The Walk-In true story: what inspired ITV’s HOPE Not Hate drama – who are Matthew Collins and Robbie Mullen?
The Walk-In dramatises the work of former Neo-Nazi turned HOPE Not Hate activist Matthew Collins, played in the ITV series by Stephen Graham
The Walk-In is based on a true story. The ITV series dramatises the work of former Neo-Nazi and HOPE Not Hate activist Matthew Collins, played here by Stephen Graham.
Collins, an investigative journalist and intelligence co-ordinator, managed a number of informants inside different Neo-Nazi groups. The Walk-In charts the story of his relationship with a particular informant, Robbie Mullen, who came to Collins with news of a planned attack on Labour MP Rosie Cooper.
Here’s everything you need to know about the true story that inspired The Walk-In.
Who is Matthew Collins?
Matthew Collins, in his youth, was a member of and organiser for far-right groups the National Front, the BNP, and Combat 18. In the late 1980s, he grew disillusioned with their political aims and started sending information to the antifascinst magazine Searchlight – trading details about upcoming marches and particular members in exchange for book tokens.
In 1993, his role as an informant was exposed, and his safety compromised. Collins moved to Australia for a decade rather than enter witness protection. In 2004, when he returned to the UK, Collins was the subject of a BBC documentary.
In the years since, he’s worked as an activist and journalist with the campaign group HOPE Not Hate, maintaining their intelligence network. Collins has written three books, one of which is a direct companion to the ITV series The Walk-In.
Who is Robbie Mullen?
Robbie Mullen is one of the informants supported by Matthew Collins. Mullen was a senior member of the group National Action, but reached out to Collins when he grew opposed to plans to kill MP Rosie Cooper.
Mullen, now 29, stayed in HOPE Not Hate safe houses until the police were willing to promise him immunity. He’s since gone on to co-write a book with Collins about the plot to kill Rosie Cooper.
Was there a planned attack on Rosie Cooper MP?
In 2017, some months after the murder of Jo Cox, a Neo-Nazi group based in the North West started making plans to kill the Labour MP Rosie Cooper.
The instigator of the plan – who intended to kill Cooper with a type of sword called a gladius – was Jack Renshaw. Renshaw has since been arrested, and in 2018 was convicted for preparing an act of terrorism and stirring up racial hatred.
Rosie Cooper is the MP for West Lancashire, a position she was first elected to in 2005. In September 2022, Cooper announced she had accepted a new role as Chair of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust; her resignation as MP will trigger a by-election in West Lancashire. There is not yet a set date for the by-election.
What is HOPE Not Hate?
HOPE Not Hate is an antifascist campaign group. It was founded by Nick Lowles (played in The Walk-In by Jason Flemyng), himself a former editor of the Searchlight magazine.
Matthew Collins continues to work with the group to this day.