By Dilantha Dissanayake and Dan Coles
You may never have met the Walker family, but you’ll almost certainly have seen their faces.
John and Neilum Walker met on set of a TV soap as they both worked as TV extras – and after thousands of TV appearances between them, have now revealed their four-year-old daughter India is following them into the trade.
John, 47, from Dudley, West Mids, started working as an extra in the early 90s and has since appeared in well over 200 TV shows and movies, featuring in the background of family favourites from Casualty to Doctor Who.
The couple, who met in 2008 after playing a married couple on Doctors, have since starred together as police forensic officers in Midsummer Murders, cafe workers in Corrie – and even a couple taking a romantic stroll in Ugly Betty.
Now they’ve revealed that their daughter India, four, also has the acting gene – and has appeared in some short films as well as acted as a body double for Princess Charlotte in a spoof photoshoot.
John said: “We all do a bit of work, and my wife has actually played the babysitter of our own real-life daughter.
“We don’t play families, but sometimes India sees her mum or dad on television and that is always a nice surprise for her.
“My daughter has done a few jobs, photoshoots, as well as kids costume websites – she has stared in one of my films and was involved in a short film I was also a part of.
“I think her most standout role was playing Princes Charlotte in two photoshoots for Alison Steadman.
“Luckily, because my wife is a chaperone, which is someone who looks after children on set, India always has her mum with her.
“My wife did a few shows on CBeebies, and the mums and dads and India’s school have just found that out so the kids their get excited about seeing her.”
John has been working in the film industry for over 20 years, predominantly as an extra and started his family after meeting his wife whilst
working on the same show.
John said: “Whilst we were on set, Suranne Jones kept telling my girlfriend that if I didn’t set a wedding date soon, to get rid of me.”
Often, John and Neilum will get booked together because of the fact they’re married, which lets producers and directors know that they can work well together and already have good chemistry.
“We’ll get booked as detectives, doctors and other roles but a lot of the time, everyone else on set doesn’t even know we’re married.
“We spend a lot of time together when were on the same show, so we try to talk to other people separately rather than glue together for the day.
“Being male and female, a mixed-race couple, and with a daughter that can work in the industry, it makes us quite employable for a mixture of roles.
Generally, extra work can leave people moving all over the country for different jobs at a moment’s notice which can makes family life a difficult thing to balance.
John said: “We have a great balance because we all understand each other when we say we’re not going to be home until late, obviously not in India’s case who won’t be home late.
“I think the best thing I’ve done in the industry was working on Doctor Who, being a huge fan myself, it was a dream come true.
“I’m sure we’ll have many years to come working together on films and TV shows and having my daughter on set with us is a bonus.”