Paul Allen was born and brought up in East Kent where he learned to play the trombone but not very well. His first job in journalism was with the Sheffield Morning Telegraph where he covered the opening of the then controversial Crucible Theatre and met the actor and “marra” Alun Armstrong at the start of his career. In 1976 Paul was the first regional journalist to be named “Critic of the Year” in the British Press Awards.
In the 1980s he began a long association with the BBC Radio 4 arts magazine Kaleidoscope. He wrote and presented the Kaleidoscope feature The Leaf and the Fig which won the last BP Arts Journalism Award for radio in 1993.
His first play for the theatre, Herod the Great, was produced in the Crucible Studio and Brassed Off was first seen on the Crucible main stage in 1998, subsequently transferring to the National Theatre and having a national tour the following year.
His biography of Alan Ayckbourn, Grinning at the Edge, is published by Methuen. A Pocket Guide to Alan Ayckbourn’s Plays is published by Faber.