Intervew with Spooks’ Nicola Walker (Ruth):
You are one of the longest-serving members of the cast. How has Ruth survived?
Yes, four years and she’s not been bumped off… yet! The truth is Ruth doesn’t leave the Grid very often. And she’s safe in the embrace of the Grid. It’s the nature of the show – the officers are in danger – so there will be a body count.
It’s useful for the producers: you are aware that if your character doesn’t work out you could end up in a life-threatening position! And they don’t mess about when they decide to get rid of you. It’s a consolation to know that, if you have to go, you’ll get a really fantastic death or departure scene!
Does Ruth get out from behind her desk in this series?
Yes, it’s very exciting, she has started to get out a bit now. In this series I get out of the Grid and threaten someone with a gun! To be honest, she’s not really equipped to go out.
But she takes a few liberties in this series because she’s taking a moral stand. And not everyone knows what she’s up to. She feels that the team are not taking her seriously so she goes against all the rules and she rather enjoys it. She gets into serious trouble but it was nice to get out from behind the computer!
Does Ruth’s relationship with Harry change or develop in this series?
I love their relationship. Ruth’s love and admiration for Harry is what has kept it interesting for me as an actor. There’s a certainty and a constancy about Ruth and Harry and their relationship which is rather sweet and comforting in an otherwise constantly changing environment.
But yes, their feelings for each other come into the open as the series goes on – that’s all I’m saying!
Have you acquired a lot of unusual and useful knowledge during your time on Spooks?
You’d think I would have, but actually it doesn’t stick! It all leaves my head as soon as the episode is shot. I think it would just be too much information to retain; Ruth seems to know loads about every subject from American ice hockey to Al-Qaeda!
To be honest, I can’t even type – every new director assumes I can and I have to admit I can’t. It’s so bad that we often have to bring in ‘hands’ to type for me!
How do the changes in Spooks personnel affect you?
Characters coming and going makes it quite an emotional ride. Sometimes you can’t see how the series can be the same without so-and-so.
Of course the answer is: it isn’t the same. That’s the beauty of the show – it keeps moving on. I think it’s like a shark, it has to keep moving. If it gets too dependent on one character it will die. It keeps moving forward on the strength of the storylines. It’s the great writers that keep the show moving, not the actors.
You must get asked this all the time, but are you at all like Ruth?
I like Ruth, but I don’t think I’m very much like her. Although I have become quite worryingly obsessive about Ruth’s desk and personal props. When we had to start hot-desking I couldn’t cope at all at first. I came over very ‘Ruth’ and I remember saying, "e;I can’t work there!"e; But I got over it!
Ruth lives for her job, and considers herself very lucky to work with such talented people. She thinks of them as her family. She lives on her own but gets what she needs emotionally from her job and her colleagues. She’s really fulfilled and feels she’s making a difference.