Inspiration behind Bridget Jones’s new love interest revealed as Hampstead school teacher.
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
The inspiration behind Bridget Jones’ new love interest in Helen Fielding’s latest bestselling novel has been revealed as an unlikely and unassuming games teacher at University College School (UCS), Hampstead.
Students, colleagues and even Andrew Walliker’s wife were surprised to discover that the teacher was the muse for character Mr Wallaker in the author’s latest novel Mad About The Boy.
He teaches the author’s nine-year-old son and she has revealed a mixture of actor Daniel Craig and Mr Walliker inspired the romantic hero who replaces Mr Darcy following his death in her latest novel.
But the 53-year-old father-of-three, who lives in Bushey, Hertfordshire, said he could not be further from a sex symbol. In fact Mr Walliker was convinced the author was joking when she first rang him up from Los Angeles to ask permission to use him in the book.
“I thought she was pulling me leg and my wife was surprised to say the least,” he said.
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“I think I’m about 25 years and four stone too late to be compared to James Bond – I’m more like Wendy Craig than Daniel Craig!
“But it is flattering to be considered the replacement for Mr Darcy.”
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While the UCS head of games and history teacher’s wife claimed he was “more like Mr Arsey than Mr Darcy”. Ms Fielding told an audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival that it was his name that made her choose him.
“I just thought it was a great name,” she said. “It’s like ‘walloper’, but it’s not and I loved it.”
The author rang the teacher to check he was happy to feature in the book after becoming worried that his students might make fun of him, especially as the plot includes a sex scene.
But Mr Walliker says the only ribbing he has received has been from the mothers of his pupils.
“They’ve been making a few good-natured jokes here and there at the school gates, but the students are all too polite to take the mick out of their teacher,” he said.
“A few have mentioned that they’ve seen me in the paper and said it was better than being on Crimewatch, but that’s about it.
“They seem more concerned with their work than Bridget Jones.
“I have been rather taken aback by all the media interest though - if I’d known I’d be getting this much attention I’d have hit the gym back in August!”
Although admitting he has not yet read any of the books in the Bridget Jones trilogy, Mr Walliker says Ms Fielding’s latest novel is now definitely on his to-read list after the author sent him a signed copy.