LTiH 2 – Visiting Nicola on set in Manchester, August 2013


The discussion then turned to the city of Manchester.

“It’s a lovely city; small enough that you can feel like you really know it, which is something that doesn’t happen in London as it’s just too big. Everyone is really friendly and I enjoy spending time here. I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Aquatics Centre. I’m really impressed with the facilities there.”

Nicola prides herself on her swimming skills. See this Fun Fact. So it should come as no surprise that she should be spending a lot of time at the Manchester Aquatics Centre whilst she is on location in Manchester.

“When I got off the train today and walked through the station, it was like I had never been away,” said Sofie.

Nicola agreed with that comment. “When you go to university, the city feels like home; you feel like you own the streets. When you go home after uni, it’s a strange time – you feel so grown up but then you go home and your parents treat you in exactly the same way as when you left. I remember my time at university well. I recently went back to Cambridge, my own university city. When you get as old as me, you’ll look at the students and think, ‘was I really that young?’ All the students look like twelve year olds. It makes you think about your own time at university. You realise you really weren’t as grown up as you thought you were!”

“We’re going to Primark whilst we’re over here,” said Marie.

“Well think of me while you’re in Primark because I had a really weird day in there the other week,” Nicola told the ladies. “Normally when you’re doing a show and you have to do a scene where you’re on the phone, you’d have a member of the crew, say a producer or an editor, at the other end, reading the lines back to you. This isn’t ideal because you’d then have to imagine reactions from the person playing opposite you. With Last Tango, the policy is that even if you’re not on set, you’re booked in to be on the end of any phone calls if your character was meant to be at the other end of the line. I was shopping in Primark when I got a call from the set saying they were ready to shoot a scene with Sarah Lancashire where Caroline is on the phone to Gillian. So I had to walk round Primark saying my lines over the phone. I got some really weird looks from the security guard. He must have thought I was some weird shoplifter or something! It’s also happened at the school gates when I’ve been doing the school run and when I’ve been driving!”

“I heard in a recent interview which Josh Bolt gave that he will be filming in Belgium soon,” said Sofie. “We’re still waiting for you to film something in Belgium!”

“Ha ha, I should start planning a Belgium theatre tour then, so that I can go and visit you!”

As usual, the ladies brought small gifts for Nicola. Ruth presented Nicola with a personalised Diet-Coke bottle with ‘Nicola’ on it.

Share a Coke

“That’s lovely. Where did you get that? I’d seen someone in make-up with a similar one. I thought they’d had it specially made.”

“No,” Ruth told Nicola. “Its a nationwide advertising campaign. Its taken me months to find one with ‘Ruth’ on it. They obviously don’t think that its a very good or popular name.”

“Why not?” Nicola was probably thinking of the name of her character in Spooks. “I’m amazed that a big company could make you feel so special! I love it, thank you.”

Ruth was so happy that Nicola liked the Diet Coke bottle that she forgot to take a photo of Nicola posing with her bottle. 🙁

Coming from Belgium, Sofie and Marie brought Nicola authentic Belgian chocolates.

“Oh I love these! I’m not going to share them; well I might give Derek one and possibly Josh, but not to Dean.”

“We should say thank you to Dean for being our go between on Twitter,” Ruth reminded Nicola.

“Oh alright then, I’ll give Dean some of my chocolates.” Nicola then opened the box to share some of the chocolate with the ladies. Nicola chose the same as Ruth and said, “I think this one might have caramel in.” Ruth took a bite but didn’t think that it was caramel.

“It’s cream!” Nicola said. “Cream in chocolate. That’s good. I’d have to go soon, we’re having a shorter lunch so that we can finish the day earlier.”


Both Ruth and Sofie then asked Nicola to sign their Last Tango in Halifax DVDs. As she was signing, Nicola said, “I’ll try not to write on Derek’s face.” She paused after she wrote ‘Nicola’ and said, “I feel as though I know you all so well that it seems weird to write my full name… ‘Nicola Walker’.” Then she took some photos with the ladies before giving them all another big hug each and left, saying she’d see them soon.

The ladies didn’t see any other cast members to talk to but Edward Ashley, who plays Lawrence, walked past the ladies and was wearing a kilt – so presumably Caroline’s boys will be in Scottish regalia for the wedding.

Thus ended another lovely, chatty visit between Nicola and her fans. Big thanks to Ruth, Sofie and Marie for sharing their encounter with all of us.

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