatre in London.


In 1990, while starring with David Ian in The Pirates of Penzance at the London Palladium, Nicholas offered Ian a partnership in co-producing and starring in a touring production of the New York Shakespeare Festival version of the popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera. Paul Nicholas & David Ian Associates Ltd was formed to produce the 20th anniversary production of Jesus Christ Superstar on a UK-wide tour, which sold out. They then produced a nightly fully staged version of The Pirates of Penzance in which Nicholas starred and again they sold out.[17]

The company has since produced numerous shows, including:

Paul Nicholas School of Acting & Performing Arts[edit]

In 2006, Nicholas set up a franchise operation, the Paul Nicholas School of Acting & Performing Arts (52°56′11″N 0°29′49″E / 52.93626°N 0.49702°E / 52.93626; 0.49702), aimed at teaching acting to school-age children.[18][19] The company went into liquidation in 2012.

In January 2008, Nicholas launched Paul Nicholas Community Arts, a project designed to engage disenfranchised children in the arts. The pilot scheme was funded for fourteen weeks by Wyre Borough Council. A twelve-week scheme began on 28 May 2008 in Blackpool.[20]


Year Title Role Notes
1970 The Wednesday Play Jake Season of the Witch
Cannabis Paul Film
The Females [de] Mann (uncredited) Film
1971 See No Evil Jacko Film
1972 What Became of Jack and Jill? Johnnie Tallent Film
Till Death Us Do Part Self Film
1974 Softly, Softly: Taskforce Slim Episode: "Pop Goes the Weasel"
Stardust Johnny Film
1975 Listzomania Richard Wagner Film
Three For All Gary Film
Tommy Cousin Kevin Film
1976 Play For Today Kevin Early Struggles
1978 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Dougie Shears Film
1979 The World is Full of Married Men Gem Gemini Film
Two Up, Two Down Jimmy 6 episodes
Yesterday's Hero Clint Film
1980 CHiPs Malcolm Episode: "Thrill Show"
Ladykillers Frank Hogg Film
The Jazz Singer Keith Lennox Film
1981 Plays for Pleasure Sam A Little Roccoco
1982 Alicja Cheshire Cat/ Caterpillar Film
Nutcracker Mike McCann Film
1983 Doubting Thomas TBC TV movie
Invitation to the Wedding David Anderson Film
1983–6 Just Good Friends Vince Pinner 22 episodes
1985 Lyrics by Tim Rice Blondel Segment: "Least of My Troubles" (Video)
1987 Even Break Butch Short
1987–8 Bust Neil Walsh 12 episodes
1987–8 Creepy Crawlies Narrator 39 episodes
1987–93 The Adventures of Spot Narrator 25 episodes
1989–90 Close to Home James Shepherd 19 episodes
1995 Spot's Magical Christmas Sam (voice) UK version (Video)
1999 Calling All Toddlers Narrator Segment: "Spot Stays Overnight" (Video)
2000 Burnside Ronnie Buchan 4 episodes
Doctors Martin Stockton Episode: "Love You Madly"
Sunburn David Janus 6 episodes
2003 The Bill Julian Walker Episode: "Blaze of Glory"
2006 Doctors Terry Episode: "Half Empty"
Everything But the Kitchen Sink Dr. Heinrich Vandoor (voice) Short
Heartbeat Sven Larson Episode: "Dead Men Do Tell Tales"
Holby City Rob Logan Episode: "Flight of the Bumblebee"
2008 Consuming Passion: 100 Years of Mills & Boon Alan Boon TV movie
The Royal Today Mr. Woods 48 episodes
2010 Missing Eddie Broad 1 episode
2012 Doctors Pete Power Episode: "Wanton Desire"
2013 Dear World: A Musical Fable Sewerman Video
2015–6 EastEnders Gavin Sullivan 31 episodes
2016 A Prominent Patient Neville Chamberlain Film
The Gridiron Mr. Stayner Film

Personal life[edit]

Nicholas was 18 when he had a child with girlfriend Patricia Brecknell. His then-former girlfriend, Lyn Last, gave birth to his second child in 1967, only a few months after his 1966 marriage to Susan Gee.[21] Nicholas and Gee had two children together. After their divorce, Susan Gee died in 1977, at the age of 28 in a car accident, survived by their two young children.[22]

Nicholas married Linzi Jennings in 1984 and they have two children together.[23]





