Investigative broadcast journalist, television presenter, documentary maker and speaker Paul Connolly specialising in covert filming and undercover work. He 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
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Paul Connolly 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 adrenalin fuelled excitement and constant change he needs to thrive - Investigative reporting.
These day, Paul Connolly 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.
Paul’s 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 it’s sixth seaon, 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 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 Connolly 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 Connolly 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, as well as a hefty back-catalogue of nerve-jangling, “brush-with-death” stories to tell. The series was first broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK, but is now available on Netflix.
By revealing the secrets and tricks of the trade he uses when working undercover, Connolly takes you deep inside a dark, menacing world that few even glimpse, whilst somehow finding the humour, hope and humanity in life on wrong side of the law.
The Art of Confrontation:
As an investigative journalist, Paul goes go toe-to-toe, head-to-head with dangerous criminals on a regular basis. During the on-camera, tension-filled confrontations that round-off each successful investigation, Paul takes crooks to task on the impact their crimes have on society as a whole. Essentially, he serves up the harsh truth - and, for most of his adversaries, it's a very bitter pill to swallow. Naturally, forcing a criminal to endure the glare of the spotlight case cause them to become agitated, even violent. Therein lies the skill, the art of confrontation.
Over the years, Paul has a developed a tried-and-tested method of calming and, to a degree, controlling situations that have the potential to escalate quickly. Using only language, specific mannerisms and other subtle nuances in his armoury, Paul can teach you how to apply these little known techniques in a corporate environment. As we all know, confrontation is never easy. But, sometimes, it is a neccessary evil. Over the course of just one seminar/talk, Paul can instruct you on how to diffuse any potential hostility before it has even started.
Overcoming adversity/The Power of persuasion - and turning a "no" into a "yes, where do I sign?"
As an investigative journalist, Paul is extremely skilled in the art of secret filming and in all other facets of undercover work. But no amount of training or experience can prepare a covert investigator for the worst of the worst case scenario: your cover being blown whilst on the job, face-to-face with dangerous criminals, with no safe exit in sight.
Over his many years working undercover, Paul has endured this nightmarish situation - and lived to tell the tale. How? The power or persuasion. Despite facing into a seemingly hopeless, against-all-the-odds situation, Paul was able to employ subtle but powerful techniques that enabled to him to alter his adversaries focus, then turn the situation to his own advantage. These little known skills can be applied to any number of situations that arise in a corporate environment, not least when a potential sales lead seems hell-bent on saying "NO!".