Walker at the funeral of Wendy Richard (2009).
28 September 1939
Trinidad, West Indies
Rudolph Walker, OBE (born 28 September 1939), is a Trinidadian actor, best known for his roles on British television. He was the first black actor to appear in a major British TV series, his breakthrough role as Bill in the 1970s sitcom Love Thy Neighbour (co-starring fellow Trinidadian Nina Baden-Semper) leading to a long and varied acting career. He is currently best known as Patrick Trueman in the BBC One TV soap opera EastEnders, in which he has acted since 2001.
Early life and emigration
Rudolph Malcolm Walker was born in San Juan, Trinidad, and began acting as an eight-year-old in primary school, going on to join Derek Walcott's Trinidad Theatre Workshop as its youngest member. With the aim of furthering his career he left the island at the age of 20 in 1960. He had been planning to go the United States, where he had connections, but actor Errol John — who had already migrated to Britain but was in Trinidad doing a play — convinced him to go to the UK, where the training was superior.
Walker's first major television role was as a policeman in the British drama The Wednesday Play, in the episode entitled "Fable" (aired 27 January 1965). He is known for his comedic roles in Love Thy Neighbour (Thames Television), The Thin Blue Line, which starred Rowan Atkinson, and in Ali G Indahouse. He also appeared in Doctor Who, in the 1969 serial The War Games. He was one of the first black actors to be seen regularly on British television, and so has always been proud of his role on the controversial Love Thy Neighbour, which ran for seven series, from 1972 to 1976.
He appeared in the first episode of On the Buses, "The Early Shift" (1969), and the first episode of Mr. Bean as "The Examiner" (1990). His other notable roles included as barrister Larry Scott in the 1985 BBC series Black Silk, by Mustapha Matura and Rudy Narayan. Since 2001, he has played Patrick Trueman in the BBC One television soap opera EastEnders and in 2010 he appeared in the Internet spin-off series EastEnders: E20. He also starred in a BBC One sitcom called The Crouches, about a family from Walworth, in South East London. He played the grandfather for all seasons (2003–05).
Although most of his work has been on television, he has appeared in several movies, including 10 Rillington Place, King Ralph (along with his Love Thy Neighbour co star, Jack Smethurst), and Let Him Have It. On the stage, he appeared in the first production of Mustapha Matura's Play Mas at the Royal Court Theatre in 1974, and has played the titular character in stage productions of Shakespeare's Othello, directed by David Thacker and Charles Marowitz, and also Caliban in a production of The Tempest directed by Jonathan Miller. He was also Gower in Thacker's 1989 production of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.w
He also played opposite Diane Parish in Lovejoy (starring Ian McShane) where they played Father and Daughter.
Walker also lent his voice to the American dubbed version of the popular British children's television series Teletubbies, in which he renarrated the opening and closing sequences.
Walker was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for his services to drama. A biography for children about him, written by Verna Wilkins, was published by Tamarind Books on 4 September 2008.
The Rudolph Walker Foundation
On Walker's 70th birthday, he launched a new foundation, The Rudolph Walker Foundation, whose aims include to helping to provide opportunities and incentives for disadvantaged youth starting out on an entertainment career. The Foundation administers Rudolph Walker's inter-School Drama Award (RWiSDA), competed for by schools across London. In addition, Rudolph Walker's Role Model Award (RWRMA) is presented to outstanding students who have contributed something special like demonstrating positive leadership, a good influence to their peers and others, and a role model within the school.
- The Witches (1966)
- On The Buses (1969)
- Doctor Who (1969)
- All the Right Noises (1971)
- Girl Stroke Boy (1971)
- Universal Soldier (1971)
- 10 Rillington Place (1971)
- Divorce His, Divorce Hers (1973)
- Love Thy Neighbour (1973)
- Man About the House (1974)
- Spaghetti House (1982)
- Black Silk (1985)
- Mr. Bean (1990)
- King Ralph (1991)
- Let Him Have It (1991)
- Bodger & Badger (1991)
- Bhaji on the Beach (1993)
- Never Judge a Book by its Cover (1993)
- The Thin Blue Line (1995–1996)
- The House of Angelo (1997)
- Teletubbies (1997)
- EastEnders (2001–present)
- Ali G Indahouse (2002)
- The Crouches (2003–05)
- Hit for Six (2007)
- EastEnders: E20 (2010)
- Celebrity Antiques Road Trip (2012) (Participant)
- Invasion 1897 (2014)
- "Rudolph Walker". BFI.
- BEMA Network.
- Verna Allette Wilkins, Rudolph Walker, Tamarind Books (Black Stars), 2008, p. 9.
- Rudolph Walker, "It's not black and white", The Guardian, 22 October 2001.
- Rudolph Walker interview with Johnson JohnRose, Caribbean Tourism Organization, 2013.
- Fable at the Internet Movie Database
- "Rudolph Walker Interview", YouTube.
- "Black Silk", IMDb.
- "Harris leads Queen's honours list", BBC News, 16 June 2006.
- "Birthday Honours 2006", The British Theatre Guide, 19 June 2006.
- "Rudolph Walker Biography". Penguin Random House.
- Larry Jaffee, "Exclusive Interview With Rudolph Walker (Patrick Trueman)", Walford Gazette.
- "Home". rwisda.com.
- "Lancelot Imasuen's 'Invasion 1897' leads Nollywood Invasion of cinemas". Lindaikeji Blogspot. Linda Ikeji. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "Lancelot Imasuen’s Invasion 1897 hits cinemas Dec 5". The Sun. 16 November 2014.
- Chidumga Izuzu (26 November 2014). "'Invasion 1897' Lancelot Imaseun's movie set for cinema release". Pulse Nigeria.