Criminal one day, copper the next – the ultimate Tesco extra with 2,000 TV appearances
Wednesday 13 February 2013
He is the prolific part-time extra who could be one of the most instantly recognisable yet forgettable people in Britain.
John Walker’s 2,000 television appearances means he is on television every single day of the week, but could just as easily be seen stacking shelves in Tesco, where he holds a day job.
He is one of thousands of the unsung, unrewarded extras – or “supporting artists” – who work for as little as £75 a day, often spend hours waiting for a few seconds of screen time, and occasionally incur the wrath of Hollywood’s finest.
“One week I’ll be playing a criminal in Shameless, the next week I’m a police officer,” said the 40-year-old Mr Walker yesterday. He said his uncanny ability to blend into the background made him an ideal choice for work on films.
A key ability for an extra was the ability to silently “mime rubbish” without laughing, added Mr Walker, who has amassed more than 70 hours on the small screen.
“To make a good extra you have to good at blending in the background,” said Mr Walker, from Dudley in the West Midlands, who met his fiancée Neilum Raqia on set when she was a fellow extra in Doctors.
Extras are a significant part of production budgets on television and film. But in recent years filming has increasingly been transferred to eastern Europe where costs are lower.
Now in Hollywood there are at least two companies whose products could mean an end to the high life for Mr Walker – they supply inflatable extras.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
The last decade has produced just four UK festival headline acts
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture