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Nicola Walker
Nicola Walker.jpg
Nicola Jane Walker[citation needed]

(1970-05-15) 15 May 1970 (age 51)
Stepney, London, England
EducationForest School, Walthamstow, London
Alma materNew Hall, Cambridge
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)Barnaby Kay

Nicola Jane 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 and DCI Cassie Stuart in Unforgotten from 2015 to 2021. 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.

Early life

Walker was born in Stepney in the East End of London and has an elder brother. She attended Saint Nicholas School at Old Harlow in Essex, and Forest School, Walthamstow, and undertook acting classes from the age of 12 in order to speak to boys.[1] Interviewed in 2014 by The Daily Telegraph, she said, "I was really encouraged by my mother. My dad thought it was a ridiculous thing to do."[2]

Walker studied English at New Hall, Cambridge, becoming the first member of her family to go to university.[3] 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.[4] 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.[2]


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.[1]


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.[5] 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 Millions 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.[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".[6]

In 2007, Walker 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 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.[7]

In February 2011, she appeared as nervous social worker Wendy in the BBC TV series Being Human.[8] In February 2012, she played a major character in the one off BBC crime drama Inside Men.

From 2012 to 2020, she appeared as Gillian Greenwood (née Buttershaw) alongside Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and Sarah Lancashire in five series of the BBC original drama Last Tango in Halifax.

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.

Walker was again nominated for a Television BAFTA for "Best Supporting Actress" in 2014 for her role in Last Tango in Halifax, but the award was won by her co-star Sarah Lancashire.[9]

In 2015, she appeared as Jackie "Stevie" Stevenson, the colleague of DI John River played by Stellan Skarsgård, in the BBC drama series River.[10][11]

Walker starred, alongside actor Sanjeev Bhaskar, in series one through four of the ITV drama series Unforgotten as DCI Cassie Stuart.[12]

From 2018 to 2020 Walker starred as Hannah Defoe Stern, a divorce lawyer, in the two series of the BBC drama series The Split[13][14] and as Reverend Jane Oliver in the BBC2 serial Collateral.[15]

Walker was number 10 on the "Radio Times TV 100" list for 2018, a list said to be determined by television executives and broadcasting veterans.[16]

In September 2021, it was announced that Stefan Golaszewski's new drama, Marriage would air in 2022 and would star Walker alongside Sean Bean.[17][18]


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.[19]

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[20] 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 was as one half of the folk duo in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), who sing "Can't Smile Without You" during the first church service. She also appeared in the feature film adaptation of the television series Thunderbirds (2004).

In 2005, she portrayed a British journalist caught up in the Rwandan genocide in Shooting Dogs.


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.[21][22] From 2018 to 2020 she played the role of Dr. Eleanor Peck in the RedHookStories BBC Radio 4 production The Lovecraft Investigations[23] 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.[citation needed]



Year Film Role Notes
1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral Frightful folk duo member -Wedding One
1994 Milner Colette Brustein Television film
1994 Faith Sallie Grace 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
2004 Thunderbirds Panhead's Mother
2005 Shooting Dogs Rachel
2007 Oliver Twist Sally Television film
2009 The Turn of the Screw Carla Television film
2014 Second Coming Counsellor


Year Film Role Notes
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)
2015–2021 Unforgotten DCI Cassie Stuart 4 series (24 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)
2021 Annika DI Annika Strandhed 6 episodes (main role)
TBA Marriage TBA Written and directed by Stefan Golaszewski

Video games

Year Title Voice 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


Year Title Role
2002 Neuromancer Molly
2011–present Doctor Who: The Audio Adventures Liv Chenka
2013-present Anikka Stranded Anikka Strandhed
2018 BBC Radio 4: Mythos Mary Lairre
2018–present BBC Radio 4: The Lovecraft Investigations Eleanor Peck

Theatre credits


Here are the awards and nominations received by Nicola Walker.

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2013 Olivier Award Best Supporting Actress The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Personal life

She is married to actor Barnaby Kay. The couple have a son Harry (born in October 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. ^ a b Rees, Jasper (4 April 2014). "Nicola Walker: 'I've got a feisty face'". Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  3. ^ Scott, Danny (10 January 2016). "Time and place: Nicola Walker". The Times. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Bestselling Fiction & Non-Fiction Authors, from The Orion Publishing Group". Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  5. ^ After the Chalk Dust Settled, featurette on Chalk Series 1 DVD,, prod. & dir. Craig Robins
  6. ^ Wilson, Benji (23 October 2011). "Spooks: the final episode, so ludicrously silly it might just be true, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 October 2011."Spooks" was also titled and seen as "MI-5".
  7. ^ "BBC One — Luther, Series 1". BBC. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  8. ^ "BBC Three — Being Human". BBC. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Bafta for Last Tango in Halifax star Sarah Lancashire". Halifax Courier. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "River – BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  12. ^ Swain, Marianka (31 March 2021). "Why Unforgotten star Nicola Walker could be the next Olivia Colman". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "When is The Split series 2 on TV?". Radio Times. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Full Cast Announced for Thriller Series 'Collateral' Starring Carey Mulligan". Variety. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  16. ^ Lazarus, Susanna (21 August 2018). "Olivia Colman tops Radio Times TV 100 2018: full list revealed". Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  17. ^ Julian, Joe (24 September 2021). "Nicola Walker and Sean Bean to lead BBC relationship drama Marriage". Radio Times. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Sean Bean and Nicola Walker to star in new Stefan Golaszewski drama, Marriage, for BBC One". BBC. 24 September 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  19. ^ "Curious Incident wins seven". BBC News. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  20. ^ Masters, Tim (30 December 2014). "Theatre 2015: A look ahead". BBC News. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Nick Walker - Annika Stranded - Episode guide - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  22. ^ "Sweet Talk on Twitter". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  23. ^ "The Lovecraft Investigations". Retrieved 6 December 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 January 2022, at 20:35
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