Tom Payne (actor)

Thomas Payne (born 21 December 1982) is an English actor. He is known for appearing on AMC's The Walking Dead as Paul "Jesus" Rovia, and BBC's Waterloo Road as Brett Aspinall. He portrayed Malcolm Bright on the American television series Prodigal Son from 2019 to 2021.

Tom Payne
Tom Payne 2016.jpg
Tom Payne at Walker Stalker Con in 2016
Born (1982-12-21) 21 December 1982 (age 38)
Chelmsford, Essex, England
EducationRoyal Central School of Speech & Drama
Years active2005–present
(m. 2020)
  • Jeremy Payne (father)
RelativesWill Payne (brother)

Early lifeEdit

Payne was born in Chelmsford, Essex, and grew up in Bath, Somerset, where he attended King Edward's School and was a prolific contributor to the school's drama department. He attended the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, graduating in June 2005. He then appeared in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.


In January 2007, he first appeared in Waterloo Road for the BBC, playing sixth former Brett Aspinall. Despite being 24 at the time, Payne portrayed a 17-year-old character. He remained in the series until the end of the following season in March 2008. It was revealed afterwards that he would not be returning for the new season, beginning in January 2009.

In 2009, Payne played George Best in Best: His Mother's Son, a BBC2 film about the legendary footballer.[1] In the same year he appeared in Marple: They Do It With Mirrors and Wuthering Heights for ITV.

Payne was named one of Screen International's Stars of Tomorrow in 2007.[2]

On 8 March 2010, it was announced that Tom had joined the cast of Luck a new pilot for HBO directed by Michael Mann, written by David Milch, starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte.[3] He plays the role of a Cajun jockey.

In 2012, he was cast in the title role of The Physician (based on the book of the same name) alongside Stellan Skarsgard and Ben Kingsley.

Payne was cast with a recurring role in Season 6 of The Walking Dead, as Paul "Jesus" Rovia,[4][5] and promoted to series regular for season 7.[6] Tom remained for two further seasons until his character was killed off in season nine.

In 2019, Payne was cast in the lead role as a serial killer's son in the Fox police procedural series Prodigal Son.[7][8][9]

Personal lifeEdit

Payne began dating singer Jennifer Åkerman in late 2013. He announced on an episode of Talking Dead that they had become engaged. Åkerman later revealed on her Instagram that they married in December 2020 after postponing their wedding due to COVID-19.

His younger brother Will Payne is also an actor.



Year Title Role Notes
2008 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Phil Goldman
2009 Into the Rose-Garden Sam Short film
2011 The Task Stanton
Generation Perdue Toby Perdue Short film
2012 The Inheritance Matthew
My Funny Valentine Zander
Still Young Edward Short film
2013 The Physician Rob Cole
2015 Winter Tom
MindGamers Jaxon
2017 It's No Game East Short film
2019 IO Elon Voice role


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Casualty Toby Tyler Episode: "Love and Duty"
2007 Skins Spencer Episode: "Effy"
Miss Marie Lloyd Bernard Television film
2007–2008 Waterloo Road Brett Aspinall Recurring role, 32 episodes
2008 He Kills Coppers Jonny Taylor Television film
2009 Wuthering Heights Linton 2 episodes
Miss Marple Edgar Lawson Episode: "They Do It with Mirrors"
Best: His Mother's Son George Best Television film
Beautiful People Mr. Carr Episode: "How I Got My Plumes"
2010 The People vs. George Lucas Himself Documentary
2011–2012 Luck Leon Micheaux 9 episodes
2014 New Worlds Monmouth 4 episodes
2016–2019 The Walking Dead Paul "Jesus" Rovia Recurring (season 6)
Also starring (seasons 7–8)
Main cast (season 9)
25 episodes
2016–2018 Talking Dead Himself 7 episodes
2017 The Nightly Show Episode: "With David Walliams - Night Four"
2018 Fear the Walking Dead Paul "Jesus" Rovia Guest Star, episode: "What's Your Story?" (season 4)
2019–2021 Prodigal Son Malcolm Bright (formerly Whitly) Main role


  1. ^ Reynolds, Simon (27 November 2008). "Payne to star as George Best in BBC drama". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 3 June 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
  2. ^ Dobson, Patricia (12 July 2007). "UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2007: The Actors (3)". Archived from the original on 14 September 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (13 October 2010). "Four trying their 'Luck' in HBO pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 30 October 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  4. ^ "Jesus Speaks! The Walking Dead's Tom Payne Talks His Big Arrival and Surprising Connection to Andrew Lincoln". E! News. 22 February 2016. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Jesus speaks! New 'Walking Dead' cast addition Tom Payne gives first interview". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (7 July 2016). "'Walking Dead' Promotes 4 to Series Regular for Season 7 (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 8 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  7. ^ Otterson, Joe (12 March 2019). "Tom Payne Takes Over Lead Role in Fox Pilot 'Prodigal Son' From Finn Jones". Variety. Archived from the original on 19 March 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  8. ^ Paige, Rachel (9 May 2019). "Scandal Alum Bellamy Young's New Show Prodigal Son Is Officially Heading to Fox". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 10 May 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (9 May 2019). "Fox Picks Up 4 New Drama Series: 'Prodigal Son', 'Deputy', 'NeXt' & Weisman/Katims; What Does It Mean For Network's Bubble Dramas?". Deadline. Archived from the original on 11 May 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.

External linksEdit