Bolton-born Paul got his first taste of acting in a school production of Aladdin, and before the year was out had won a three-line part on TV show Children's Ward. Seven GCSEs later, including an A in drama, he left school to hone his craft, shooting to fame as stage school student Tim in children's show The Biz. He graduated to mainstream TV in 1996 and gained a teen fan base for his role as troubled Joe Wickes in EastEnders. Departing Albert Square in 1997, he went on to star in crime drama City Central and landed a handful of other TV roles before progressing to the big screen, where his most noteworthy appearance was in blockbuster chick flick Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason. He's also starred on stage in the West End, including a four-month stint in Long Day's Journey Into Night, returning to TV in 2008 in an episode of Fairy Tales.