Actress Nicola Walker is a face we've been seeing regularly on MPT's British shows for a number of years now, but somehow she's never quite achieved the name recognition I feel she deserves. Somehow though I get the impression she'd rather be working than signing autographs and doing celebrity interviews.
As Ruth Evershed in MI-5, Walker always seemed to come across as very "grounded" and down-to-earth, so when a friend of mine sat across from her on the tube in London late one night last year, it didn't surprise my friend in the slightest. Even though she'd seen Walker that very same night perform at the National Theatre in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time; a performance which garnered Walker a best supporting actress award!
With husband Barnaby Kay.
Maybe one of the reasons Walker seems so natural in the role of Evershed is probably because the part was written specially for her, when she was brought on to replace the character played by Jenny Agutter (Call the Midwife) in Series 1. Walker stayed with MI-5 (which in the UK was called Spooks) until the fifth series in 2006, when she left to have a baby, who she and her husband named Harry, after her co-star Peter Firth's character. She wasn't gone long though and was persuaded to return to the show in 2009, during a visit to the producer's office with her new son.
According to Walker, scripts for MI-5 were never consistent; they changed daily and the actors in the series could never plan out their reactions in advance. "It makes for a real fear factor", said Walker at the time, "there are terrified actors mumbling lines in corners a lot of the time!"
Most lately we've been seeing Walker in a far different role to the one she played in MI-5; that of Gillian, the bed-hopping daughter of Derek Jacobi's character in Last Tango in Halifax. It was a role she never thought she'd get.
"At the audition I remember thinking there is absolutely no way they are going to give me this job", recalled the London born Walker. "They had about ten northern actresses. I was saying to the girl who was going in after me, 'I don't know why I'm here. My northern accent is dreadful.'"
Walker started her acting career with the Cambridge footlights. On graduating from Cambridge she turned down an offer to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, deciding instead to enter straight into the workforce as a professional actress. She hasn't stopped working since. Some of the other shows we've seen Walker, who was born in 1970, in are Scott & Bailey, Dalziel and Pascoe, Touching Evil and Oliver Twist. She was also in the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Walker's most recent work has been back in the theatre; namely at the Young Vic in London, where she is currently starring in a sold out run of the Arthur Miller play A View from the Bridge, which runs until June.
More information about Nicola Walker can be found on the bonkersbutbrilliant.com fansite.
If there's an actor or actress you'd like to learn more about you can let me know.
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