Paul Barber (actor)

Patrick Barber, known by the stage name Paul Barber (born 18 March 1951),[1] is an English actor from Liverpool. In a career spanning more than 45 years, he is best known for playing Denzil in Only Fools and Horses and Horse in The Full Monty.

Paul Barber
Patrick Barber

(1951-03-18) 18 March 1951 (age 69)
Toxteth, Liverpool, England
Years active1974–present
Notable work
Only Fools and Horses

Early lifeEdit

Barber was taken into care at the age of seven, following the death of his mother from tuberculosis. His mother was from Middlesbrough. His father, originally from Sierra Leone, died when Paul (or Paddy as he was then known) and his brothers Brian, Paul, Mike and sisters Claudette and Lorraine were very young.[2] Whilst he was in care, he was abused both physically and mentally. He notes that he has suffered like others, but channeled his emotions into acting.[3]

Acting careerEdit

Barber began on the stage in the musical Hair.[4] His first major TV role was as Sam "Lucky" Ubootu in the 1974 ITV Playhouse production Lucky, set in Liverpool and made by Granada TV.[5] He then played the flamboyant but vicious gang boss Malleson in the off-beat BBC Birmingham-based series Gangsters from 1975 to 1978. He played Louis St John in 4 episodes of I Didn't Know You Cared from 1976 to 1978. A later starring role was alongside Philip Whitchurch in the mid-1980s ITV comedy series The Brothers McGregor.

Barber has worked extensively in British TV, such as in To the Manor Born (1979) as a Jamaican steel band musician; Minder (1980) as Willie Reynolds in episode Don't Tell Them Willie Boy Was Here; Only Fools and Horses (1981–2003);[6] Boys from the Blackstuff (1982); Malcolm in The Front Line; the ill-fated social worker Ian McVerry in one episode of Cracker opposite Robbie Coltrane and Liam Cunningham; and played Greg Salter in Brookside (1994). He made a guest appearance in the first episode of The Green Green Grassa spin-off from Only Fools and Horses.[7] Barber was best known for his time on Only Fools and Horses and still attends conventions for the show.

In 2008, he had a small part in the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street playing a club owner called Nelson, an acquaintance of Vernon Tomlin. He appeared in Casualty a number of times. These include an appearance aired on 4 October 1991 as a workaholic suffering an eye injury caused by molten plastic, on 10 January 1998 as an anti-drugs campaigner fatally shot in his own home by a drug dealer, on 13 August 2011 as a veteran police officer and on 17 November 2018 as a homeless man. He also starred in White Van Man as Hooky Pete in February 2012.[8]

In July 2012, Barber played the role of Captain in Sky 1's Sinbad, before the show was axed after its first series.[9]

He appeared as Captain Jack Parrot in Death in Paradise on 18 February 2014.[10]

He also appeared as Fieldhouse in Home from Home in the 2016 pilot and he appeared again in the 2018 series.[11]

In 2017, Barber guest starred in two episodes of the CBBC Tracy Beaker spin-off series The Dumping Ground as a homeless man called George.

In 2018, Barber appeared in two episodes of Casualty as Ernest Maxwell. He reprised the role in 2019.

Film workEdit

He had small roles in the big-screen version of Porridge (1979) and The Long Good Friday (1980).[12] In 1991, he played Earl Preston, a football coach, in the BBC Screen One television play, Alive and Kicking.[5]

Barber's best known role was playing one of the stripping steelworkers in the 1997 film The Full Monty.[13] He reunited with Full Monty co-star Robert Carlyle and Samuel L. Jackson in the Liverpool-based crime film The 51st State (2001).[14]

He played the role of Luther in the 2002 drama The Hidden City.

In the 2006 feature film Dead Man's Cards, Barber again returned to Merseyside playing the part of Paul, head doorman, at a Liverpool club. In Terry Pratchett's Going Postal (2010) he played a pin-fanatic shop owner.[5]

In the 2014 film One Night in Istanbul, Barber plays a cabbie who is down on his luck and with his friend, Tommy, strikes a deal with a local gangster that allows them to take their young sons to watch Liverpool Football Club play in Turkey.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Barber was awarded an honorary doctorate from Liverpool John Moores University in July 2011 for 'outstanding contribution to the performing arts'. He lives in Clacton, Essex.[16]


  1. ^ Barber, Paul. Foster Kid: A Liverpudlian childhood. (Autobiography)
  2. ^ "Paul Barber - Merseysider MagazineMerseysider Magazine". Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  3. ^ Alexander, Ella (24 September 2014). "Actor Paul Barber reveals childhood abuse in foster home". The Independent. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  4. ^ "The making of me". 6 July 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Paul Barber". Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  6. ^ Russell, Steven (18 February 2008). "'The nightmare began when my mum died'". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  7. ^ "The Green Green Grass - S1 - Episode 1: Keep on Running". Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Only Fools and Horses: Where are they now?". The Telegraph. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Sinbad (TV Series 2012–2013)". Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Episode 6, Series 3, Death in Paradise - BBC One". Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Only Fools and Horses actor's starring role in Lake District sitcom". News and Star. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  12. ^ "BBC - Only Fools and Horses - Fatal Extraction (1993)". Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  13. ^ Fordy, Tom (29 August 2017). "The Full Monty stripped men bare – and reinvented masculinity in the process". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  14. ^ Morrison, Alan (1 January 2000). "The 51st State". Empire. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  15. ^ Palmer, Alun (23 September 2014). "Liverpool actor Paul Barber reveals he was victim of child abuse". The Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Toxteth-born Only Fools and Horses star Paul 'Denzil' Barber to get honorary Liverpool John Moores fellowship". Liverpool Echo. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2014.

External linksEdit