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Nicola Walker

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Title: Nicola Walker  
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Nicola Walker

Nicola Walker
Born (1970-05-15) 15 May 1970
Stepney, London, U.K.
Nationality British
Education Forest School, Walthamstow
Alma mater New Hall, Cambridge
Occupation Actor
Years active 1990-present
Notable work(s) Ruth Evershed in BBC1 spy drama Spooks
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Spouse(s) Barnaby Kay
Children One son

Nicola Walker (born 15 May 1970) is an English actress, best known for her starring roles in various British television programmes from the 1990s onwards, particularly as Ruth Evershed in the spy drama Spooks from 2003-2011. She has also worked in theatre, radio and film. In 2013, she won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. In 2014, she was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress for the BBC drama Last Tango in Halifax.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Filmography 3
  • Theatre credits 4
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Born in Stepney in the East End of London, she has an older brother. Walker attended Saint Nicholas School, Old Harlow and Forest School, Walthamstow, and undertook acting classes from age 12 to speak to boys.[1] Walker then attended New Hall, Cambridge, where she started her acting career with the Cambridge Footlights. Her contemporaries included Spooks writer David Wolstencroft and comedienne Sue Perkins, who were all part of the 1990 national tour.[2]


Offered a place at RADA, on graduation from Cambridge she already had some roles and an agent, so decided to pursue her career. Based in London, she shared a flat with Perkins, Sarah Phelps and Emma Kennedy, acting at the Edinburgh Festival and the London Festival Fringe.[1]

Her 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.[3] 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 got 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 her from Series 2.[1] 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".[4]

In 2007 she had a prominent supporting role as a child snatcher in the ITV1 drama serial Torn and appeared in the BBC adaptation of Oliver Twist.

In film, her 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 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 she appeared as a beleaguered wife (Linda Shand) of a murderer in an episode of the BBC1 crime thriller Luther.[5]

In February 2011, she appeared as nervous social worker Wendy in the BBC TV series Being Human.[6] In February 2012, she played a major character in one off BBC crime drama Inside Men.

In 2012 and 2013 she appeared alongside Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and Sarah Lancashire, in two series of the BBC original drama Last Tango in Halifax. Last Tango in Halifax was commissioned a third series, set to start filming in the summer of 2014.

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 and Bailey.

Walker was nominated for and won an Olivier Award in 2013 for Best Supporting Actress in her role as the main character Christopher's mother, Judy, 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.[7]

In 2014, she starred alongside Mark Strong and Phoebe Fox in the Arthur Miller play "A View from the Bridge" at the Young Vic theatre. The play received extremely positive reviews from critics and will transfer to Wyndham's Theatre in London's West End in 2015.

Walker was also nominated for a Television BAFTA for "Best Supporting Actress" for her role in Last Tango in Halifax, but the award was won by her co-star Sarah Lancashire.


Year Film Role Notes
1994 Milner Colette Brustein TV movie
Four Weddings and a Funeral Frightful Folk Duo - Wedding One
Faith Grace TV movie
1996 The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders Lucy Diver TV movie
1997 Cows Shirley Johnson TV movie
Pie in the Sky Carol TV series (1 episode: "In the Smoke")
A Dance to the Music of Time Gypsy Jones TV mini-series (1 episode: "The Twenties")
Chalk Suzy Travis TV series (12 episodes)
Touching Evil Susan Taylor/D.I. Susan Taylor TV series (16 episodes: 1997-1999)
1998 Jonathan Creek WPC Fay Radnor TV series (1 episode: "Mother Redcap")
1999 The Last Train Harriet Ambrose TV series (6 episodes)
2000 Dalziel and Pascoe Abbie Hallingsworth TV series (1 episode: "A Sweeter Lazarus")
Shiner Det. Sgt. Garland
2001 People Like Us Helen Meredith TV series (1 episode: "The Journalist")
2003-2011 Spooks Ruth Evershed TV series (57 episodes: 2003-2011)
2004 Red Cap Maj. Rebecca Garton TV series (1 episode: "Fighting Fit")
Thunderbirds Panhead's Mother
2005 Shooting Dogs Rachel
Broken News Katie Willard TV series (3 episodes)
2007 Torn Joanna Taylor TV mini-series (3 episodes)
Oliver Twist Sally TV series
2009 The Turn of the Screw Carla TV movie
2010 Luther Linda Shand TV series (1 episode: "Episode #1.4")
Law & Order: UK Daniela Renzo TV series (1 episode: "ID")
2011 Being Human Wendy TV series (1 episode: "The Longest Day")
The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings Sile de Tansarville voice
2012 Inside Men Kirsty Coniston TV series (4 episodes)
New Tricks Helen Hadley TV series (1 episode: "Old School Ties")
A Mother's Son DC Sue Upton TV series (2 episodes)
007 Legends Teresa di Vincenzo voice
2012-2013 Last Tango in Halifax Gillian TV series (12 episodes)
2013 Prisoners’ Wives DCI Jo Fontaine TV series (4 episodes)
Heading Out Justine TV series (6 episodes)
Scott & Bailey Helen Bartlett TV series (5 episodes)
2014-2015 River Ghost TV series - in production

Theatre credits

Personal life

She is married to actor Barnaby Kay. The couple have a son Harry (born 2006), who is named after Harry Pearce, the character of her co-star Peter Firth in Spooks.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Spooks: Nicola Walker". Life of Wylie. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Bestselling Fiction & Non-Fiction Authors, from The Orion Publising Group". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  3. ^ After the Chalk Dust Settled, featurette on Chalk Series 1 DVD,, prod. & dir. Craig Robins
  4. ^ Wilson, Benji (23 October 2011). "Spooks: the final episode, so ludicrously silly it might just be true, review".  
  5. ^ "BBC One - Luther, Series 1". 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  6. ^ "BBC Three - Being Human". 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  7. ^ "Curious Incident wins seven". BBC News. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 

External links

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