Paul was born in Stockton-on-Tees and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has played many leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company including: Feste in Twelfth Night; Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors; Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream; Mowbray in Richard II; Kent in King Lear; Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz with Imelda Staunton; Goodlack in The Fair Maid of the West with Sean Bean; Polixenes in The Winter's Tale with Jeremy Irons; and Alonzo in Sam Mendes' production of The Tempest.
Paul's work in London includes West End runs as Jerry in the RSC's Once in a Lifetime opposite Zoë Wanamaker and Theo in Piaf opposite Jane Lapotaire (Piccadilly Theatre). For the RSC at the Barbican Theatre, credits include: Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol; Tassell in The Happiest Days of Your Life; Lelio in The Venetian Twins; Tom in The Time of Your Life; and Egeon in The Comedy of Errors. Other London appearances include: Maples in John Osborne's production of Inadmissible Evidence (Royal Court); Arthur in Arthur's World (Bush Theatre); and Webster in The Beautiful People (Finborough).
Paul starred as Grandpa Potts in a year-long national tour of the West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For Manchester's Royal Exchange, he appeared as Cleante in Tartuffe and Geoffrey in Six Degrees of Separation. Other regional theatre productions include: Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (UK Tour); Captain Terri Dennis in Privates on Parade (Birmingham Rep); Malvolio in Twelfth Night (Ludlow Festival); Hastings in Richard III (Nottingham Playhouse); the title role in Peer Gynt (Cheltenham Everyman); Dorn in The Seagull (Compass Theatre, UK Tour); Maurice in Peter Skellern's two-hander musical You Can Always Hand Them Back (Mercury Theatre, Colchester); and, for Stoke's New Vic Theatre, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Lord Loam in The Admirable Crichton, and Sir Lucius O'Trigger in The Rivals. International work includes: Buckingham in Gregory Doran's production of Henry VIII (New York and Washington DC); Caliban in The Tempest (Actor Company, US Tour); Theseus in The Fairy Queen (Aix-en-Provence Festival); and The Shakespeare Revue (Bucharest, Cairo, Antibes, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival).
Film work includes: Mike Leigh's Peterloo (Film 4 / Amazon Prime); Alan Bennett's A Day Out directed by Stephen Frears (BBC Films); and the Hammer Horror Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter. On television Paul played the title role in the comedy series Rosie, for which he wrote and sang the title song. Other TV appearances include: Superintendent Yelland in Spender opposite Jimmy Nail; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole; Our Friends in the North; Casualty; Holby City; Lewis; Heartbeat; Coronation Street; The Bill; Pie in the Sky; Father Brown; Midsomer Murders; Crossroads; Z Cars; and Doctors.
For BBC Radio 4 Paul played Kevin Townsend in The Archers and Colonel Shawcross in Ambridge Extra. His other work for BBC Radio Drama includes leading roles in Wives and Daughters, The Man in the Paper Mask, John Dodd Gets Taken for A Ride and Sleeping Dog. Paul is the narrator of a popular series of children's audiobooks, The Animals' Caravan (Lion Books / Amazon / Audible).
As a writer, Paul’s plays include Dancing in the Dark which was performed at Stratford’s Other Place as part of the 2000 RSC Fringe Festival. It also had a run at the Off-West End Gate Theatre in London. Paul’s new thriller Playing Dead is in development with a view to production in 2024. His play Head and Heart was highly commended in the 2020 King Lear Prize and opens for a run, directed by Paul, in Stratford-upon-Avon in January 2024.