Paul Kershaw was a firefighter who was the ex-boyfriend of Eileen Grimshaw and resided with her at 11 Coronation Street. He was notable for being part of the emergency crews responding to the Coronation Street tram crash of 2010, which was his first association with the area.
Paul was part of the emergency crew who were deployed to Coronation Street in December 2010 when it was rocked by an explosion from The Joinery bar, followed by a derailed tram from the wrecked viaduct. One of the trapped people was Molly Dobbs, pinned underneath the wreckage of the Corner Shop with her baby Jack.
Paul was the first fireman to make his way through the rubble to the mother and son where he spoke words of comfort to her and rescued the baby from her, promising to be back with more men and equipment. He did return, telling her that they needed specialist lifting equipment but he was obviously perturbed at the sight of the blood seeping out from her body. He took charge of cutting away the rubble from around Molly in an effort to get her out and save her life but all their efforts proved to be in vain as the young woman slowly bled to death.
Paul arrived at the scene in October 2011 when Eileen Grimshaw trapped her head in the railings at Underworld during her 50th birthday celebrations. He and his fire team cut her free and Paul advised her to get a check-up at Weatherfield General. Paul later arrived at the hospital with flowers for Eileen and asked her out on a date. They went on their first date at Nick's Bistro. After their second date at the Rovers, Paul went back to No.11 with Eileen. However, he received a call and told Eileen that he had to rush off due to work duties. Paul left his wallet behind, and Eileen decided to visit his house the next day and return it. He practically shut the door on her when she arrived but thanked her. Paul later apologised for his behaviour and explained that his brother was there at the time - upset after splitting up with his wife. He and Eileen shared a kiss before he left.
Eileen's lodger Marcus Dent later saw Paul in Freshco's with another woman, and told his partner Sean Tully, who agreed not to tell Eileen until they were sure it was how it seemed. However, she unknowingly slept with Paul, who surreptitiously phoned his wife and claimed he had to work. The following morning, Eileen was confused to wake up to find Paul had already left. A guilty Marcus confessed to an upset Eileen that he'd saw him with another woman and was probably married. A furious Eileen decided to confront Paul and arrived at the fire station looking for him. Paul revealed that he was married and Eileen decided that Paul's wife deserved to know the truth about her philandering husband. She arrived at his house and talked to Lesley, who didn't react to the news and became confused. Rushing to her side, Paul explained to Eileen that his wife had early outset Alzheimer's disease. Paul later arrived at Eileen's house and they had a heart to heart. He was hopeful that they could remain friends but Eileen declined, saying his commitment should be to his wife.
In November 2011, when Bessie Street School headteacher Brian Packham lost his speaker for a safety awareness day, Eileen phoned Paul who filled in at the school and Brian later took him to the Rovers. He and Eileen talked and they agreed to remain friends. He told her about Lesley's worsening condition at home and how she was becoming violent. Paul later called Eileen at work saying that Lesley had gone missing, and Eileen eventually found her at the cemetery in a confused state.
Eileen sent a Christmas card to Paul and Lesley the following month and invited them for Christmas dinner. She took them to the Rovers but Lesley got increasing confused. Paul cancelled Christmas dinner with Eileen after Lesley fell over in the garden, but they still met up in the pub that day.
In January 2012, Eileen admitted her feelings for him and he agreed to take her out, despite Lesley. Lesley died, but Paul got back with Eileen. In 2013, she thought he was having an affair with firefighter colleague Toni Griffiths, but after finding out this wasn't the case, he proposed to Eileen. He took part in the Full Monty charity event at the bistro which had been organised by Toni, but a fire at the Rovers cut the evening short. Paul helped save Stella Price, but Toni perished in the fire which caused Paul to suffer from grief and he developed Survivor's Guilt. He blamed Eileen's son Jason as he was Stella's boyfriend and was fixing the fuse in the cellar where the fire started, although it was later claimed that Sunita Alahan was to blame, and Jason was declared innocent. Paul felt immense guilt over Toni's death and requested a transfer to North Yorkshire, however Eileen raced to Victoria Station to stop him. They returned home, and soon announced their engagement.
Paul was accused of racism by Lloyd Mullaney when his daughter Jenna overheard Paul using the phrase "Playing the white man" in the Rovers. This caused a rift as both men refused to back down because of pride. Although Paul apologised to Lloyd a few days later, the feud continued with most of the street backing Lloyd. Jenna's girlfriend Sophie Webster reported Paul for racism at his workplace and as an investigation was held, Paul was temporarily suspended.
Paul later saved Lloyd from a gang of racist thugs during a day out, but this didn't appear to change Lloyd's perspective of Paul, which angered him, especially as Eileen was more concerned about Lloyd's well-being than his. Although Paul and Lloyd put their differences aside, Paul and Eileen separated as she felt he always put himself first. Paul left the street in August to stay in a friend's caravan.
- Paul Kershaw was originally introduced during Coronation Street's 50th Anniversary episodes as a firefighter attending the tram crash on the street. In his three appearances that week he was credited as "Firefighter Paul" and "Fire Officer Paul". He received the surname "Kershaw" when he returned full-time in late 2011.
- In 2013 Paul was axed when it was decided not to renew Tony Hirst's contract. Some rumoured reports claimed that Paul would die at the end of an "explosive" storyline, however this turned out to be untrue and he departed in August that year, at the end of a storyline where the character was accused of racism.
First and last lines
"Hey, hey, how's it going?" (First line, to Molly Dobbs)
"I think that was half the problem wa'nt it? Bye." (Final line, to Eileen Grimshaw)