Paul Merton is a British comedian, actor and writer, best known for his appearances on Have I Got News For You, Room 101 and the original TV series of Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
He was born in London as Paul Martin, the first and only son of an English father and a mother of Irish Catholic descent. His father was a train driver and his mother worked as a nurse. His grandfather, who lived with the family, took care of Paul and his younger sister.
He failed his Eleven Plus Exam, but got a Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE), a qualification for students not capable of taking "O" level tests. After that, he attended Wimbledon College, a Catholic school which is supported by the state.
Since his school days, Paul had had ambitions of becoming a performer. The first success in his comedic career came in 1982 when he first performed in The Comedy Store in Soho. His big break, however, was in 1988 when he appeared in the improvisational TV series Whose Line Is It Anyway?.