Paul Usher - things you didn't know about the EastEnders actor

Paul Usher is best known for his role as Barry Grant in Brookside, but now he is causing trouble for Phil Mitchell in EastEnders...

Paul Usher is probably best known for his role as Brookside baddie Barry Grant.

But after two decades of causing havoc in the Channel 4 soap, he found himself on the other side of the law when he landed the role of PC Des Taviner in The Bill, which he played for 3 years.

Soap fans were in for a treat in 2019 when he joined EastEnders as dodgy businessman Danny Hardcastle, who had unfinished business with Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden).

Most fans of the actor might know that:

  • Paul made his TV debut in Z Cars
  • He joined Brookside in 1982
  • He was educated at Wirral Grammar School for Boys

Paul Usher: little known facts about the actor...

1. He met his wife at work 

Paul met his wife, Charlotte, while they both worked on The Bill and the pair got married in sunny Rhodes in 2010. The couple have a son together called Lucas. Paul also had another son, James, from a previous relationship who sadly died from an undiagnosed heart condition while working on an oil ship near Scotland when he was just 25.

2. He's still good friends with his Brookside buddies

After the sudden and tragic death of Paul's son, his Brookside friends all got together to hold a charity night in aid of James. Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnson and Michael Starke all helped Paul raise money for the British Heart Foundation, making the evening a celebration of James's life.

Brookside's Barry Grant (Paul Usher) was fiercely loyal to his friends and loved ones. Anyone else, watch out!

Paul Usher as Brookside's Barry Grant (Picture: EMPICS Entertainment/PA Photos) (Image credit: EMPICS Entertainment/PA Photos)

3. He used to be in a band

Back in the day Paul was in a band called The Union Jacks. He was the bass player and while the band started life working in local clubs, they soon got picked up by an American company who paid them to go and play in schools over in the US.

4. He used to live in Greece

After finishing The Bill Paul decided to get a change of scenery, and where better than in sunny Greece? With his brother having already lived there for the best part of 20 years, Paul decided to rent his house out and moved abroad.

5. He's never wanted to be famous 

Paul Usher Brookside

Paul (far right) joined the cast of Brookside in 1982 (Picture: Getty) (Image credit: Getty)

While Paul might have been in some of the biggest TV shows like Brookside, The Bill and now EastEnders, the actor admitted to the Liverpool Echo that he's always shied away from the limelight: "I enjoyed acting but not the fame side of it. I don't want to play that game. I never really do any interviews. I'm proud of my acting work, but I get really annoyed about celebrity culture".

6. He's a brilliant singer

While Paul might have been the bass player in his band, he is secretly harbouring another talent - he's a great singer! Not only does he have a great voice and loves performing, but he also writes and performs his own songs.

7. He became an actor by accident 

Despite now being a familiar face on British TV, Paul says his acting career wasn't part of his original life plan. He told The Liverpool Echo: "When I came back to Britain after touring with the band for over a year, playing three shows a day, I didn't want to pick up the guitar again. Then a letter popped through the door asking me to come and audition for this new programme. Three auditions later and I've got the job and I'm on the telly in Brookside."

Paul Usher's Fact File 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actor...

How old is he?

Paul Usher's age is 59, he was born on 30 April 1961.

Where was he born?

Paul Usher was born in Liverpool.

Is he married?

Paul Usher married his wife, Charlotte, in Rhodes in 2010.

EastEnders airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One - see our TV Guide for full listings.

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Main pic: BBC

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.