An English actor and novelist, Mr. Payne was born in London and, was raised by his mother after the death of his father. He had just completed training at the Old Vic Theatre School with WWII broke out. Registering as a conscientious objector, he was exempted as long as he toured with the theater company to entertain the troops.
Mr. Payne was a popular character actor who found work on the stage, in movies (including Ben-Hur), and on television. His biggest claim to fame was playing the well known detective Sexton Blake on tv (1968-1971). It was during the filming of a sword scene that he was stabbed in the eye. Told that with some time off, his eye would heal itself, he nevertheless returned to continue filming and thus lost the use of the eye.
During his final years as a actor, he took up writing detective and spy thrillers and, when he retired from acting, continued his new career for many years.
Another of his series characters, in addition to John Tibbett, was the private investigator Mark Savage. The interesting aspect of the Savage character was that before he became a detective, he had been for many years an actor.