Ruth’s Report

posted on 29 October 2012
Click on images below to see larger pics

I’ve not been a Spooks and Nicola Walker fan that long. I watched the first series of Spooks when it first aired but then the second was on while I was at uni and I just kinda fell out of touch with it until mid way through series 9, when my boyfriend was watching it. I immediately started on a complete re-watch and fell in love with the character of Ruth – she actually made me like my name again. (I got teased a lot for it at school – Ruth/roof etc!) This led me to looking into both Nicola and Peter’s work much more and I’ve watched quite a lot of Nicola’s stuff over the past 5 months since I finished my teacher training.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote to Nicola. It was just a regular fan letter, telling her how much I loved Spooks and how sad I was when it had finished and about what happened to Ruth at the end. I sent a photograph to be signed and explained that I would be coming down to London to see the Curious Incident and that I would try to meet her afterwards. I sent it direct to the National Theatre instead of to her agents. I had the signed photo back within 6 days, which was a very pleasant surprise because I was expecting it to take longer! She signed in biro so what she wrote may not be really clear in the photo.

I decided to come to London during half term and go to a few plays whilst I was here. I stayed Sunday to Thursday, bunking with a friend who accompanied me to the theatre and joined in other activities as well. Philip Glenister was going to be in This House at the NT and he is another one of my favourite actors. So I went to a performance of This House on Tuesday and then to the Curious Incident on Wednesday. Whilst I was at the NT for This House, I left a note for Nicola asking if we could meet her after the Curious Incident finished on Wednesday. In my note, I said something along the lines of “we’d be easy to spot at the stage door as one of us has a massive bandage on our hand!”

So on Wednesday evening after going to see the Curious Incident my friend and I waited by the Stage Door to meet Nicola Walker. She came out after about ten minutes. Before Nicola came out, we could see that she was talking to Harriet Walter [Ed : Nicola’s co-star from Law & Order : UK]just inside the Stage Door. As soon as Nicola came out, she said to everyone within earshot, “I’m looking for Ruth, and her friend with the bad finger.” It was quite funny. I called her over and identified ourselves. Nicola made sure she knew which one of us was which and asked if she’d met us before because I seemed familiar. I explained that I’d written to her a couple of weeks ago and she said, “that must be it then.” She was quite concerned about my friend’s bandaged finger and asked what she’d done. She looked quite shocked when my friend told her what happened. She was like, “you’re joking?!” (I won’t tell you what my friend did – not my place!)

She asked where we’d come from and I said Manchester. She said she was going to work up there soon. I asked if it was for Heading Out, the Sue Perkins comedy and she said, no she’d finished that and was doing something else. I asked if she could tell us any more and she said, “I don’t know if I’m allowed!” My friend asked if it was for the BBC and she looked thoughtful and said, “you know, I don’t know. I don’t know much about it really, do I, so I’d better stop talking!”

We mentioned that it was a year since Spooks ended and she said it didn’t really feel like it but she misses it. We said we’d met Peter Firth back in May (in an event held at Peterborough) and she commented that “he’s lovely isn’t he?” I said he was very cheeky and she agreed wholeheartedly. “He’s terrible. An old fashioned lothario.” She said that he would walk past women on the set of the Grid and you’d see him say something to them and they’d go all coy and start playing with their hair in a real girly way. My friend and I agreed as he’d turned us into blushing school girls in Peterborough. She also said, “I miss him terribly!”

She then told us that an American fan had made her a Ruth Evershed fridge magnet; like one of those dolls where you can change their clothes etc. She had jokingly asked that fan if she could make her a Harry Pearce one as well. Nicola hadn’t expected one, but the Harry one just arrived in the post that morning! She got it out and showed us – he came complete with changeable clothes, tiny USB pen and a little love letter between Harry and Ruth. As his clothes can be changed, Nicola said she was going to strip him down to his pants! There was also a t-shirt in the pack that said “I ❤ Ruth” which made us all, Nicola included, go “Awww”!

She signed our programmes and we talked about the play; how great it was and we asked if it was tiring as there’s quite a lot of movement involved. She said physically no it’s not, but emotionally yes, she always wants to “go and have a little cry”. She said they’d rehearsed the movement parts for 6 weeks with “2 very beautiful men” [Ed : that would be Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett of Frantic Assembly, the Movement Directors for the play] and as she’s not a fit person she felt quite shattered for the first 2 weeks.

Then she spotted the camera and was like, “Oh shall we have some pictures?” before apologising and saying that she wasn’t trying to rush us along but she had people in tonight who were waiting for her in her dressing room. We got a hug from her as we were leaving, which was great. This was the first time that I’ve met Nicola. All in all a lovely, lovely lady – so chatty and relaxed with us. I am sooooo happy that I got to meet and chat with her! I’m so chuffed that she’s getting a lot of work too. Who knows, maybe I’ll see her up in Manchester in a few weeks!

I suppose I should mention the play – brilliant performances from all, but especially Luke Treadaway and Nicola. We were up on level 2 but the view was still amazing – the Cottesloe Theatre is so small, that I doubt there’s anywhere that you wouldn’t have a good view. The staging for the play is amazing; quite minimalist in a way and I love the way they use the lights etc. I was amazed at the difference between the staging for Curious Incident and This House – it looked like a completely different theatre. For This House, the Cottesloe is transformed into the House of Commons, with the audience pit seats, the famous green benches, along opposite sides of the theatre. It makes you feel as if you were actually sitting in the House of Commons. Then overnight, the crew replaces that set with the square-ish set for the Curious Incident. Amazing!

For the rest of my stay in London, my friend and I did some sightseeing. We went to some Spooks locations – Harry and Ruth’s bench, “Thames House” , the beach from 10×05, and Millenium Bridge. Here are the photos we took.

In all, a wonderful half term break.

Postscript : 3 December 2012

After I got home, I printed a copy of that photo I took with Nicola and sent it off to her Agent with the request that she signs it for me. Three weeks later, I got the signed photo back.

Nicola’s such an amazing woman.


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