  • Paul Nicholas (1977, RSO LP) 12 songs; 10 in the US and Canada. In the Netherlands, it was retitled On the Strip (1978, RSO LP) and added two single A-sides while dropping two others.
  • Just Good Friends (1986, K-Tel LP and CD) 13 songs, 12 of which are cover versions
  • That's Entertainment (1993, Karussell CD) 14-song compilation; RSO/Polydor material from 1976 to 1980
  • Colours of My Life (1994, First Night Records CD) 16-song compilation; 12 from West End theatre cast albums and 4 new recordings

Paul Nicholas Gold (2022 Demon Records) 3 CD set CD1 Pop Hits - CD2 Show Songs - CD3 Romantic Songs


Year Title Peak positions
1968 "Open Up the Skies" (Polydor)
1969 "Who Can I Turn to" (Polydor)
1970 "Freedom City" (Polydor)
1971 "The World is Beautiful" (Polydor)
1974 "I Hit the Jackpot" (Epic)
"D.J.: Saturday Night" (Epic)
1975 "Shufflin' Shoes" (RSO)
1976 "Reggae Like It Used to Be" (RSO) 17
"Dancing with the Captain" (RSO) 8 99 5
"Grandma's Party" (RSO) 9
1977 "If You Were the Only Girl in the World" (RSO)
"Heaven on the 7th Floor" (RSO) 40 41 6 49 1
1978 "On the Strip" (RSO) 67
1978 "Love Lines" (RSO, Netherlands-only)
1979 "Two Up Two Down" (RSO)
"Yesterday's Hero" (RSO)
1980 "Magical Mr. Mistoffelees" (Polydor)
1981 "No News" (RSO)
1983 "House of Rock" (The Flying Record Company)
"The Least of My Troubles" with Sharon Lee-Hill (MCA Records)
1984 "Just Good Friends" (The Flying Record Company)
1986 "Don't Wanna Go Home Alone" (K-Tel)


  • Paul Nicholas (with Douglas Thompson) "Musicals, Marigolds & Me" autobiography, 235 pages. Published in October 2021 by Fantom Publishing. An Audio Book version published in 2023 narrated by Paul Nicholas
  • Paul Nicholas (with Douglas Thompson): Behind the Smile autobiography, hardcover, 218 pages published in October 1999 by André Deutsch Ltd; ISBN 0-233-99748-2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biodata of Paul Nicholas". Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  2. ^ Some sources cite 1945 as his year of birth.
  3. ^ "Saturday Night Fever (West End, 1998)". Broadway World.
  4. ^ "A Tale of Two Cities (Charing Cross Theatre,2012". Theatricalia.
  5. ^ "RAY'S EARLY DAYS". Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Oscar – " Club of Lights"". 2009. Archived from the original on 15 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Paul Nicholas". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e Paul Nicholas at IMDb
  9. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 394. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  10. ^ Newton, Jackie (17 October 1991). "Party Time for the Captain". Liverpool Echo. p. 35.
  11. ^ "Singin' in the Rain". Theatricalia.
  12. ^ Radio Times listings - BBC Genome Project
  13. ^ Norris, Fred (18 December 1998). "A Dickens of a Good Cast". Birmingham Mail. p. 43.
  14. ^ "Nicholas Heads Jekyll & Hyde". The Stage. 8 April 2004. pp. 1–2.
  15. ^ Shenton, Mike (7 February 2012). "A Tale of Two Cities Musical to Open at London's Charing Cross Theatre in April. He also produced, directed and starred as Stephen Ward in 'Keeler' based on Christine Keeler's book 'The Truth At Last'". Playbill.
  16. ^ Meet the cast of Guys and Dolls Live in Concert
  17. ^ Info re Nicholas itinerary,; accessed 21 February 2016.
  18. ^ Paul Nicholas School of Acting & Performing Arts website; accessed 6 February 2016.
  19. ^ Collins, Tony (25 September 2008). "Actor Paul Nicholas seeks future superstars". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  20. ^ Jones, Alison (31 May 2013). "Paul Nicholas acts on his instinct". Business Live.
  21. ^ "Susan Beuselinck". MyHeritage. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  22. ^ Watts, Halina (18 June 2015). "EastEnders star Paul Nicholas not a heartthrob anymore - but a doting grandad". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  23. ^ Barber, Richard (21 June 2019). "Paul Nicholas reveals all: From TV heartthrob to globe-trotting pensioner". Daily Express. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  24. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 217. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  25. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  26. ^ "PAUL NICHOLAS IN NEW ZEALAND CHARTS". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 January 2014.

External links[edit]