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Paul Whitehouse

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Paul Whitehouse
Paul Julian Whitehouse

(1958-05-20) 20 May 1958 (age 66)
Alma materUniversity of East Anglia
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • screenwriter
  • television producer
  • presenter
Years active1987–present

Paul Julian Whitehouse[1] (born 20 May 1958) is a Welsh actor, writer, presenter and comedian. He was one of the main stars of the BBC sketch comedy series The Fast Show, and has starred with Harry Enfield in the shows Harry & Paul and Harry Enfield & Chums. He has appeared with Bob Mortimer in the BBC series Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, and has also acted in films including Corpse Bride (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2010), and The Death of Stalin (2017).

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.

Early life[edit]

Whitehouse was born on 20 May 1958, in Stanleytown, Glamorgan, Wales.[2] His father, Harry, worked for the National Coal Board and his mother, Anita (née Jones), was a singer with the Welsh National Opera.[3][a] The family moved to Enfield, Middlesex, when he was four years old,[5] 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, 'like that, you see' before going all Alf Garnett while coming back the other way.[2]


Whitehouse attended the University of East Anglia reading for a degree in Development Studies from autumn 1976, where he became 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.[7] Whitehouse dropped out and squatted in a council flat in Hackney, east London and occasionally worked as a plasterer.[8] 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.[9]

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,[9] 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 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 on Harry Enfield's Television Programme, where he developed numerous characters including DJ Mike Smash of Smashie and Nicey, alongside Enfield as Dave Nice.

TV career[edit]

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, Unlucky Alf, Arthur Atkinson, Ron Manager and Ted.

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

In 2001 and 2002, Whitehouse and Fast Show collaborator Dave Cummings co-wrote two series of the BBC comedy drama Happiness; Whitehouse also performed the lead role as a voice-over actor with a mid-life crisis.[11]

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.[12]

He appeared in the BBC sketch series Harry & Paul (formerly Ruddy Hell! It's Harry and Paul), starring alongside Harry Enfield.[13] 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.[14] The show originally had the working title of Bellamy's Kingdom.

In October 2014, Harry Enfield and Whitehouse revived the classic characters Frank and George ("The Self-Righteous Brothers") from Harry Enfield and Chums, in a sketch for Channel 4's testicular cancer awareness comedy series The Feeling Nuts Comedy Night.[15]

In 2015 his sitcom Nurse, based on his Radio 4 series of the same name (see below), debuted on BBC2 on 10 March.[16]

In August 2015, Whitehouse, alongside Enfield, in celebration of their 25-year partnership, presented An Evening With Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse.[17]

In June and July 2018, Whitehouse appeared with his long-time friend and fellow comedian Bob Mortimer in a BBC2 six-part 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, often with anecdotes about Paul's health and Bob's misadventures. The fourth series of Gone Fishing began broadcasting in 2021.[18] The fifth series began in September 2022, and returned for a Christmas special in December 2022.[19] The duo returned for a sixth series broadcast on BBC.


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.[20] 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. The show would become the basis for the 2015 BBC Two TV series Nurse.[21]


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.[22] Whitehouse stars as Grandad. In October 2022 he temporarily handed the part over to Les Dennis.[23]

Other work[edit]

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.[24] It is available to download via iTunes.

Johnny Depp described Whitehouse as "the greatest actor of all time".[25] Depp appeared in the 2000 finale of The Fast Show, and he and Whitehouse have appeared in five films together: Finding Neverland, Corpse Bride, Alice in Wonderland and its sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Mortdecai. The latter has been noted for alluding to Fast Show characters.[26][27]


Whitehouse's main early influences were the sketches of Les Dennis and Dustin Gee and The Goodies. In 2001, when asked about comedians who had influenced him, Whitehouse said that Monty Python, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were the main influences from when he was young. He also cited his modern influences as Harry Enfield, of whom he said without meeting he would not have been doing what he does now, and the approach of Reeves and Mortimer who he described as "far and away the best comedians that we have had in this country for a long while."[28]

Personal life[edit]

