Paul Kaye

Paul Kaye
Paul Kaye in 2018.jpg
Kaye in July 2018
Born (1964-12-15) 15 December 1964 (age 58)
London, England
  • Comedian
  • actor
Orly Katz
(m. 1989)

Paul Kaye (born 15 December 1964) is an English comedian and actor. He is known for his portrayals of shock interviewer Dennis Pennis on The Sunday Show, New York lawyer Mike Strutter on MTV's Strutter, Thoros of Myr in HBO's Game of Thrones, and Vincent the Fox on the BBC comedy Mongrels.

Early life

Kaye was born in the Clapham area of London on 15 December 1964.[citation needed] He and his twin sister were adopted by Jackie and Ivan Kaye and raised in Wembley, where their adoptive parents ran a sportswear shop.[citation needed] He is of Jewish background.[1][2] He was a promising schoolboy athlete who achieved an impressive time in the 100-metre race. He later became a fan of punk rock, particularly the Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious.[3] At the age of 16, he entered Harrow Art School on a two-year foundation course, and achieved a distinction[citation needed] before earning a first-class degree in Theatre Design from Nottingham Trent University (then called Trent Polytechnic).[citation needed]


Early career

On graduation, Kaye designed theatre posters for the King's Head, the Bush Theatre, and the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill. He was a scene painter at the Old Vic Theatre in Waterloo and illustrated regularly for the NME, i-D, Literary Review, Time Out and International Musician magazines between 1987 and 1989. He had two exhibitions of illustration and poster work between 1989 and 1990, firstly at the Soho House Theatre, and then at The Drill Hall.

Kaye formed and sang in many bands, notably the dark psychedelic outfit We Are Pleb, who played extensively in Camden during 1988–89 (at the same time as Blur and Suede) and had a penchant for setting the stage on fire. Kaye was signed to Go Discs in 1992 with a group called TV Eye (formed with ex-members of the band Eat), which released two singles, "Killer Fly" and "Eradicator".

In 1993, Kaye filmed a prototype Dennis Pennis, interviewing his own band on a late-night indie music show on Granada TV called Transmission. After the interview, Kaye then went out with the crew, got very drunk and offended as many people as possible up and down Oxford Street. This tape somehow arrived on the desk of producers at Planet 24 six months later, and they offered Kaye the job of knocking on people's doors at 6.00am on The Big Breakfast. Kaye turned them down, preferring to stay on the dole and stick with We Are Pleb; Mark Lamarr eventually took the job.

Kaye was the in-house graphic designer for Tottenham Hotspur. He had an office in White Hart Lane and designed merchandise for Spurs, Derby County, Southampton and Aston Villa for Danish sportswear brand Hummel International (doing caricatures of Paul Gascoigne for school lunchboxes etc.). As an Arsenal fan, Kaye has said there are subliminal cannons contained within his work for Spurs, most notably a pen and ink drawing of Tottenham's new stand on a catalogue cover which features a minute cannon in the crowd: 70,000 were printed. Kaye became in-house theatre designer of the Bet Zvi Drama Academy in Tel Aviv for 12 months in 1994, designing all the in-house productions in their studio theatre.

His TV debut was on The Word being secretly filmed in Oliver Reed's dressing room. Kaye recalls "Reed had drunk two bottles of vodka, taken all his clothes off and I honestly thought he was going to kill me on live television. I swore in bed that I'd never do a celebrity interview again. Typically, six months later I'd come up with Dennis Pennis."

In 1994, Kaye convinced his old friend Anthony Hines (a car mechanic and some time roadie for TV Eye) to help him write Dennis Pennis when he was offered the job on The Sunday Show. (Hines was later poached by Sacha Baron Cohen to write for Ali G on The Eleven O'Clock Show and went on to receive an Oscar nomination for co-writing Borat in 2006).

Dennis Pennis

Celebrity interviewer Dennis Pennis, created by Kaye and Hines, was one of Kaye's best-known characters. With dyed red hair, gaudy jackets adorned with punk-style badges, and thick glasses, Pennis stood out from the crowd and asked celebrities atypical questions, ranging from playful to cruel. After brief stints presenting two episodes of Transmission (ITV's early 1990s indie music magazine show) as Pennis, the character next appeared in 1995 on BBC2's The Sunday Show. The basic premise was that Kaye and a camera crew would visit film premieres, press functions, and other assorted celebrity gatherings to attempt to get an "interview" with stars, in between short skits and sketches featuring the character.

