Paul Merton

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Paul Merton (born Paul James Martin; 9 July 1957) is a British comedian, writer and actor. Known for his improvisation skill,[1] his humour is rooted in deadpan, surreal and sometimes dark comedy. Considered by a number of critics, fellow comedians and members of the public to be among Britain's greatest comedians,[2][3][4] he is well known for his regular appearances as a team captain on the popular BBC panel game Have I Got News for You, as a regular panellist on Radio 4's Just a Minute and as one of Comedy Store's Comedy Store Players.


Early life

Merton was born on 9 July 1957[5] in Parsons Green, London to an English father (a train driver on the London Underground) and an Irish Roman Catholic mother. When his mother returned to work as a nurse, Merton and his younger sister were looked after by their grandfather, who lived with them in their council flat.

He failed his eleven plus and went on to Wimbledon College, a Jesuit-run secondary school that had just become a comprehensive, where he received A-levels in English and History.[6] His experience of victimisation there as a working-class boy became a frequent subject of his comedy. After leaving school, Merton worked at the Tooting employment office for three years.

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