Rushden extra to feature in new film with Judi Dench

David Hawker.
David Hawker.

Eagle-eyed film fans might spot a man from Rushden if they take a trip to the cinema on Friday (September 15).

That’s because Victoria & Abdul, starring Dame Judi Dench, features a scene with local extra David Hawker in it.

Mr Hawker, 72, plays the non-speaking role of the Lord Chamberlain, who walks before Queen Victoria as they come into a banquet.

Mr Hawker says being alongside the star was ‘very exciting’.

He said: “I have been an extra since 1999 through an agency.

“We have a phrase called ‘sharing a frame’ which means your face is on the same frame with a star and mine is on the same as Judi Dench’s.

“It’s very exciting.

“I’m in one scene near the beginning where I walk before Queen Victoria as she comes to take her place at a banquet.

“I have to walk down steps and I think I got the part because of my experience with the Royal British Legion, I’m used to walking while looking straight ahead.”

The comedy-drama, directed by Stephen Frears, documents the relationship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul Karim.

Mr Hawker’s scene was filmed at The Painted Hall of Greenwich.

It’s not the first time the local artist has shared a screen with the stars.

Mr Hawker has also featured in two Harry Potter Films, Love Actually, The Da Vinci Code, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and Alexander – where he made film history by being one of the first men to fight with real elephants in a Hollywood blockbuster – among others.

His film past means he is often stopped in the street.

Mr Hawker added: “Because Rushden is quite a way from the studios very few people here do film extra work so I’ve got quite a reputation for it.

“If people notice me, like they did in Batman, they stop me and say ‘I recognise you from the film’.

“It’s all quite an experience.”

Victoria & Abdul hits the cinemas on Friday.