Jane Featherstone : the character of Ruth Evershed for Spooks was created because we knew that we were going to lose Jenny Agutter, who played Tessa [in Series 1], and we needed another strong, interesting female character to balance the team out. Nicola’s completely brilliant. I think that once Nicola became that role, the writers have just loved writing for that part, and Nicola’s really made it her own.
Nicola : I love the role of Ruth. I remember filming that first day, and being so horrifically nervous because you were coming onto this established programme, and going into the meeting room for the first time, and meeting Keely, Matthew, Peter and David, and I think Ruth’s first lines were, dropping files, falling over, stuttering, and I remember thinking I was so pleased she is monumentally nervous because I could barely put one foot in front of the other anyway, that was quite useful.
Harry and Ruth :
Peter Firth : Nicola’s character, Ruth, has grown immeasurably, partly due to her ability and partly to the way her character fits into the show. They’ve given her a lot lot more to do, particularly with Harry. There’s something on the back burner there … It just come out of the process of working together, that there’s this thing going on [between Harry and Ruth] which we thought was intentional, but [the writers and producers] all deny it and said, you’re imagining it.
Leaving Spooks in 2006 :
Nicola left Spooks in 2006, half way through Series 5, because she was pregnant with her first child. In her last scene on the show, she was carried down the Thames in a barge because Ruth had decided to sacrifice her life and career in order to save Harry’s.
Nicola : The owner told me that that barge has been in his family’s business for years. They use it to haul garbage down the Thames. I thought it was probably a fitting way to go, since my career was probably going down the toilet as I was leaving a successful show.
Returning to work in 2007 :
When Nicola returned to work in 2007, she first took on a small role in Oliver Twist, followed by a more substantial part in the TV mini series, Torn. She also did a number of radio and stage plays.
Nicola : [Sometime in 2008] I went into the Kudos office one day to show everyone my son, like you do when you’re a proud first time parent. And as I was leaving, Jane Featherstone (Kudos Creative Director) said, ‘Why don’t you come back next year?‘ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’d love to.‘ And that was it. It wasn’t complicated. Jane asked and I said yes. It was as simple as that.
Nicola, as Ruth Evershed, returned to Spooks in 2009. She turned in spectacular performances not only in Series 8, 9 and 10 of Spooks, but also in a number of guest starring roles in other high profile TV shows, such as Luther, Law & Order : UK and Being Human.
Life after Spooks
Spooks ended in 2011 after 10 series, but that has only freed up Nicola for more exciting new projects. In 2012 alone, she has filmed not only a high profile lead role in Last Tango in Halifax, but she has also appeared in guest roles in Inside Men, A Mother’s Son and New Tricks (series 9). After waiting 15 years, Nicola is cast in a new comedy, Heading Out, written by one of her best friends, Sue Perkins. In the same year, Nicola was also part of the ensemble cast in the highly acclaimed stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time at the Cottesloe Theatre at the National Theatre. Her performance of “Judi”, Christopher’s mother in this play, earned her an Olivier Award. We have more details on this Page.
To find out what projects Nicola is involved at any time, check out our Current Work page.
27 November 2011 : Editor’s Note
We’ve worked long and hard in finding information for this Bio and can quote you the source for each and every entry. We’re disappointed that a couple of fans have simply paraphrased info from here when they update Nicola’s page on Wikipedia, but they’ve neglected to credit us as the source. 🙁 We’re referring, in particular, to one or two pieces of info here which only we have reported as part of Nicola’s bio but is not available elsewhere. The “fans” in question should know what we’re talking about. A “heads-up” from them would have been nice!