October 11 Group Report

On 11 October 2011, a group of about 13 Nicola Walker fans (some with their other halves) arranged to go and catch the evening performance of Di and Viv and Rose at the Hampstead Downstairs Theatre. Whilst most of these fans lived in or near London, some came specially for this meeting from the US, Scandinavia and Europe. These fans bonded with each other over their love of Spooks, especially the Harry and Ruth relationship, and kept in touch with each other via Twitter and other social media sites. Until that evening, many have not met each other before in person. Here are their stories.

How did you become a fan of Nicola’s?

20111011-fan2 Anna : I watched Ashes to Ashes and liked Keeley Hawes. I knew that she was in Spooks and started to watch that show as well. That’s how I became aware of Nicola’s work.

Lucy : I actually got into Spooks a couple of years ago as I was a Keeley Hawes fan!  I had watched episodes on and off from the beginning, but hadn’t followed it properly until more recently.  The more I watched, the more I grew to love Nicola and Peters’ portrayals of their characters and their brilliant acting and chemistry.

20110929 Emily : I got into Spooks about 2 years ago. My friend let me borrow series 1 and 2 and I was hooked after episode 205! I watched it purely because I had watched Ashes to Ashes and liked Keeley Hawes so I assumed I would love her character in this as I was watching it for her. Series 1 was alright, but in Series 2 as soon as Ruth entered, her character was just automatically my favourite! From breaking lamps, saving the day and then softening Harry. I was absorbed in their scenes, they were brilliant together! From 205 when I was literally on the edge of my seat, I was hooked.

20111011-fan3 Liga : About 7 or 8 months ago, my boyfriend (who is now my husband) and I saw one episode of Spooks on Swedish TV. He said that this was one show which we must watch from the beginning and so we did. We would often watch 2 or 3 episodes per night. It was very good, but I would occasionally fall asleep before the end of an episode because I was tired. Then Nicola’s character, Ruth Evershed, came into the show and that’s when I became really interested. I just love the scenes between Nicola and Peter (as Harry Pearce). Episode 409 did it for me. Almost overnight, I became a proper Spooks fans : joined the online forums, got the DVDs and books etc. I got so hooked that after my husband fell asleep, I would watch bits of new episodes by myself, just to enjoy the Harry and Ruth moments, and then pretend the next day that I was watching the episodes fresh with my husband. From there, I became interested in other work done by Nicola. She has brought back my love for acting and the film world, and for that I’m forever grateful. I couldn’t resist when I found out that I could watch Nicola work on stage, so here I am, with my husband, of course!

20111011-fan4 Wendy : I got into Spooks when I caught episode 8.1. I’d never seen it before and just happened to watch that episode and got hooked instantly on Harry & Ruth’s chemistry. I then went on to buy every series and catch up while watching Series 8.

20111011-fan1 Kathy : I became a Spooks fan in November, 2010 after falling in love with Richard Armitage in North and South. I started watching Spooks Season 7, RA’s first season. Seasons 8 and 9 weren’t yet available where I lived so I went back and started watching from Season 1. By the time I got to Season 5 I was completely obsessed with the Ruth and Harry characters and had forgotten all about Lucas North. After 5.5 I skipped the rest of the series and went right to Seasons 8 and 9. Then I went back and watched the rest of 5, 6, and 7. So even though I started watching Spooks for Richard Armitage, I ended up obsessed with it because of Harry and Ruth. It wasn’t until I met Peter Firth at the Spooks filming last June that I fell in love with him, but don’t tell my husband. 🙂

What did you think of the play

Since many of these fans had not met before, they decided to meet in a pub close to the Hampstead Theatre at about 6 pm in order to introduce themselves to each other. They then went over to the Theatre closer to showtime. The group took up the entire third row in the tiny theatre that is the “Hampstead Downstairs”. They decided not to sit in the front row because Nicola had previously told some fans that having fans sit in the front row could be a little distracting. The Hampstead Downstairs seats a maximum of 80 persons. There is no raised stage. The stage area is on the same level as the front row.

Gem : This is the second time that I’ve seen the play. I’ve already written a detailed review of the play [Ed: which you can find HERE.]

Anna : It was honestly a shock to be so close to the actors but even more shocking when I realized that I’d seen Nicola on TV in Spooks the night before. It was the just most incredible but strange feeling to know that she is Ruth Evershed, one of Spooks’s best loved character and yet now she’s mere metres away. And it has to be said, Tamzin Outhwaite and Claudie Blakley are absolutely brilliant!

Lucy : It was an absolute delight – a very funny, poignant, emotionally intense and thoughtful tale of friendship spanning the last 3 decades. All three actresses were superb, and their performances had such energy and vibrance.  I especially loved the epic dancing sequence with Nicola on air guitar!  The play starts off quite lightly, and is very funny in parts, as we are introduced to the three characters, and it gradually gets darker and more intense emotionally.

Liga : Before the play started my husband warned me, “You must keep an eye on me in case I fall asleep, there is something about going to theater that makes me all sleepy,” but afterwards he was most impressed by what he saw. “This is one of the few plays where I did not fall asleep and Tamzin playing lesbian was best”. During the second part of the play while they were all in New York, you get to see Nicola in “modern” clothing and I swear I could hear people saying “Mamma Mia, she is freaking HOT” (so for those who were not convinced about Nicola Walker winning the UK TV’s sexiest female you should have seen her in this play!)

Kathy : I agree. Nicola’s character wore a beautiful black dress and slammin’ high-heel black pumps in the scenes set in New York. She looked so hot!! It made me wish Ruth could have dressed like that on Spooks!

Emily : The play was brilliant! In the scene where Rose throws bread at Viv, I think Claudie actually threw the bread at Nicola’s eye (judging by the constant touching of the eye afterwards). Nicola Walker, Claudie Blakley and Tamzin Outhwaite really work well together and it was a wonderful performance and the audience was very enthusiastic; they cheered, laughed and cried. At the end of the play, the applause was deafening and our row stood up for a standing ovation, which prompted every row behind us to stand up and join in. All 3 actresses seemed very pleased with such a positive response.

Anna : Of course this play deserves a standing ovation… when the applause and the cheering started, the girls came back out to bow… I couldn’t help myself. Taking the lead from other members of our group who stood up, I turned around and scream “COME ON PEOPLE GET UP! COME ON!” to which they actually listened and the girls got the standing ovation they deserved. I’m pretty certain Nicola noticed that when she began laughing. *Blushes*

On the next page, find out what happened when the group finally met Nicola.

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