Teacher is ‘flattered’ to be Bridget’s latest love

Tom Knowles | The Sunday Times - October 15, 2013

Andrew Walliker doesn’t necessarily agree with Fielding that he is 'a bit like Daniel Craig'

The teacher who is the inspiration for the new love in Bridget Jones’s life says he is an unlikely sex symbol and thought that Helen Fielding was joking when she asked if the character could be based on him.

Andrew Walliker, who teaches games and history at University College School in Hampstead, North London, which Fielding’s son attends, was unmasked yesterday as the inspiration for Mr Wallaker, the romantic hero in the latest instalment of Bridget Jones’s diaries, Mad About The Boy.

Fielding, whose son Dashiell attends the school, where fees are £16,000 a year, said she had thought the character and his inspiration were “a bit like Daniel Craig”. Mr Walliker, 53, said: “more like Wendy Craig.”

Mr Walliker, who lives with his wife, Angela, and their three children, Teddy, 17, Amy, 15, and Harry, 12, in Bushey, Hertfordshire, said he found it quite flattering to be asked but does not see himself as the pin-up portrayed in the novel. “I don’t know what to make of it really. I’m a bit of an unlikely sex symbol. The mothers have all been coming up to me at the school gates taking the mickey out of me,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Walliker said that his children were more concerned with their work and Roald Dahl books than the diaries of Bridget Jones.

Fielding revealed the inspiration behind the new character at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival. “I just thought it was a great name,” she said. “It’s like ‘walloper’ but it’s not and I loved it.”

The author said she had tried alternative names for the character but eventually decided nothing else would work and so telephoned the headmaster of the school and then asked Mr Walliker for his permission, warning him that there would be sex scenes.

Fielding’s latest instalment in a series of books that have sold 15 million copies has provoked controversy as Mark Darcy (played by Colin Firth in the film) has been killed off, to the horror of many fans. “I have been surprised,” she told the festival audience.

“I had been watching the news and there was the Syrian crisis and then they [have a story] saying that Mr Darcy has died.”