Whitehouse married Fiona Wightman in 1992, and the couple had two daughters, Molly and Sophie, before separating in 2000.[11] The couple divorced three years later. Whitehouse supported his ex-wife in a civil action she has pursued against a national newspaper, for accessing her medical records. The publisher later offered unreserved apologies.[29]

He had a third daughter, Lauren, with costume designer Natalie Rogers.[29]

Whitehouse met Dr Mine Conkbayir, who is of Turkish heritage, when she was aged 23 and 22 years his junior. She was working in a health food shop while studying. The couple have one daughter, Delilah. As of 2024 they have been together 20 years and married for five, but maintain separate homes.[30][31][32][33]

Whitehouse is a fan of Premier League football side Tottenham Hotspur.[5]



Year Film Role Notes
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, Mayhew, Paul the Head Waiter Voice only
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
2015 Mortdecai Spinoza
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 Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires Barney, Gussman Voice only
King of Thieves Carl Wood
2019 The Personal History of David Copperfield Mr. Peggotty


Year Television Role Notes
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
Jean-Paul Gaultier
Mr. Popkins
Episodes: "Episode #1.1"
"Episode #1.5"
"Episode #1.6"
1990–1992 Harry Enfield's Television Programme Fred Git
Mike "Smashie" Smash
Also screenwriter
1991 Comic Relief Mike "Smashie" Smash TV film
Paul Merton: The Series Carver Episode: "Episode #1.6"
1992 Bunch of Five Spencer Pendel Episode: "The Weekenders"
1993–1995 The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer Jimmy Lea from Slade
Heinrich Himmler
1994 Smashie and Nicey, the End of an Era Mike "Smashie" Smash TV film
1994–1997 Harry Enfield & Chums Mister Dead
George Doberman
Julio Geordio
Fred Git
Michael Paine
Also screenwriter
1994–2000 The Fast Show "Unlucky" Alf
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
1998 Ted & Ralph Ted
Rowley Birkin
Kevin Brown
TV film
1999 You Ain't Seen All These, Right? Various roles
David Copperfield Pawnbroker
Hooves of Fire Prancer (voice)
2000 Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) Sidney Crabbe Episode: "A Blast from the Past"
2001 Jumpers for Goalposts Ron Manager
Comic Relief: Say Pants to Poverty Ted TV film
We Know Where You Live Mike "Smashie" Smash
2001–2002 Fun at the Funeral Parlour Harrison Ford The News Agent Episodes: "Death in the Valleys"
"The Heron Incident"
"Dead Aid"
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 "Smashie" Smash TV film
Swiss Toni Brickabrack Lennard Episode: "Fothergill 2000"
2005 Help Various characters
The Catherine Tate Show Dad Episode: "Episode #2.5"
2007 Close Encounters of the Herd Kind Prancer (voice)
2007–2012 Harry & Paul Various characters Also co-creator and screenwriter
2009 Comic Relief 2009 Evan Davis
Theo Profiterole
Duncan Guillotine
TV film
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
Mike "Smashie" Smash
Harry and Paul's Story of the Twos Various characters
2015 Nurse Billy Also screenwriter
2018– present Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing Himself
2020 Smashie's Christmastastic Playlist Mike "Smashie" Smash
2021 Murder, They Hope Monty Episode: "Evil Under the Bun"
2022 The Lovebox in Your Living Room Various
2023 Paul Whitehouse: Our Troubled Rivers Himself Two-part documentary[34]
Dodger Royston, Chief of the Yeomen Warders Episode: "Coronation"[35]
TBC The Change TV series[36]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film/series Result[37]
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
Happiness Nominated
2006 Best Comedy Programme or Series
Shared with Jane Berthoud, Chris Langham & Declan Lowney
Help Won
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
2010 Nominated
2011 BAFTA TV Award Best Comedy Program
Shared with Harry Enfield, Sandy Johnson & Izzy Mant


