Paul is the second eldest of five children, born to a Roman Catholic family in Liverpool. His three brothers – Joe
– are all successful actors; their sister Clare is a television producer.
Paul attended grammar school in Liverpool and, on the advice of his drama teacher, went on to study at RADA.
The four McGann brothers appeared on stage together in the 1982 West End musical Yakety Yak
and in 1995 they were reunited once again in the TV drama, The Hanging Gale
, which was written by Stephen McGann
about the Irish potato famine – and based largely on research he'd done into his own family history.
Paul's first starring role was alongside Robert Lindsay
in the BBC comedy, Give Us A Break
in 1983, however it was his performance in The Monocled Mutineer
in 1986, followed by his role as Marwood ("I") in the cult film Withnail and I
, that made him a household name.
Paul married Annie Milner in 1992, though in 2006 they split up. They have two children, Joseph and Jake. Paul has since been connected with actress Susannah Harker