Nicola Walker (born 15 May 1970) is an English actress, known for her starring roles in various British television programmes from the 1990s onwards, including that of Ruth Evershed in the spy drama Spooks from 2003 to 2011. She has also worked in theatre, radio and film. She won the 2013 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and has twice been nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress for the BBC drama Last Tango in Halifax.
|Born||15 May 1970|
Stepney, London, England
|Education||Forest School, Walthamstow, London|
|Alma mater||New Hall, Cambridge|
Walker was born in Stepney in the East End of London and has an older brother. She attended Saint Nicholas School, Old Harlow, and Forest School, Walthamstow, and undertook acting classes from age 12 in order to speak to boys. Interviewed in 2014 by The Guardian, she said, "I was really encouraged by my mother. My dad thought it was a ridiculous thing to do."
Walker then attended New Hall, Cambridge, where she started her acting career with the Cambridge Footlights. Her contemporaries included Spooks writer David Wolstencroft and comedian Sue Perkins, who were all part of the 1990 national tour. Perkins, then an older undergraduate, was assigned to be her "college mother", although Walker later said: "She was the worst college mother I could have had. They're meant to hold your hand. She asked to borrow my bike, got drunk, and I never saw it again." Walker acted on stage as Perkins's stooge and years later their partnership was resumed when Perkins cast Walker in her sitcom Heading Out.
Offered a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on graduation from Cambridge, Walker already had some roles and an agent, so she decided to pursue her acting career. Based in London, she shared a flat with Perkins, Sarah Phelps, and Emma Kennedy, and acted at the Edinburgh Festival and the London Festival Fringe.
Walker's first major television roles were in 1997, as Gypsy Jones in Channel 4's adaptation of A Dance to the Music of Time, and as English teacher Suzy Travis in two series of Steven Moffat's school-based sitcom Chalk. She has also appeared in guest roles in episodes of series such as Dalziel and Pascoe, Jonathan Creek, Pie in the Sky, and Broken News.
She played the leading part of DI Susan Taylor in the ITV thriller serial Touching Evil in 1997, co-starring opposite Robson Green. She also appeared in its two sequel serials in 1998 and 1999. Also in 1999, she took the lead role in the post-apocalyptic drama serial The Last Train, also screened on ITV (and written by future Spooks writer Matthew Graham). Also in 2003, Walker played Molly in the BBC Radio adaptation of Neuromancer by William Gibson.
In 2003, with the production team of Kudos Television looking to replace the character played by Jenny Agutter in Series 1 of Spooks, the part of Ruth Evershed was specially written for Walker from Series 2. She remained with the show until the fifth series, during the production of which it was announced she was expecting her first child and would be leaving. She returned in 2009 and continued until the series ended in 2011. Benji Wilson of The Daily Telegraph praised Walker's performance, stating: "an actress who has squeezed every drop out of TV’s greatest ever largely dumbstruck doormat for the best part of a decade. Her scenes with Peter Firth, another fine player, have become self-contained little bubbles of weltschmerz within every recent episode".
In 2009, she appeared as a maid in a new BBC adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, which also starred Michelle Dockery and Sue Johnston. In 2010, Walker appeared as a beleaguered wife (Linda Shand) of a murderer in an episode of the BBC1 crime thriller Luther.
In February and March 2013, Walker reunited with her former Cambridge Footlights colleague Sue Perkins in the BBC comedy Heading Out. She then appeared in the second series of Prisoners' Wives and the third series of Scott & Bailey playing Helen Bartlett.
In 2015, she appeared as Jackie "Stevie" Stevenson, the colleague of DI John River played by Stellan Skarsgård, in the BBC drama series River. She also starred as DCI Cassie Stuart, alongside actor Sanjeev Bhaskar as DS Sunil "Sunny" Khan, in the ITV drama series Unforgotten, which returned for a fourth series in 2021.
Walker won an Olivier Award in 2013 for Best Supporting Actress in her role as Judy, the main character Christopher's mother, in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The play won seven Olivier Awards, equalling Matilda the Musical's record win in 2012.
In 2014, she starred alongside Mark Strong and Phoebe Fox in Arthur Miller's play A View from the Bridge, at the Young Vic theatre. The play received extremely positive reviews from critics and transferred to Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End in 2015 and to the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway.
In film, Walker's roles have tended to be smaller supporting parts. Her most prominent role has been as the irritating folk singer in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), who sings "Can't Smile Without You" at the first wedding. She also appeared in the feature film adaptation of the classic television series Thunderbirds (2004).
In 2002, Walker co-starred in the BBC radio production of William Gibson's cyberpunk novel Neuromancer. In July 2011, she played the significant supporting role of Medtech Liv Chenka in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio drama Robophobia, opposite Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor. The Chenka character proved popular both with producers and listeners, and in February 2014 Walker returned to the role, this time as a foil for Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor in Dark Eyes 2. The character was sustained throughout Dark Eyes 3 and Dark Eyes 4, at the end of which it was revealed that Chenka was to continue as the Doctor's established travelling companion. Walker returned to the role in the follow-up 4-volume Doom Coalition, Ravenous and Stranded. In 2017, she starred in the company's adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel The Shape of Things to Come.
