Nicola Walker

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Nicola Walker
Nicola Walker.jpg
Born(1970-05-15) 15 May 1970 (age 44)
Stepney, London, U.K.
EducationForest School, Walthamstow
Alma materNew Hall, Cambridge
Years active1990-present
Notable work(s)Ruth Evershed in BBC1 spy drama Spooks
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Spouse(s)Barnaby Kay
ChildrenOne son
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Nicola Walker
Nicola Walker.jpg
Born(1970-05-15) 15 May 1970 (age 44)
Stepney, London, U.K.
EducationForest School, Walthamstow
Alma materNew Hall, Cambridge
Years active1990-present
Notable work(s)Ruth Evershed in BBC1 spy drama Spooks
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Spouse(s)Barnaby Kay
ChildrenOne son

Nicola Walker (born May 15, 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[edit]

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.


1994MilnerColette BrusteinTV movie
Four Weddings and a FuneralFrightful Folk Duo - Wedding One
FaithGraceTV movie
1996The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll FlandersLucy DiverTV movie
1997CowsShirley JohnsonTV movie
Pie in the SkyCarolTV series (1 episode: "In the Smoke")
A Dance to the Music of TimeGypsy JonesTV mini-series (1 episode: "The Twenties")
ChalkSuzy TravisTV series (12 episodes)
Touching EvilSusan Taylor/D.I. Susan TaylorTV series (16 episodes: 1997-1999)
1998Jonathan CreekWPC Fay RadnorTV series (1 episode: "Mother Redcap")
1999The Last TrainHarriet AmbroseTV series (6 episodes)
2000Dalziel and PascoeAbbie HallingsworthTV series (1 episode: "A Sweeter Lazarus")
ShinerDet. Sgt. Garland
2001People Like UsHelen MeredithTV series (1 episode: "The Journalist")
2003-2011SpooksRuth EvershedTV series (57 episodes: 2003-2011)
2004Red CapMaj. Rebecca GartonTV series (1 episode: "Fighting Fit")
ThunderbirdsPanhead's Mother
2005Shooting DogsRachel
Broken NewsKatie WillardTV series (3 episodes)
2007TornJoanna TaylorTV mini-series (3 episodes)
Oliver TwistSallyTV series
2009The Turn of the ScrewCarlaTV movie
2010LutherLinda ShandTV series (1 episode: "Episode #1.4")
Law & Order: UKDaniela RenzoTV series (1 episode: "ID")
2011Being HumanWendyTV series (1 episode: "The Longest Day")
The Witcher 2: Assassin of KingsSile de Tansarvillevoice
2012Inside MenKirsty ConistonTV series (4 episodes)
New TricksHelen HadleyTV series (1 episode: "Old School Ties")
A Mother's SonDC Sue UptonTV series (2 episodes)
007 LegendsTeresa di Vincenzovoice
2012-2013Last Tango in HalifaxGillianTV series (12 episodes)
2013Prisoners’ WivesDCI Jo FontaineTV series (4 episodes)
Heading OutJustineTV series (6 episodes)
Scott & BaileyHelen BartlettTV series (5 episodes)
2014-2015RiverGhostTV series - in production

Theatre credits[edit]

Personal life[edit]

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". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  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. 

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