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Monday, 8 April 2013

A Somewhat Odd Appreciation Post - Nicola Walker

You know how it is - suddenly everything an actor has filmed in the last months hits the screen at the same time. We've had David Bradley in both Broadchurch and Prisoners Wives for the last few weeks and Olivia Colman, currently in Broadchurch, will also be appearing in the new episode of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, which has been heavily trailed. But I think Nicola Walker deserves her own accolade for appearing in three different programmes over three nights last week. That was quite impressive.

To be honest, since I never watched Spooks the first time she really appeared on my radar was late last year in Last Tango in Halifax (I never wrote a blog post about that and it really really deserved one). But suddenly it seems everything I watch (and I actually watch little television) has her in it. Unfortunately, last week was the culmination of two of her programmes but that was a delightful week while it lasted and showed her versatility over three nights.

On Tuesday she was in Heading Out as Justine, the nice-but-very-dim friend of Sue Perkins's protagonist in the new sitcom. I really hope that gets renewed (but, again, that's for another post). As Justine, she made eating custard a fascinating experience, though this episode wasn't my favourite. On Thursday she was in Prisoners Wives as DCI Fontaine, a rather smug police officer trying to imprison one of the main characters. However, I saved her Wednesday appearance in Scott & Bailey for last because...well, wow.

She played Helen Bartlett, a woman strangely unruffled by the news of her estranged mother's murder to the point where she becomes a viable suspect. As the episode goes on the disturbing details of her relationship with her parents trickles out in an extended scene that is as gut-wrenching as it is captivating. Probably has to be seen to be appreciated but, damn, it was good.

So airhead to murder suspect to DCI in the space of three days - and all of them believable in their own different ways. If I hadn't already been converted to her fan club in December I would definitely be signing up now. Looking forward to the rest of the series of Scott & Bailey and I'll then be counting down the days till Last Tango returns.


theoofoof said...

Great appreciation post. Nichola Walker is one of the best, most underrated actresses of out time. Saw hire in the theatre last October and she mesmerising. She's nominated for an Olivier award for that.

Oh and if you haven't, you really should watch Spooks. Fantastic series ,are even better by. Nicola Walker.

CharmedLassie said...

Didn't know she was up for an Olivier!

I'll try Spooks when my stomach's up to it. I caught one episode once - involved a head being dunked into a deep fan fryer - and it scarred me a bit.

Ceridwyn2 said...

I first became a fan of Nicola's in her early days in S2 of "Spooks", and subsequently caught pretty much everything she's been in before and after, save for stage theatre performances as I'm not in the UK. She's a very versatile performer, and quite understated when it comes to 'popular' media exposure. But she's an absolute gem.

CharmedLassie said...

It's strange how someone with so much versatility isn't more widely praised - maybe they don't like the fact they can't categorise her easily!

If I ever get the chance to see her on stage I'll take it.

Anonymous said...

I have loved Nicola since Spooks. She is a very versatile actress and I wish that she was in more shows and in bigger and more varied parts.

She has this rare ability of being able to shove emotional intensity into the audience's face so that they uncomfortably can't look away. She plays emotions with such rawness and authenticity you forget that it is someone playing a part.

CharmedLassie said...

Very true - the varied nature of the parts I listed above was astonishing! Looking forward to the return of Last Tango in Halifax - can't wait to see how Gillian gets this series.