Paul Nicholas

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For the French footballer, see Paul Nicolas.
Paul Nicholas
Paul Nicholas Allan Warren.jpg
Nicholas in 1972 as Jesus Christ in Jesus Christ Superstar
Born Paul Oscar Beuselinck
(1944-12-03) 3 December 1944 (age 71)
Peterborough, England, UK
Other names Paul Dean
Occupation Singer, actor
Years active 1960–present
Spouse(s) Linzi Beuselinck
Children 6
Musical career
Genres Pop
Instruments Vocals

Paul Nicholas (born Paul Oscar Beuselinck on 3 December 1944)[1][2] is an English actor and singer. He started out with a pop career, but soon changed to musical theatre. Later, in the 1970s, he began a screen career. He returned to the pop charts, starring in the 1983 BBC TV sitcom Just Good Friends, for which he is best known. The show won a BAFTA and Nicholas was also nominated for best comedy performance. After the show ended, he returned to musical theatre and various other entertainment roles including producing and directing.[citation needed]


Nicholas was born Paul Oscar Beuselinck in Peterborough, England in 1944. His grandfather – who came originally from Belgium — had been a chef in the merchant navy during World War II, before becoming Head Chef on The Union-Castle Line ships between England and South Africa. His maternal grandfather was a London docker. Nicholas' father, Oscar Beuselinck, a former MI6 agent, became a highly esteemed entertainment solicitor. 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, Watford opposite the Bhaktivedanta Manor. Nicholas' paternal grandparents, Winnie and Oscar, lived in a small cottage on the grounds.


Nicholas began his pop career as early as 1960. Adopting the stage name Paul Dean, he formed Paul Dean & The Dreamers[3] 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",[4] 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. 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. 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 songs from the yet to be produced Rocky Horror Show and made the first professional recording with O'Brien singing "That Ain't No Crime". On the b-side was a song entitled "Very 50s", where O'Brien introduces the characters Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott.[citation needed]

Nicholas' film career began in 1970 in Cannabis. 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 the cameo role of "Cousin Kevin" in Tommy, and appeared as Richard Wagner in Lisztomania (1975).[5]

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.[6] 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.[5]

In 1978, he co-starred 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).[5]

Having done the workshop with Andrew Lloyd Webber, he returned to the West End stage in 1981 to create the role of Rum Tum Tugger in Webber's musical Cats. He followed this originating 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. He was also nominated for a BAFTA.[5]

Nicholas later returned to the stage, playing numerous roles on screen in both movie and television projects. 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. 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. Nicholas then starred in the national tour of Singin' in the Rain, which was directed by Tommy Steele.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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. 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.[citation needed]

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

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 centered. He Ronnie Buchan in the new police drama series Burnside. Further television work included parts in The Bill and Holby City.[5]

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.[citation needed]

In 2008, Nicholas played Alan Boon in BBC Four's Consuming Passions – a hundred years of Mills and 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.[citation needed]

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 Scrooge in the Alan Menken musical, A Christmas Carol. In 2016, Nicholas was cast as Neville Chamberlain in the film Masaryk.[citation needed]

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 were 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.[7]


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 were formed to produce the 20th anniversary production of Jesus Christ Superstar on a UK-wide tour, which sold out. They produced a nightly fully staged version of The Pirates of Penzance in which Nicholas starred and again they sold out.[7]

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, aimed at teaching acting to school-age children.[8] 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 will be funded for fourteen weeks by Wyre Borough Council. A twelve-week scheme began on 28 May 2008 in Blackpool.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Nicholas has been married twice, and has six children. His first wife, Susan, whom he divorced in the early 1970s, died in a car accident in 1977. Nicholas married his second wife, columnist Linzi Beuselinck, in 1984.



Paul Nicholas has released three studio albums and one compilation album.

  • Paul Nicholas (LP) 1977, RSO (10 songs)
  • On the Strip (LP) 1978, RSO (12 songs, 8 of which are also on 1977's Paul Nicholas LP, 4 are new recordings)
  • Just Good Friends (LP and CD) 1986, K-Tel (13 songs, 12 are cover songs)
  • That's Entertainment (CD) 1993, Karussell (14 songs) (compilation of RSO/Polydor material from 1976-1980)


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 Jockpot" (Epic)
"DJ Saturday Night" (Epic)
1975 "Shuffling Tune" (RSO)
1976 "Reggae Like It Used To Be" (RSO) 17
"Dancing with the Captain" (RSO) 8
"Grandma's Party" (RSO) 9
1977 "If You Were the Only Girl in the World" (RSO)
"Heaven On The 7th Floor" (RSO) 40 6 1
1978 "On the Strip" (RSO) 67
1979 "Two Up Two Down" (RSO)
"Yesterday's Hero" (RSO)
1980 "Magical Mr. Mistoffelees" (Polydor)
1981 "No News" (RSO)
1983 "House of Rock" (Flying Records)
"Least of My Troubles" (MCA)
1984 "Just Good Friends" (Flying Records)


  • 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


  1. ^ "Biodata of Paul Nicholas". Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Some sources cite 1945 as his year of birth.
  3. ^ "RAY'S EARLY DAYS". Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Oscar – " Club of Lights"". 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Paul Nicholas at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 394. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  7. ^ a b Info re Nicholas itinerary,; accessed 21 February 2016.
  8. ^ Paul Nicholas School of Acting & Performing Arts website; accessed February 6, 2016.
  9. ^ "PAUL NICHOLAS IN NEW ZEALAND CHARTS". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 

External links[edit]