Since 2013, Walker has voiced the Norwegian detective Annika Strandhed in six series of the BBC Radio 4 drama series Annika Stranded by Nick Walker and produced by Sweet Talk. From 2018 to 2020 she played the role of Dr. Eleanor Peck in the RedHookStories BBC Radio 4 production The Lovecraft Investigations of three H. P. Lovecraft stories, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Whisperer in Darkness and The Shadow Over Innsmouth, alongside her husband Barnaby Kay.
|1994||Four Weddings and a Funeral||Member of frightful folk duo|
|1994||Milner||Colette Brustein||Television film|
|1996||The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders||Lucy Diver||Television film|
|1997||Cows||Shirley Johnson||Television film|
|2000||Shiner||Det. Sgt. Garland|
|2007||Oliver Twist||Sally||Television film|
|2009||The Turn of the Screw||Carla||Television film|
|1997||Pie in the Sky||Carol||Episode: "In the Smoke"|
|1997||A Dance to the Music of Time||Gypsy Jones||Episode: "The Twenties"|
|1997||Chalk||Suzy Travis||12 episodes|
|1997–1999||Touching Evil||Susan Taylor/D.I. Susan Taylor||16 episodes|
|1998||Jonathan Creek||WPC Fay Radnor||Episode: "Mother Redcap"|
|1999||The Last Train||Harriet Ambrose||5 episodes|
|2000||Dalziel and Pascoe||Abbie Hallingsworth||Episode: "A Sweeter Lazarus"|
|2001||People Like Us||Helen Meredith||Episode: "The Journalist"|
|2003–2011||Spooks||Ruth Evershed||57 episodes|
|2004||Red Cap||Maj. Rebecca Garton||Episode: "Fighting Fit"|
|2005||Broken News||Katie Willard||3 episodes|
|2007||Torn||Joanna Taylor||3 episodes|
|2010||Luther||Linda Shand||Episode: "#1.4"|
|2010||Law & Order: UK||Daniela Renzo||Episode: "ID"|
|2011||Being Human||Wendy||Episode: "The Longest Day"|
|2012||Inside Men||Kirsty Coniston||4 episodes|
|2012||New Tricks||Helen Hadley||Episode: "Old School Ties"|
|2012||A Mother's Son||DC Sue Upton||2 episodes|
|2012–present||Last Tango in Halifax||Gillian Greenwood||24 episodes|
Nominated—BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
|2013||Prisoners' Wives||DCI Jo Fontaine||4 episodes|
|2013||Heading Out||Justine||6 episodes|
|2013||Scott & Bailey||Helen Bartlett||4 episodes|
|2014||Babylon||Sharon Franklin, Assistant Commissioner||7 episodes (main role)|
|2015–present||Unforgotten||DCI Cassie Stuart||3 series (18 episodes, main role)|
|2015||River||DS Jackie "Stevie" Stevenson||6 episodes (main role)|
|2018||Collateral||Jane Oliver||Miniseries (4 episodes, main role)|
|2018||Inside No 9||Harriet||Episode "To Have and to Hold" series 4|
|2018–present||The Split||Hannah Stern||12 episodes (main role)|
|2011||The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings||Síle de Tansarville|
|2012||007 Legends||Teresa di Vicenzo|
|2015||The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt||Síle de Tansarville|
|2011–present||Doctor Who: The Audio Adventures||Liv Chenka|
|2013-present||Anikka Stranded||Anikka Strandhed|
|2018–present||BBC Radio 4: The Lovecraft Investigations||Eleanor Peck|
- Relocated – Royal Court Theatre London (2008)
- Gethsemane – National Theatre London (2008/9)
- Season's Greetings – National Theatre London (2010/11)
- Di and Viv and Rose – Hampstead Theatre (Downstairs) London (2011)
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – National Theatre London (2012) for which she won the 2013 Olivier Award in the category 'Best Actress in a Supporting Role'
- A View from the Bridge – Young Vic/Wyndham's Theatre (West End) London (2014/15), Lyceum Theatre on Broadway (2015/16)
- "Spooks: Nicola Walker". Life of Wylie. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- "Nicola Walker: 'I've got a feisty face'". Telegraph.co.uk. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
- "Bestselling Fiction & Non-Fiction Authors, from The Orion Publishing Group". Orionbooks.co.uk. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- After the Chalk Dust Settled, featurette on Chalk Series 1 DVD, ReplayDVD.co.uk, prod. & dir. Craig Robins
- Wilson, Benji (23 October 2011). "Spooks: the final episode, so ludicrously silly it might just be true, review". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 28 October 2011."Spooks" was also titled and seen as "MI-5".
- "BBC One — Luther, Series 1". Bbc.co.uk. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "BBC Three — Being Human". Bbc.co.uk. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Bafta for Last Tango in Halifax star Sarah Lancashire". Halifax Courier. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
- Adejobi, Alicia (4 September 2015). "Missing Broadchurch? ITV's new crime drama Unforgotten will become your new addiction". International Business Times. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
- "River – BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- "The Split; Abi Morgan's new drama exploring modern marriage and divorce for BBC One - Interview with Nicola Walker". BBC Media Centre. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- "When is The Split series 2 on TV?". Radio Times. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
- "Full Cast Announced for Thriller Series 'Collateral' Starring Carey Mulligan". Variety. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- Lazarus, Susanna (21 August 2018). "Olivia Colman tops Radio Times TV 100 2018: full list revealed". radiotimes.com. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "Curious Incident wins seven". BBC News. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Masters, Tim (30 December 2014). "Theatre 2015: A look ahead". BBC News. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- "Nick Walker - Annika Stranded - Episode guide - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- "Sweet Talk on Twitter". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
- "The Lovecraft Investigations". Retrieved 6 December 2020.