Payne was born in December of 1982 in Chelmsford, Essex. He grew up in Bath, Somerset, attending King Edward's School and contributing greatly to the school's Drama Department.
Following his graduation from the Central School of Speech and Drama in June 2005, he started to get roles on several Brittish TV Series.
- The Physician
- Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
- Waterloo Road
- My Funny Valentine
- The Task
- Reality of Death
- Payne shares the same birthday as Steven Yeun.
- He appeared in the 2009 TV miniseries Wuthering Heights alongside Andrew Lincoln, his future walking dead co star.