For other people named Paul Kaye, see Paul Kaye (disambiguation).

Paul Kaye is an English comedian and actor. He achieved notoriety in 1995 portraying the character of Dennis Pennis, a shock interviewer on The Sunday Show. Recently he has been known as rude New Jersey lawyer Mike Strutter with his own show Strutter on MTV. Kaye also plays the voice of Vincent the fox on the BBC comedy Mongrels and Thoros of Myr in HBO's Game of Thrones. He also fronts the UK TV adverts for betting website BetVictor.[1]

Early life

Kaye was born in Clapton. He was brought up in Wembley where their father and mother ran a nearby schoolwear shop. Kaye was a promising schoolboy athlete who achieved an impressive time in the 100 metres. He later became a fan of punk rock, particularly Sid Vicious.[2] At 16 he entered Harrow School of Art on a two-year foundation course, and achieved a distinction. Kaye received a first-class degree in Theatre Design at Trent Polytechnic.


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 1987–89. He had two exhibitions of illustration and poster work between 1989–90, firstly at the Soho House Theatre, W1 and then at the Drill Hall, WC1.

Kaye formed and sang in many bands, notably the dark psychedelic outfit We Are Pleb, who played extensively on the Camden scene of 1988–89 (which spawned 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 6am 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 the company Hummel (doing caricatures of Paul Gascoigne for school lunchboxes etc.). As an Arsenal fan, Kaye has claimed 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 feature 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 indie music magazine programme circa 1990) 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 1995 video release of these early clips, Anyone For Pennis, assured success for the controversial comedian, who sought to broaden Pennis's scope.

When the Pennis character took off, Kaye was afforded a budget large enough to travel to Cannes, Hollywood and Venice to record footage for his video VIP – Very Important Pennis, released in 1996.

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's 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 that "anyone who thinks they can improve on Bilko and Inspector Clouseau needs a slap don't they?".[3]

The final video release, Dennis Pennis RIP: Too Rude to Live, released in 1997, saw the character killed off. As Kaye 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."

Post-Pennis career

In 1998 Kaye appeared in the video to the Fat Les song Vindaloo as a Richard Ashcroft look-alike.

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.

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. His role as deaf DJ Frankie Wilde in the 2005 mockumentary It's All Gone Pete Tong won him the Film Discovery Jury Award at the 2005 US Comedy Arts Festival. He also played in two episodes of the BBC drama series Waking the Dead, playing Dr. David Carney in "Shadowplay".[4] Television appearances in 2006 and 2007 include episodes of Hustle, EastEnders and Kingdom. Kaye is now 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 Dylan Thomas (17 December 2009, BBC Four and 24 December 2009, BBC One Wales).[5]

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 Matilda.[6] Kaye reprised the role when the musical transferred to the Cambridge Theatre in London's West End in October 2011.[7] In April 2012, Kaye was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical.

Since August 2012, he has been starring as a character called Maurice in UK TV adverts for betting website BetVictor.[1]

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, Kaye reprised his role as Thoros of Myr in the sixth season of Game of Thrones

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

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. [8]

Personal life

Kaye took a year out of college in 1984 and worked on a kibbutz in Israel, where he met his future wife Orly; they married in 1989, and have two children.[citation needed]

Kaye wrote an article for The Guardian calling for peace in Israel after his mother-in-law was killed by a rocket attack there in 2008.[9]



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
2012 Pusher Fitz
2013 The Whale Matthew Joy
2014 Dracula Untold Brother Lucian
2015 Pan Mutti Voosht
2016 Tomorrow Milo Filming
2016 The Comedian's Guide to Survival Philip Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Spaced Hoover 1 episode
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
2007–2009 Kingdom Alan McEwan 3 episodes
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, 2016 Game of Thrones Thoros of Myr 7 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 1 episode
2014 Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Vinculus
2015 The Interceptor Jago 2 episodes
2015 Humans Silas Capek 1 episode (to date)
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"


Year Title Role Notes
Fight the English Way

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Getaway: Black Monday Levi Statov Voice


Kaye has been nominated for, and won, a number of film awards:

  • Best Actor – US Comedy Arts Festival (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)

"Best supporting Actor in a Musical-Whats on Stage Awards 2012 (Matilda the Musical) "Best Supporting Actor in a Musical"-Olivier Awards 2012 (Matilda the Musical


  1. ^ a b Reynolds, John (14 August 2012). "BetVictor brings in comedian Kaye for latest ad campaign". Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Help I'm a Pirahna The Knowledge, The Times 6–12 Sep 2008
  3. ^ "I'm proud and ashamed in equal measure...". Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Shadowplay" on the IMDb.
  5. ^ "Wales – Christmas – Content – A Child's Christmases in Wales". BBC. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Allott, Serena (26 November 2010). "Waltzing Matilda: Dahl's classic dances on to the stage". Culture. Telegraph. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical". RSC. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Our Country's Good". National Theatre. 
  9. ^ Kaye, Paul (16 January 2009). "A dark fog has enveloped us". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.