7 things you didn’t know about Paul Usher – AKA EastEnders newcomer Danny Hardcastle

Paul Usher is best known for his role as Barry Grant in Brookside, but now he is heading to EastEnders to cause trouble for Phil Mitchell...

Paul Usher is probably best known for his role as Brookside baddie Barry Grant, but after two decades of causing havoc in the Channel 4 soap, he found himself on the other side of the law when he landed the role of PC Des Taviner in The Bill, which he played for 3 years. But soap fans are in for a treat this spring as Paul joins the cast of EastEnders as dodgy businessman Danny Hardcastle, who has unfinished business with Phil Mitchell.

But don’t be fooled by his charming demeanour when he first arrives… because it will soon transpire that Danny is connected to Phil’s ‘work’ trips to Spain and has come to Walford looking for some answers.

Here’s everything you need to know about EastEnders newcomer Paul Usher, the man behind Walford’s latest arrival…

1. He met his wife at work 

Paul met his wife, Charlotte, while they both worked on The Bill and the pair got married in sunny Rhodes in 2010. The couple have a son together called Lucas. Paul also had another son, James, from a previous relationship who sadly died from an undiagnosed heart condition while working on an oil ship near Scotland when he was just 25.

2. He’s still good friends with his Brookside buddies

After the sudden and tragic death of Paul’s son, his Brookside friends all got together to hold a charity night in aid of James. Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnson and Michael Starke all helped Paul raise money for the British Heart Foundation, making the evening a celebration of James’s life.

Brookside's Barry Grant (Paul Usher) was fiercely loyal to his friends and loved ones. Anyone else, watch out!

Paul Usher as Brookside’s Barry Grant

3. He’s never wanted to be famous 

While Paul might have been in some of the biggest TV shows like Brookside, The Bill and now EastEnders, the actor admitted to the Liverpool Echo that he’s always shied away from the limelight: “I enjoyed acting but not the fame side of it. I don’t want to play that game. I never really do any interviews. I’m proud of my acting work, but I get really annoyed about celebrity culture”.

4. He used to live in Greece

EastEnders newboy Paul Usher back his days as PC Des Taviner in The Bill

EastEnders newboy Paul Usher back his days as PC Des Taviner in The Bill

After finishing The Bill Paul decided to get a change of scenery, and where better than in sunny Greece? With his brother having already lived there for the best part of 20 years, Paul decided to rent his house out and moved abroad.

5. He used to be in a band

Back in the day Paul was in a band called The Union Jacks. He was the bass player and while the band started life working in local clubs, they soon got picked up by an American company who paid them to go and play in schools over in the US.

6. He’s a brilliant singer

While Paul might have been the bass player in his band, he is secretly harbouring another talent – he’s a great singer! Not only does he have a great voice and loves performing, but he also writes and performs his own songs.

7. He became an actor by accident 

Despite now being a familiar face on British TV, Paul says his acting career wasn’t part of his original life plan. He told The Liverpool Echo: “When I came back to Britain after touring with the band for over a year, playing three shows a day, I didn’t want to pick up the guitar again. Then a letter popped through the door asking me to come and audition for this new programme. Three auditions later and I’ve got the job and I’m on the telly in Brookside.”

Picture credits: Main image: BBC, Brookside picture: EMPICS Entertainment/PA Photos, The Bill: Fremantle Media/REX/Shutterstock