Originally, the celebrities would be mainly British stars harassed at assorted London-based events, such as actor Hugh Grant, TV host Ulrika Jonsson, and sports pundit Des Lynam. A late night half-hour one-off special aired on 15 September 1995 on BBC2 called Anyone For Pennis?,[4] which contained previously unseen footage that couldn't be shown on The Sunday Show due to the show's pre-watershed slot at lunchtime. When the Pennis character took off, Kaye was afforded a budget large enough to travel to Cannes, Hollywood, and Venice to record footage for a two-part special on 9 and 16 August 1996 on BBC2 called Very Important Pennis.[5][6] His victims from this point on were much more renowned, the most famous of whom were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Demi Moore, Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis, amid a raft of other Hollywood A-list stars. It was apparent that these victims were unsettled and unhappy with Pennis' unique line of questioning. Some stars, such as Costner, insulted him back, while others, such as Moore, simply declined to comment and left. Pennis was visibly amused at the look of disgust on some of the stars' faces. There was some controversy when Pennis asked of Steve Martin, "How come you're not funny any more?" Martin subsequently cancelled all scheduled press interviews. Kaye later said that he regretted this interview for a while, but nevertheless said, "Anyone who thinks they can improve on Bilko and Inspector Clouseau needs a slap, don't they?"[7]

A special one hour video-only feature was released in 1997 called Dennis Pennis RIP: Too Rude to Live, which saw the character killed off. As Kaye reportedly explained, "Dennis Pennis had become too expensive. Taking a film crew out every night with no guarantee of getting even a minute's worth of footage of me harassing celebs was just stupid. And then the programme would take months to compile, and it was just boring, man... hanging out in the rain, twiddling your thumbs, playing with your hip flask... he had to go... at the risk of sounding a bit wanky, Pennis was more of an art project in my mind, living out my fantasy of being a naughty boy. Once I'd packed it in, I had no intention of ever doing anything like it again." However, Pennis did appear in public one last time in June 1997 on the main stage at Glastonbury introducing the headliners that night The Prodigy, the band had been a big fan of Pennis' character and had requested him personally. Indeed Kaye as his Pennis character conducted the 60,000+ crowd in a sing-song during a power cut in the bands set that evening. Kaye became very friendly with the band and particularly leader Liam Howlett[citation needed]

Post-Pennis career

Kaye as Mike Strutter in 2008

In 1998, Kaye appeared in the video to the Fat Les song "Vindaloo" as a Richard Ashcroft look-alike. That same year, he also appeared as the character DI Lindsay De Paul in the TV comedy movie You Are Here.[8]

Kaye also appeared as the singer of a fictional punk band called Spunk in a 1999 mock-documentary of the same name, which appeared as the 'wrath' part of a Channel 4 series on the seven deadly sins.[9]

In 2000, Kaye starred in the comedy series Perfect World, a sitcom about a down-on-his-luck marketing manager. He also briefly presented a BBC2 quiz show, Liar, in which six contestants would all have a supposed claim to fame and the studio audience voted on which one they believed was telling the truth. In the same year, Kaye took a dramatic role alongside Michelle Collins in Two Thousand Acres of Sky.

In 2004, Kaye played the leading role in the film Blackball.[10] His role as deaf DJ Frankie Wilde in the 2005 mockumentary It's All Gone Pete Tong[11] won him the Film Discovery Jury Award at the 2005 US Comedy Arts Festival. He played in two episodes of the BBC drama series Waking the Dead, playing Dr. David Carney in "Shadowplay".[12] Television appearances in 2006 and 2007 include episodes of Hustle, EastEnders and Kingdom. Kaye is now[when?] the chief interviewer on, in which he interviews up-and-coming punk/indie bands.

Kaye appeared in Hotel Babylon (11 March 2008, BBC One), Pulling (Series 2, March 2008, BBC Three), and as Uncle Gorwel in A Child's Christmases in Wales by Mark Watson (17 December 2009, BBC Four and 24 December 2009, BBC One Wales).[13]

From November 2010 to January 2011, Kaye played Matilda's father Mr. Wormwood in the Royal Shakespeare Company's musical Matilda, based on the classic Roald Dahl novel of the same name.[14] Kaye reprised the role when the musical transferred to the Cambridge Theatre in London's West End in October 2011.[15] In April 2012, Kaye was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical.

From August 2012, he appeared as a character called Maurice in UK TV adverts for betting website BetVictor.[9]

In 2013, Kaye appeared as Thoros of Myr in the third season of the HBO series Game of Thrones, and as Danno in the BBC Radio 4 series Love in Recovery. In 2016, he reprised his role as Thoros of Myr in the sixth season of Game of Thrones,[16] and returned for the seventh season.[17]

In 2014, Kaye played Brother Lucian in the movie Dracula Untold. In 2015 he played a criminal in the BBC drama The Interceptor.[18]

In 2015, he featured as the drunken, haunted Naval Officer Harry Brewer in the National Theatre's revival of Our Country's Good. He also appeared in Doctor Who as an alien funeral director.[19] That same year, He played Vinculus in Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Kaye's other television credits include The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge, an episode of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's anthology series Inside No. 9, Netflix's first original TV series Lilyhammer, the BAFTA winning Murder in Successville, BBC miniseries Three Girls, Sky comedy Zapped, Drunk History, The Windsors, Urban Myths, Terry Pratchett: Back in Black, and the adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens.

