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 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.
Rudolph’s first major television role was as a policeman in the British drama The Wednesday Play, in the episode entitled “Fable”. He is known for his comedic roles in Love Thy Neighbour, 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 appeared in the first episode of On the Buses, “The Early Shift”, and the first episode of Mr. Bean as “The Examiner”. 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.
Although most of his work has been on television, he has appeared in several movies, including 10 Rillington Place, King Ralph, 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.
Rudolph 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.
Rudolph was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for his services to drama.
On his 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.