Paul Connolly is an investigative broadcast journalist, television presenter and documentary maker with more than 15 years experience under his belt. Specialising in covert filming and undercover work, Paul has risked life and limb to unmask some of Britain's most dangerous criminals – and in a world first, lived as an inmate in four of the toughest prisons on earth.
His new series "Undercover: Nailing The Fraudsters" starts in February 2018 on Channel 5.
Paul grew up in a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, dreaming of becoming either an astronaut or a professional footballer. A bitter distaste for all things applied mathematics soon killed off the first of these options but being a determined sort, he did manage a short-lived spell in the ranks of Slavia Prague – a professional soccer team in the Czech Republic. A career-ending knee injury did however force him onto a different career path and so he decided to put his gift-of-the-gab to work in the world of journalism. Since qualifying near the turn of the century, he has been the editor of a motorcycle magazine, despite never having ridden one; he's courted controversy as a film critic; and was a sports reporter on national radio and television. He then earned his more serious stripes as a current-affairs presenter, before finally settling on the only strand of journalism that can sustain the level of adrenaline-fuelled excitement and constant change he needs to thrive: investigative reporting.
These days, Paul is a vastly experienced investigative journalist best known for his work on crime – and the daring undercover operations that have seen him infiltrate criminal gangs in cities and towns across Britain. His acclaimed and extremely successful documentaries have aired on Channel 5 in the UK, Netflix, Discovery Channel, BBC Worldwide, Nine Network in Australia, TV3 in Ireland and on many other networks besides.
Now in its sixth season, Paul's Channel 5 series has, amongst other things, seen him go undercover to buy large shipments of fake and poisonous vodka from Eastern European crooks in Black-Market Britain; for months he immersed himself in the underworld to expose large-scale welfare fraud in Undercover Benefits Cheat; he narrowly escaped injury when, in Undercover Criminal, he secretly filmed from the passenger seat of a car as insurance fraudsters intentionally crashed into each other at speed; he interrogated the world of consumer related crime and corruption in Hunted And Confronted; and in two series of Undercover: Nailing The Fraudsters Paul came face-to-face with high-end document forgers, international drug traffickers, ruthless con-men, dark-web scam-artists… the list goes on.
Never one to shy away, Paul is notorious also for the fearless manner in which he confronts and holds criminals to account when, finally, he can step out from behind his undercover identity to reveals who he really is. To say those moments are at times explosive, gripping and ultimately life-threatening is an understatement.
Recently, he also presented Inside The World's Toughest Prisons where, in a world first, he lived as a prisoner for a week inside four of the most dangerous lock-ups on earth. Paul describes it as “equal parts fascinating, mind-altering and impossibly dangerous” but again, it has provided him with a rare and remarkable insight into the mind of a criminal. The series was first broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK, but is now available on Netflix.
Paul is also a well-known radio personality in his native Ireland, an established public speaker and events host; he has also had numerous articles published in newspapers and other publications, both online and in print.