Paul Shelley

Last updated 09 January 2020

Paul Shelley
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Paul Matthews

Born: Friday 15th May 1942 (age: 81)


Paul Shelley is an English actor from Leeds in Yorkshire. He appeared in the 1982 story Four to Doomsday.

Shelley trained at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and has mainly worked in the theatre as a classical actor. He has worked extensively with the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company and has appeared in several West End productions.

His work for television includes Secret Army (1978–79) as Major Nicholas Bradley, Special Branch (1974), Blake's 7 (1979), A Tale of Two Cities (1980), Inspector Morse (1990), Paradise Postponed (1986) based on book by John Mortimer (audiobook-recorded by Paul Shelley as well) and its sequel Titmuss Regained (1991, also audiobook), The Fourth Arm (1983), Revelations (1994–95), Heartbeat (2002) and Crossroads (2003). In the popular ITV detective drama Midsomer Murders episode "The Creeper" (2009) Shelley performed as Inspector Barnaby's boss, Chief Constable Richard Lovell and appeared as Jed Gray in several episodes in BBC TV series Doctors (2010).

Films include: Oh, What a Lovely War! (1969), It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet (1975), Polanski's Macbeth (1971) and God's Outlaw (1986).

Shelley played Duncan in Rupert Goold’s production of Macbeth (“the Macbeth of a lifetime” according to critics) which after its sell out runs at Chichester Festival Theatre in summer 2007 was transferred to the West End in the autumn and then to New York from February to May 2008. During the Chichester season 2007 he also played Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night.

Other notable roles are: at Shakespeare’s Globe: Julius Caesar (title role), Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, three Tom Stoppard plays in the West End The Invention of Love (Oscar Wilde), Arcadia (Bernard), The Real Thing (Henry), at Royal National Theatre: The Secret Rapture (Tom French), Hedda Gabler (Tesman), The Crucible (Hale), Lady in the Dark (Kendal), at Royal Shakespeare Company: Romeo and Juliet (Tybalt), King Lear (Edmund), The Winter’s Tale (Leontes), Troilus and Cressida (Achilles), Les liaisons dangereuses (Valmont). Shelley has also often worked at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, as an actor and director, on such plays as Uncle Vanya and King Lear. For nine months he played Arthur Kipps in the thriller The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre (2006/07).

Shelley played Elyot Chase in Noël Coward’s Private Lives at the York Theatre Royal and returned to York to direct Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons, in June 2008. He played the Duke of Norfolk in A Man For All Seasons, on tour and at Haymarket in 2005/2006. In a Donmar Warehouse production of T. S. Eliot's The Family Reunion he played Colonel Gerald Piper in a run from November 2008 to January 2009. At York Theatre Royal from 30 May - 20 June 2009 Paul played Max in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming. A Voyage Around My Father, by John Mortimer, with Paul Shelley playing the Father, was a Salisbury Playhouse production in autumn 2010. Rose Theatre, Kingston in March 2011 showed Shakespeare's As you like it with Paul Shelley in the dual roles of Duke Frederick and Duke Senior. After that he played Ralph in Harold Pinter's 'Moonlight' at Donmar Warehouse. "Earthquakes in London" by Mike Bartlett and directed by Rupert Goold is on UK tour until 12 November 2011 with Paul Shelley performing as the father, Robert.

He is also an audiobook narrator and has recorded some thirty audiobooks, among them John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim, several of Robert Goddard’s novels, Nicholas Crane’s Two Degrees West and Staying On by Paul Scott. He has been called “the best reader there is” and has three times won the Audiofile Earphones Award.

Paul Shelley has toured and taught at universities in the USA. He is married to actress Paula Stockbridge and has two sons from his previous marriage. His elder brother Francis Matthews is also an actor.