In 2017, Kaye appeared onstage as Chilean bomb maker Jose Miguel in B, a new play by Guillermo Calderón at the Royal Court Theatre. He appears as Dr. Malcolm Donahue, the pathologist in ITV's Vera until 2023. Kaye has appeared as Danno, who is a recovering alcoholic attending Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings in Pete Jackson's BBC Radio 4 comedy drama series Love in Recovery.

In 2019, Kaye debuted as hospital chaplain Daniel Booth in the ITV dramedy Cold Feet, and played a psychiatrist in the Netflix comedy series After Life.[20]

In 2020, he appeared in the Netflix drama The Stranger, as Patrick Katz, and portrayed "The Cowboy" in the HBO miniseries The Third Day. In 2021, he played Guy Forks in a Bonfire Night special of Mackenzie Crook's re-working of Worzel Gummidge for the BBC.

Personal life

In 1983, Kaye took a year out of university and lived on Israel's Gvar'am kibbutz, where he met an Israeli woman, Orly Katz. They were married in 1989. They have two sons and live in the Hendon area of London.[1]

In January 2009, Kaye wrote an article for The Guardian in which he called for peace between Israel and Palestine after his mother-in-law was killed by a Hamas rocket strike on the Gvar'am kibbutz.[1] He stated, "My eldest son has Israeli citizenship and in two years he will have to choose either to relinquish that citizenship or to fight in the Israeli army. It can be only his choice. But, unlike the Palestinians in Gaza, at least he has one."[1]

In March 2019, Kaye gave a reading at the funeral of The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
2003 Blackball Cliff
2004 It's All Gone Pete Tong Frankie Wilde
2004 Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London Neville Trubshaw
2005 Short Order Cable Show Guy
2005 Match Point Estate Agent
2007 WΔZ Gelb
2008 Cass Arsenal Thug
2009 Malice in Wonderland Caterpillar
2009 A Child's Christmases in Wales Uncle Gorwel Television film
2010 The Big I Am Keys
2011 Anuvahood Tony
2012 Pusher Fitz
2013 The Whale Matthew Joy
2014 Dracula Untold Brother Lucian
2015 Pan Mutti Voosht
2016 Tomorrow Milo
2016 The Comedian's Guide to Survival Philip
2018 Anna and the Apocalypse Arthur Savage
2021 The Toll Cliff
2022 The House Cosmos Netflix Anthology
Catherine Called Birdy Sir John Henry Murgaw VIII (“Shaggy Beard”)


Year Tile Character Notes
1999 Spaced Hoover 1 episode
2000-2001 Citizen Kaye Various Roles Sketch Show
2000–2001 Perfect World Bob Slay
2001–2003 Two Thousand Acres of Sky Kenny Marsh
2004 Waking the Dead Dr. David Carney Episode: "Shadowplay"
2006 Hustle Tim Millen Series 3, Episode 5
2006–2007 Strutter Mike Strutter
2007 EastEnders Douglas 1 episode
2007–2008 Chop Socky Chooks Dr. Wasabi voice
2007–2009 Kingdom Alan McEwan 3 episodes
2008 Comedy Live Presents Mike Strutter Channel 4 One-off
2008 Massive Manny Westside Episode: "Recording the Single"
2008 Hotel Babylon Maxwell 1 episode
2008–2009 Pulling Billy 4 episodes
2009 39 i Pół Kelly Moran
2009 Midsomer Murders Laurence Mann Episode: "The Great and the Good"
2010 Skins Duncan Episode: "Cook"
2010 Inspector George Gently Max Osgood Episode: "Gently Evil"
2010–2011 Mongrels Vince Voice
2011 Candy Cabs Dennis Whitehead 3 episodes
2011 Shameless Kermit 1 episode
2011 Being Human Vincent Episode: "Lia"
2013 Stella Peschman Hodd
2013–2017 Game of Thrones Thoros of Myr 10 episodes
2013 Not Going Out Steve Episode: "Magic"
2013–2014 Lilyhammer Duncan Hammer 4 episodes
2013 Ripper Street Gabriel Cain 1 episode
2014 Friday Night Dinner Rabbi
2014 Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Vinculus
2015 The Interceptor Jago 2 episodes
2015 Humans Silas Capek 2 episodes
2015 SunTrap Freddie Mercury 1 episode
2015 Inside No. 9 Richard Two-Shoes 1 episode: "The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge"
2015 Doctor Who Prentis 2 episodes: "Under the Lake", "Before the Flood"
2016 Murder In Successville Louis Walsh Episode: "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes"
2016–2018[21] Zapped Howel Episodes: "Mr Weaver", "Mr Charisma" & "Mr Wuffles" (Season 1)
2017 Three Girls Jim Winshaw
2017 Terry Pratchett: Back in Black Sir Terry Pratchett
2018 Wanderlust Lawrence
2018 Dark Heart Jim Duggan 2 episodes (5&6)
2019 Cold Feet Reverend Daniel Booth Series 8, episodes 4 and 5
2019– Vera Dr. Malcolm Donahue Series 9-present [22]
2019 Good Omens Electricity Board Spokesperson 1 episode: "Saturday Morning Funtime"[23]
2019–2020 After Life Psychiatrist Series 1-2, 12 episodes[24]
2019 Year of the Rabbit Detective Inspector Tanner Main cast, 6 episodes[25]
2020 The Stranger Patrick Katz 8 episodes
2020 The Third Day The Cowboy 3 episodes + 1 special
2020 The Watch Inigo Skinner 5 episodes
2021 Worzel Gummidge Guy Forks 1 episode
2021 Beforeigners John Roberts 4 episodes
2022 Mood Kevin Main cast