  1. ^ "Paul Julian Whitehouse". Checksure.biz. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b Comic Paul tells of talent change, WalesonSunday.co.uk. 28 October 2007
  3. ^ "South East Wales Showbiz – Paul Whitehouse". BBC. 27 April 2009. Archived from the original on 16 August 2003. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - Gone Christmas Fishing 2021" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  5. ^ a b "My team. Paul Whitehouse on Tottenham Hotspur". London: Guardian media. 4 March 2001. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Comedy – Paul Whitehouse Profile". BBC. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  7. ^ "How We Met". The Independent. 22 December 1996. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  8. ^ Charlie Higson (October 2015). "Charlie Higson: my days squatting with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse". Theguardian.com.
  9. ^ a b On the move: Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson, The Times, 2 December 2007
  10. ^ "Foster's Gold – The Fast Show – Vic & Bob – Mid Morning Matters and Good Call by Brad & Dan". 5 November 2011. Archived from the original on 5 November 2011.
  11. ^ a b Steiner, Susie (22 September 2001). "Whitehouse conspiracy". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  12. ^ "England | Kent | Co-star 'did not know about porn'". BBC News. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  13. ^ "Comedy – Harry and Paul – Homepage". BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  14. ^ Sanghera, Mandeep (15 January 2010). "Ray to star in Bellamy's People". BBC News. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  15. ^ "BBC preparing special to mark 25 years of Harry & Paul". British Comedy Guide, 27 January 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2023
  16. ^ Hogan, Michael (10 March 2015). "Nurse, review: 'a beautiful bedside manner'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  17. ^ "BBC Two – An Evening with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse". BBC.
  18. ^ "Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing". BBC.
  19. ^ "When is Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Christmas Fishing 2022 on?". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  20. ^ "Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson: Making (radio) waves". independent.co.uk. 1 October 2007. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  21. ^ Nutkins, Katie (7 March 2015). "Comedian Paul Whitehouse: 'If you can't laugh, you're in trouble'". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  22. ^ "A message from Jim Sullivan". Shazamproductions.co.uk. 16 July 2018.
  23. ^ "Only Fools And Horses, The Musical: Paul Whitehouse & Les Dennis On Sharing The Role Of Grandad". Youtube. ITV This Morning. 19 July 2012.
  24. ^ [1] Archived 15 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Mitchison, Amanda (27 September 2002). "That was a joke I made". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  26. ^ Dalton, Stephen (22 January 2015). "'Mortdecai': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  27. ^ O'Sullivan, Charlotte (23 January 2015). "Mortdecai – review: 'Johnny Depp has picked another flop for this misguided vanity project'". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  28. ^ "FORUM | Comedian Paul Whitehouse quizzed". BBC News. 19 March 2001. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  29. ^ a b Glass, Jess (15 June 2023). "Whitehouse's ex-wife endured "inhumane" intrusion after cancer, hacking trial told". The Independent. Retrieved 28 April 2024.
  30. ^ Duerden, Nick (25 October 2023). "Paul Whitehouse and The Fast Show fan who became his wife". The Times. Retrieved 24 November 2023.
  31. ^ Kaidan, Melanie (20 September 2021). "Paul Whitehouse lives separately from partner, who claims he was 'scared' of their age gap". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  32. ^ "Academic Dr Mine Conkbayir launches book alongside husband Paul Whitehouse". Islington Gazette. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 15 December 2023.
  33. ^ Lavigueur, Louise (20 September 2021). "Comedian Paul Whitehouse lives in separate house to his 22 years younger partner". The Mirror. Retrieved 15 December 2023.
  34. ^ "Paul Whitehouse: Our Troubled Rivers". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  35. ^ "BAFTA-winning hit BBC family comedy, Dodger, returns for Christmas special". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. Retrieved 24 December 2023.
  36. ^ "Bridget Christie comedy reveals cast". Comedy.co.uk. 5 July 2022.
  37. ^ "Paul Whitehouse (I) – Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 18 June 2013.


  1. ^ In the Christmas 2021 Special edition of Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, Bob Mortimer presents Whitehouse with a recording of his mother, singing with the Welsh National Opera, specially transferred to vinyl.[4]

External links[edit]