Award winning actress Rakie Ayola, who won a BAFTA for her performance as Gee Walker in BBC One’s Anthony, has met the inspiration mum face-to-face.
The pair met at LA Productions, the independent film and TV company behind the ground-breaking drama, which tells the story of the life Anthony Walker might have had if he had still been alive.
The Huyton teenager was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack in a Liverpool park in 2005. In the film, Rakie Ayola delivered an incredibly emotional and captivating performance as Anthony’s inspiring mother, Gee Walker.
In her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress at the ceremony in London, Rakie praised the bravery and strength of Gee Walker in allowing Jimmy McGovern and LA Productions to tell the story of who her son could have grown up to be.
During their face-to-face meeting Rakie reiterated these feelings to Gee telling her what a legendary moment it was for her to meet such an inspiring woman and what an honour it had been to be able to portray her on screen.
Gee responded by telling Rakie to wear her nomination with pride and reminding the entire team behind the production that they were all winners.
“It is such an accolade to bring this award home to Liverpool. It’s a huge honour to get recognition for LA Productions, the actors and the entire crew for their dedication to Anthony. I am sure Anthony is pleased with what is now part of his legacy and thankful that he’s impacting lives for the better. I appreciate all of the team more than they can imagine – they are all winners to me.”
Rakie Ayola, added:
“As uncool as it sounds I’ve wanted a BAFTA since I was 8 years old. To be nominated for the first time 45 years later playing Gee Walker, in her son’s story and then to go on to pick up the gong, is where privilege, honour and dreams combine.”
Anthony was written by BAFTA-winning screenwriter, Jimmy McGovern, directed by Terry McDonough and produced by Colin McKeown and Donna Molloy. In the drama, Anthony’s imagined life is told through reverse chronology as viewers witness him realise his dreams and enjoy the life he had a right to live before fate – and hate – took it all away.
Colin McKeown, Producer at LA Productions, said:
“It was an unforgettable moment having these incredible women meet in person. We knew from the start that being able to capture the dignity, grace and profound decency of a woman like Gee Walker would take a truly magnificent actress. Rakie is just that, and it became clear on set when we were filming scenes of both heartbreak and joy, that a truly sensational performance was being delivered.
“We were utterly thrilled to see Rakie deservedly be awarded the Best Supporting Actress prize at the BAFTAs and to be able to celebrate her achievement together as a team, with the amazing woman who allowed us to share her story with the world, was a truly remarkable moment.
“As well as Rakie, we are proud of every single crew member that helped us tell this important story which remains so close to our hearts. We are a Liverpool company and were determined to do justice to this dark moment in our city, but also reflect the brilliant, inspiring work that Gee Walker and the Anthony Walker Foundation do in terms of challenging racism, hate crime and discrimination.”