Year Title Role Notes
Fight the English Way

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
1996 You Don't Know Jack Jack Cake Voice, UK edition only
2004 The Getaway: Black Monday Levi Statov Voice
2022 The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me Charles Lonnit Voice


Kaye has been nominated for a number of film awards:

  • Best Actor – US Comedy Arts Festival (Won) (It's All Gone Pete Tong)
  • Best Actor – Method Fest (Nominated) (It's All Gone Pete Tong)
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – Genie Awards (Nominated) (It's All Gone Pete Tong)

He has been nominated for two major theatre awards:

  • Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – WhatsOnStage Awards (Nominated) (Matilda the Musical)
  • Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical – Olivier Awards (Nominated) (Matilda the Musical)


  1. ^ a b c d Kaye, Paul (16 January 2009). "A dark fog has enveloped us". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Jewz in the Newz".
  3. ^ Help I'm a Pirahna, The Knowledge, The Times 6–12 Sep 2008
  4. ^ "Anyone for Pennis?". BBC Online. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  5. ^ "Very Important Pennis - BBC Two England - 9 August 1996". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  6. ^ "Very Important Pennis - BBC Two England - 16 August 1996". BBC Genome Project. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  7. ^ "I'm proud and ashamed in equal measure..." Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  8. ^ "You Are Here (1998) (TV)". Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b Reynolds, John (14 August 2012). "BetVictor brings in comedian Kaye for latest ad campaign". Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Blackball – Paul Kaye and Alice Evans Interview – Video Dailymotion". Dailymotion. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Paradise Lost: It's All Gone Pete Tong". 17 June 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Shadowplay" on the IMDb.
  13. ^ "Wales – Christmas – Content – A Child's Christmases in Wales". BBC. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  14. ^ Allott, Serena (26 November 2010). "Waltzing Matilda: Dahl's classic dances on to the stage". The Daily Telegraph. Culture. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  15. ^ "Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical". RSC. Archived from the original on 26 December 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  16. ^ "'Game Of Thrones' Season 6 Spoilers: Paul Kaye Returns As Thoros Of Myr". 21 April 2016. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Paul Kaye Spotlight CV". Spotlight. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  18. ^ Wallis, Sara (10 June 2015). "The Interceptor, on BBC1 tonight, is a gripping pacey thriller". Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Our Country's Good". National Theatre.
  20. ^ Sanusi, Victoria (8 March 2019). "After Life cast: who stars with Ricky Gervais in new Netflix series – and where else you've seen them". iNews. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  21. ^ Guide, British Comedy (17 April 2019). "Zapped cancelled after three series". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Meet the cast of ITV drama Vera".
  23. ^ "Good Omens (TV Series 2019) - IMDb". IMDb.
  24. ^ Guide, British Comedy. "After Life cast and crew credits". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  25. ^ Guide, British Comedy. "Year Of The Rabbit cast and crew credits". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 7 September 2019.

External links

  • Paul Kaye at IMDb
  • 4 Nov 2006 Guardian Interview of Paul Kaye & Mike Strutter
  • BBC Interview with Paul Kaye about Two Thousand Acres of Sky
  • Official site for It's all gone Pete Tong
  • Paul Kaye Exclusive Interview
  • The Velvet Onion: Interview
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