John’s life as a TV extra

John Walker. Buy photo: 071304L. PICTURE BY PHIL LOACH

John Walker. Buy photo: 071304L. PICTURE BY PHIL LOACH Buy this photo

First published in Local

A DUDLEY supermarket deli counter manager has published his first book about his exciting life as a prolific TV extra.

These days John R Walker can be spotted serving hundreds of shoppers in Tesco Extra at Burnt Tree, who are usually none the wiser they have probably seen him before in some of their favourite television shows.

From the likes of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Eastenders to Dr Who, Ashes to Ashes, Scott and Bailey and Midsomer Murders, John has featured in them all and can often be spotted on screen every single day of the year.

John, from Holly Road, said: “I’ve been an extra since 1998. I started doing it for a bit of fun, nothing more than that. But it soon got a little bit more addictive.”

John started his working life running deli counters on the shop floor in Safeway supermarkets in the South West during the day, but during the evenings, weekends and days off he was often helping investigate some of the most gruesome crimes and murders, or sitting in a pub supping pints alongside the likes of Ken Barlow as he indulged his extra pastime.

The 40-year-old took voluntary redundancy in 2008 and decided to become an extra full-time and it was one appearance on Doctors that same year, when he met fellow extra Neilum Raqia on set who was playing his wife.

Four years later and after wooing her with his one line, Dudley born-and-bred Neilum is set to become his wife in real life, as the couple are getting married in November.

For the last few years the couple have appeared in shows together and were regular scene of crime investigators on Midsomer Murders, appearing in every episode over the last four years, as well as regular CID in DCI Banks and Scott and Bailey.

But since September 2012, John decided to give extra work a break and returned to his roots, taking up the managerial position at the new Dudley superstore.

John added: “I’ve turned 40 now and I decided it was probably time I stepped back into real life. I’ve been working at Tesco since November. It took a bit of getting used to the dialect and lingo, but I’m used to it now. I didn’t tell them at work what I used to do, but someone spotted me in The Thick of It so it soon gave it away.

John spent about a year writing the book, which was published at the end of January, which he says is a “honest account of being an extra”.

He said: “I had to wait for every TV show I had appeared on to be shown on the TV as we have to sign a contract to say we can’t talk about them while we are on them.”

The book, called Extra Time, is available from Amazon, priced £9.99.

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