Saturday 5 July 2014

Paul Copley

Paul Copley:

Ubiquitous and adaptable Yorkshire actor with a gentle, burry voice, massively in demand for his ability to convince in roles ranging from the jolliest of uncles to the grimmest of villains, in everything from suburban sitcoms to heavyweight period drama. One of his biggest recent jobs has been playing Mr Mason, one of the few likeable characters in  'Downton Abbey', but his television CV from the early '70s to today is quite exceptional in its scope and quality.     

As honest farmer Mr Mason in 'Downton Abbey'
As well as 'Downton', he pops up in some other flag-waving series of the British television renaissance of the last decade, like 'Life on Mars', Torchwood' and 'Shameless'. And picking a few TV highlights from further back, you'll see him in Alan Plater's Chaucer-goes-Rugby-League series 'Trinity Tales', the Ben Kingsley 'Silas Marner', the 1977 BBC 'Treasure Island', the influential 'Cracker', 'Queer as Folk', 'The Lakes' and as the irascible seaman Matthews in the long-running 'Hornblower' franchise (photo top).

Perhaps not too convincing with the Cockney accent as
one of Terry's old schoolmates in 'Minder'
A quick run-down of his more everyday appearances would include everything from 'Tenko' and 'Secret Army' to 'Minder' and 'Strangers', with the inescapable cop and hospital stuff such as 'Heartbeat', 'Holby City', 'Peak Practice', 'Casualty', 'The Bill' and 'Doctors'.   

Turning informant in 'New Tricks'
In the movies, his younger days saw him cast in war movies 'A Bridge Too Far' (1977) and 'Zulu Dawn' (1979),  the controversial TV movie 'Death of a Princess' (1980) and later a supporting role in 'The Remains of the Day (1993). He has appeared in a number of shorts and low-budget films, including 'The Day My Nan Died' with Alison Steadman and Deddie Davies.  

Under a mop of '70s curls in n 'Alfie Darling' (1976) with
Alan Price and Vicki Michelle

Trivia: Fans of kids' TV might remember him from the spooky 'Ghost In The Water' which is now apparently lost to posterity, 'Gruey', 'Grange Hill' and a few schools' programmes. 

He also provided the voiceover for the horrible bleach-sloshing paranoia fest 'How Clean Is Your House?'. 

Paul Copley - imdb


  1. He looks a little like Bert Jansch in the Alfie Darling photo, don't you think?

  2. Can currently (2016) be seen in Last Tango In Halifax.